Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Are you a Christian Hedonist?

Recently I listened to a few messages from the Desiring God Pastors Conference where the topic was Christian Hedonism. John Piper, the host of the conference, has built his entire ministry around the reality that “God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in him.” This is the whole idea behind Christian Hedonism. At the conference Sam Storms preached a message titled “Biblical and Theological Foundations for Christian Hedonism: Seven Theses.” Toward the end of that message he made this statement:

“Only by seeking his [God’s] glory preeminently can God seek your good passionately.”

Do you see the issue? God is saying he must seek his own glory above all else. This means God’s ultimate satisfaction is not in humans but in himself. Can this be true? I thought God created me because he needed someone to praise him? Of course it is true and no he did not create me because he needed me to praise him. Can this be the God who says he loves us?

For most this is an issue because a man-centered mind set leads us to believe we were created because God needed us. We’ve been duped by preachers who serve our own appetites by feeding us lies about our own worth instead of God’s worth. But any casual reading of the Bible will clear up any confusion. God did not create us because he needed us. “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:24-25). God is the Giver of life and breath so why would he need anything from us? Our praise back to God is not because he needs to be praised (If we were silent the rocks would cry out) but rather this is the greatest gift God could give to us. God knows that ultimate and complete joy is found in him and in him alone. “In his presence is fullness of joy and at his right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16:11).

Since God is the greatest object of worth it would be unloving of him to have us praise some other object. Even worse would be if God gloried in some other object other than himself. If this were to happen God could no longer love us plus he would cease to be God. God is holy and perfect and if he praised anything or anyone other than himself he would be an idolater thus breaking his own perfect and righteous law. God did not create us because he needed us but he created us so that he might show his love through the sacrifice of his Son, Jesus Christ. He created us so that we might praise him and therefore find the greatest joy that will last for all of eternity. As Christians we need to cling to this reality so our view of God will be high and exalted where he belongs. Even as Christians we enjoy the fleeting pleasure of self-worth instead of exalting God’s value and worth where we will find our greatest joy. “Delight yourself in the LORD” (Ps. 37:4).

Grace upon grace,
JRL

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