Tolle Lege: Let the Nations be Glad!

Let the Nations be GladReadability: 3

Length: 238 pgs

Author: John Piper

One way a books value can be determined is if it impacts you as deeply or more deeply upon reading it a second time. This is my second time to read through Let the Nations be Glad!, my first to read the second edition. I love the book more not less, not even just the same. I leave the book wishing for its message to burn inside my chest. This book is verging on being beyond the difficulty level I normally advise, but the message is so God-glorifying I persist and plead with you to read this book. It is a book about what God is about. It has become the book on missions in many seminaries and schools for missions, not without reason.  It opens with one of the best sentences and paragraphs of any Piper book.

Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.

Worship, therefore, is the fuel and goal of missions. It’s the goal of missions because in missions we simply aim to bring the nations into the white-hot enjoyment of God’s glory. The goal of missions is the gladness of the peoples in the greatness of God. “The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many  coastlands be glad!” (Ps. 97:1). “Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy!” (Ps. 67:3–4).

But worship is also the fuel of missions. Passion for God in worship precedes the offer of God in preaching. You can’t commend what you don’t cherish. Missionaries will never call out, “Let the nations be glad!” who cannot say from the heart, “I rejoice in the LORD…. I will be glad and exult in you, I will sing praise to your name, O Most High” (Ps. 104:34; 9:2). Missions begins and ends in worship.

[M]issions is demanded not by God’s failure to show glory but by man’s failure to savor the glory. Creation is telling the glory of God, but the peoples are not treasuring it.

Missions exist because worship doesn’t. The ultimate issue addressed by missions is that God’s glory is dishonored among the peoples of the world.  When Paul brought this indictment of his own people to a climax in Romans 2:24, he said, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” That is the ultimate problem in the world. That is the ultimate outrage.

The glory of God is not honored.

The holiness of God is not reverenced.

The greatness of God is not admired.

The power of God is not praised

The truth of God is not sought.

The wisdom of God is not esteemed.

The beauty of God is not treasured.

The goodness of God is not savored.

The faithfulness of God is not trusted.

The commandments of God are not obeyed.

The justice of God is not respected.

The wrath of God is not feared.

The grace of God is not cherished.

The presence of God is not prized.

I hope your appetite has been awakened such that heart and mind salivation for truth has commenced. But hold off ordering the book just yet. Baker will put out a third edition next year along with a DVD and study guide. Or read the 2nd edition now, and plan on reading the 3rd edition next year.  I did, and I will, and I anticipate loving it even more.

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