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Desiring God - Chapter Two (Part 1)
April 23, 2004
If the chief end of man is to be a Christian Hedonist, there must be a moment where he becomes such – a moment where a Christian Hedonist is created. Having explained that God’s quest to be glorified and our quest to receive satisfaction are one and the same, the author now turns to a discussion of conversion, which he says is the creation of a Christian Hedonist. God’s desire to be glorified reaches its culmination in the echo of His excellence in the praise of His people. His people are the ones who are called according to His purpose. “The aim of this chapter is to show the necessity of conversion and to argue that it is nothing less than the creation of a Christian Hedonist.”
The bulk of this chapter contains an exposition of Reformed theology concerning man’s condition and God’s sovereignty.
- God created us for His glory. We were created in His image so that we could glorify Him in perfection. We existed for the sole purpose of bringing Him glory.
- It is the duty of every person to live for the glory of God. Because God is our designer, He has the right to tell us what our duty is. He has told us that our duty is to glorify Him in all we do – to acknowledge his glory, to value it above all and to make it known to the entire world.
- We have failed to glorify God as we ought. Every human being has failed to live up to his duty. We have all “fallen short of the glory of God” by preferring other things over His glory. We have failed in the duty our Creator has assigned us. Through our sinful deeds we have shown contempt for God, preferring our own wisdom over His.
- We are all subject to eternal condemnation. Because we have violated the duty God has assigned us, we have been sentenced to be separated from His glory forever. Furthermore, we are sentenced to spend eternity in hell, a place of everlasting torment and punishment. This sentence is just, for we have knowingly violated God’s law and are thus deserving of the due punishment.
- In His mercy God sent Jesus into the world to save sinners by dying in their place and rising from the dead. In contrast to the terrifying news that we justly deserve God’s condemnation is this news, that God has provided a substitute. There are now two ways to satisfy God’s justice. The first is through eternal condemnation in hell and the second is through the substitutionary death of Christ. Through Christ’s sacrifice God’s justice is satisfied and His glory remains intact.
- Those are saved who repent and trust in Jesus. Christ’s death did not save everyone. One condition remains and that is to be converted.
Conversion involves repentance and faith. This two must co-exist, for repenting requires turning from the old ways and faith is required to follow Christ. Conversion involves new birth, or theologically, regeneration. Regeneration is a gift of God, bestowed on those He has called. With this act God changes our natures, allowing us to be able to respond positively to Him.
Faith is our act, but one that is only possible because of God’s prior act of regeneration. We are responsible before God to repent of our sin and follow and trust in Him. This act is called conversion. Behind the repentance and the faith that turns someone to Christ is a longing for the pleasure of God’s presence. This is the very creation of a Christian Hedonist.
Having summarized the content of the chapter, I will attempt to analyze it next time.