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Book Review – Living in the Light: Money, Sex and Power


Book Review – Living in the Light: Money, Sex and Power

Living in the Light by John Piper is a new book published last week by John Piper in which he takes three good gifts that God has given us and demonstrates how we use them for for evil rather than Good. Specifically Piper looks at money, sex, and power and demonstrates that all three of these are good gifts from a good God, but because of our sinfulness we have taken them and exchanged their glory for the glory of God.The book is much more than an exposé on our disordered life, it provides the solution for reordering these lawful pleasures so that they are used to the glory of God- the author of all good pleasures. Those who are looking for a multi-step program to overcome their struggles in these three areas will be disappointed. On the other hand, those who have come to see that the gospel alone can change our hearts will see this book as a glorious treasure guiding us through scripture to rediscover the glory of a glorious God. Don’t mistake the gospel focus for a lighthearted attitude for sin however. Piper makes liberal use of the dire warnings in scripture directed toward those who live a life which elevates the glories of money, sex and power above the glory of God.

In typical Piper fashion, Living in the Light is full of clarifying illustrations which help the reader to understand the power of the gospel. In one such illustration, Piper likens our disordered pursuit of the glory of sex to a projection alarm clock. in which the time is clearly projected on the ceiling in the dark, but when the sun rises and the room is full of light the projection fades leaving just the ceiling to be visible.

So it is with illicit sex. Its vividness and power to lure us into sin increases where the glory of God shines least brightly.When God’s glory is revealed and treasured most, the power of sinful sexual attraction is broken.

Piper then calls the reader to a life of living in the light of God’s glory. That is to say, constantly keeping the glory of God at the forefront of our mind. This of course begs the question, what is the glory of God? Piper answers this by pointing us to 1 Peter 1.3, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” We keep the glory of God before us by immersing ourselves in the knowledge of God and believing in and embracing His promises. In other words, by hearing and believing the gospel. This is no passive act however, it takes effort and desire. However, Christ will grant both the desire and effort to those who are thirsty for it.

Living in the Light includes a chapter dedicated to each of these three disordered pleasures (money, sex, and power) and he shows how god is the author of each and that they were given to us for our pleasure and to point us to the greater pleasure found in God when used properly. These are followed by two more chapters, on deliverance and deployment. It is here where Piper really shines and directs the reader to participate in a life-long journey of discovering the glory of God and keeping His glory as the locus of all good pleasures.

I was really impressed with Living in the Light. This is a book that we all should read. There isn’t a single person among us who truly lives with the glory of God constantly before us. To one extent or another, we all put the glory of created things before the glory of the creator. This is a book that will aid us all in reordering our affections so that they are set upon the cross of Christ and the fullness of life he offers.

Click here to see John Piper’s promotional video of Living in the Light

CLICK HERE TO SEARCH AMAZON FOR THE CHEAPEST PRICE ON LIVING IN THE LIGHT or here to purchase from  Living in the Light: Money, Sex & Power–Making the Most of Three Dangerous Opportunities

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from The Good Book publishing company in exchange for an online review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

About the author

Living in the LightJohn Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of and chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.

16 thoughts on “Book Review – Living in the Light: Money, Sex and Power

  1. Thanks A.J. and thanks for the books you sent.
    Your review is insightful and I believe I will add this to the list.

    • I’m glad to hear they arrived. I hope you enjoy them! You’re right.. this book was very insightful!

  2. I love the idea of this book!!! I get so fed up with books that just call these things sinful with an after thought remark about it being a good thing if used right. This looks like maybe the main idea is these are good but we are bad. That’s the right approach!

    • Exactly Marie! These are first and foremost good gifts. We have just taken them and exalted them above their creator.

  3. Lenette

    Aaron this looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I don’t know him but the video looks like he’s pasionate! I want this book now lol!

  5. Serena you would probably like Piper. Not that I know you. But from your comments on this blog you seem like you may have a similar personality!

  6. Aaron Peine

    One of the better preachers of our day. I don’t agree with all his theology but he is always going back to Christ and God’s glory. That makes him tops in my mind.

  7. Melody

    I totally need this book. It sounds perfect for my situation right now!

  8. Anna H.

    I really like John Piper. I haven’t seen this one yet! I’ll have to check it out!

  9. Jon Wardall

    I’m hard pressed to see how these three can be used to glorify God. If you look at all the ills of society they are traced back to these three. This is nothing more than trying to Christianize paganism. We need to stop trying to redeem every satanic influence and just honor a God the way he demands to be honored.

  10. Kendall

    I don’t think you’re understanding it right to Mr. Wardall. I think the point that mr. Piper is making is that God created these things to be good and we missed use them. God didn’t create anything evil we have made them evil because of our sinfulness and evil desires. If we use them for their original purpose to glorify God how is that pagan? Hagen’s don’t own anything out right. They only possess what their lord possesses and gives them, but Satan owns nothing because “The Earth is the Lord’s and everything therein”. Nothing that God created belongs to Satan except for things which God has given him for a time. But all of these things are being restored to their proper place to glorify God.

    • Jon Wardall

      No Kendall. I understand things quite clearly. Remember it was woman who was deceived not man. Look that one up honey. You’ll see that you have no right to exert authority over me. Just to prove why and show how easily you are deceived go and read Genesis 1-3 too. You will see that neither money, sex, or power were a part of creation. All of these are a result of the fall as are all other fleshly desires which must be put to death.

  11. Kendall

    Mr. Wardall I certainly don’t intend to violate 1 Timothy 2. Of course the context of the verse you quoted is that women should not teach or exercise authority over a man. Also assuming you are older than 17 you are my elder and I want to respect anyone older than me. And obviously your education is more than this poor homeschooled senior! So I want to be very careful on all those accounts to not be disrespectful. So when I ask this is really mean it with all due respect. But moving past creation I think the Bible says a lot of good things about money and sex and power don’t you think?

  12. I agree with Kendall that scripture has a lot of positive things to say about money, sex, and power if they are used appropriately. Power (or authority) existed prior to the fall, sex may or may not have… we don’t know but the command to procreate was certainly given before the fall. Money didn’t exist because commerce didn’t. However scripture affirms the proper use of money in many places as it does sex and power.

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