Monday, March 30

Books: Spectacular Sins

John Piper's Spectacular Sins is, please forgive me, spectacular. Not so much a book as a 128-page Christ-exalting sermon from the warm, tender, and tough heart of a loving pastor. It is by no means exhaustive or expansive. Instead Piper focuses on six of the most vile and well-known sins from the narrative of Scripture; the rebellion of Satan, the Fall of Adam and Eve, the building of Babel, the sale of Joseph by his brothers, Israel asking for a king, and Judas Iscariot trading the most precious Treasure for thirty pieces of nothing.

This entire book is excellently God-honoring, but the last chapter, "Judas Iscariot, the Suicide of Satan, and the Salvation of the World," is worth ten times the price of the entire book. One thing that really popped out at me in the final chapter was when Dr. Piper compares Judas to anyone who goes after God merely for his gifts. He writes,

Judas was a lover of money, and he covered it with a phony, external relationship with Jesus. And then he sold him for thirty pieces of silver. How many of his ilk are still around today! Don't be one. And don't be duped by one.

This is a much-needed exposition of what the health, wealth, and prosperity "gospel" really is; a convenient use of Jesus to get things, not God himself. Lest we be Pharisaical judges, we must remember that as sinners we are naturally idol worshipers, and without grace will want the gifts but not the Giver. We must oppose prosperity teaching intently and aggressively, but also lovingly and meekly, praying for those who preach and believe it.

This book is short. One could easily get through it in one or two sittings, but the chapters are small and divided into subsections to aid in a more spread-out, devotional reading. However you choose read it, you will be challenged and edified and comforted and enthralled with the majesty of God in his triumph and sovereignty over all sin, and with the radiance of this majesty in Jesus. Everyone not only should read this book; everyone needs this book (or at least its message)!

1 comment:

  1. Matt,

    Nice review. I am always torn about the man called Judas. So little is known about the man himself except what is in the Gospel. There is no doubt about this guilt and betrayal however he was still chosen to be a disciple by Jesus. There must of been some good in the man.