The sovereignty of God, the sexual nature of humanity, and the gospel of God’s mercy for the undeserving-these massive realities never change. And since God is still sovereign, and we are male or female, and Jesus is alive and powerful, A Sweet and Bitter Providence bears a message for readers from all walks of life. But be warned, Piper tells his audience: This ancient love affair between Boaz and Ruth could be dangerous, inspiring all of us to great risks in the cause of love.
What would you tell a young man who said he wanted to have sex with his girlfriend? What would you tell the young woman? Pastor John Piper gives four answers (and a fifth, for the girl) in the Ask Pastor John podcast from Desiring God.
As usual, Piper does an outstanding job, this time explaining that marriage is much more than what we think is about. From the Desiring God Web site:
Romance, sex, and childbearing are temporary gifts of God. So is marriage. It will not be part of the next life. And it is not guaranteed even for this life. It is one possible path along the narrow way to Paradise. It passes through breathtaking heights and through swamps with choking vapors. With marriage comes bitter providences, and it makes many things sweeter.
There never has been a generation whose view of marriage is high enough. The chasm between the biblical vision of marriage and the common human vision is now, and has always been, gargantuan. Some cultures in history respect the importance and the permanence of marriage more than others. Some, like our own, have such low, casual, take-it-or-leave-it attitudes toward marriage as to make the biblical vision seem ludicrous to most people.
Reflecting on his forty years of matrimony, Piper explains:
Most foundationally, marriage is the doing of God. And ultimately, marriage is the display of God. It displays the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his people to the world in a way that no other event or institution does. Marriage, therefore, is not mainly about being in love. It’s mainly about telling the truth with our lives. And staying married is not about staying in love. It is about keeping covenant and putting the glory of Christ’s covenant-keeping love on display.
“If you are married, this is why,” says Piper. “If you hope to be, this should be your dream.”