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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

"Living in the Light of Money, Sex & Power" (John Piper)

TITLE: Living in the Light: Money, Sex and Power
AUTHOR: John Piper
PUBLISHER: Purcellville, VA: The Good Book Company, 2016, (144 pages).

God has created this world for good, but sin had tarnished it in so many ways. Thus, good people no longer simply do good works. They are tempted to sin and can be deceived into turning good things into bad. How then do we live in our modern world of infatuation with things regarding money, sex, and power? Two words essentially surround this book's message about money, sex, and power: Corruption and Redemption. At the end of it all, Piper asserts that not only can God redeem these three areas of life, God is glorified when these are wisely stewarded and used for the benefit of all.

Money is simply a form of valuation, a cultural symbol of value that becomes a moral issue on how it is used. If the use of money is the surface, then the motivation behind its use or abuse is the underlying forces that we need to deal with. Sex is much broader than mere erotic stimulation. It is a good gift to be cherished and protected. Power is the capacity to get what we want. The common thread through these three is this: It is a God-given means of showing what we value. The root problem is the condition of the human heart that seeks to place idols above God. Using Romans 1 as the key Bible passage, readers learn of how light becomes darkness, idols become enthroned, and how power elevates self above all others.

On sex, Piper warns us about the pleasure-destroying dangers due to our hearts being disordered vertically with God. As described in Romans 1, the sexually immoral, the idolaters, adulterers, men who practiced homosexuality, and the sexually perverted ones will be judged. On money, we are prone to being deceived about the pursuit of money. It brings in covetousness, greed, and all manner of evil associated with a lack of knowledge about our true needs. On power, we are reminded how power distracts us from being servants; how it distracts us from things above; and how it makes is more self-centred than needed. On all of these, Piper shows us from the Bible the prescriptions against the ills of deceptive money; discontentment around sexual matters; and the fallacies of the pursuit of power.

Through deliverance, we return to the rightful spiritual orbit around God, instead of being subjected to the powers and principalities of misguided sex, money, and power. We can then be deployed for redeeming these things for the glory of God. Piper concludes with two lenses. The first "wide angle lens" is where we see the world from God's perspective, of how the Bible reveals to us the true condition of the world. The second "narrow lens" is an exhortation for us to pursue the narrow way to God.

In dealing with these three ever popular topics, Piper quickly and clearly warns us about the dangers; keeps us mindful of the way God has redeemed then; and to encourage us to live rightly, think holy, and to use these things for God's glory, above all. This short little book helpfully condenses the essential biblical teaching about money, sex, and power, so that we are not only made aware of the dangers, but also informed about the potential of using them for the glory of God.

Rating: 4 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of The Good Book Company and Cross-Focused Reviews in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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