You know why Piper has to get so shrill about loving God? Because He paints a God for us who is conditional and weird and hard to love. The joyous news is this: God isn’t like that! He died for us while we were yet sinners! (Romans 5:8)
And so He has lavished grace and eternal mercy on all of us who believe. Our mutual sins are lavishly forgiven as a whole. This works because it really is our trespasses which are the problem. My sins were not born in isolation.
You will never understand the way Christ loved the church if you do not first hear about and believe His love for you. You have to know the love of Christ if you are to give it.
But this is the message of the cross: God took the worst evil and made it into the greatest good. He took the cross of Christ and made it into the salvation of mankind.
So the message is a proclamation of our rescue – “the gospel of your salvation.” It means that you simply wait until it comes to you. The message is not “rescue yourself.” It is “here is your rescue!” And that means, you can’t dress up belief as something more than hearing and saying “that’s right!”
It says that we can rest and we can trust that, without qualifiers, God works everything out according to the counsel of His will. We do not have to worry that somehow we will miss God’s will. We are not the protectors or the progenitors of His will.
There is a vast difference between walking around thinking that you have made a decision for Jesus, and thinking that God chose you in Christ before the foundation of the cosmos.
We tend to downplay the value of forgiveness. We want our redemption to be about our “sanctification.” But Paul says here that our redemption is all about forgiveness. It was bought with blood and it is lavish.