John Piper: When You Follow Wisdom, You Find Life
Second Timothy 3:15: “The sacred writings . . . are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” Now, notice how wisdom works. It is a means to a goal. Wisdom is always a good means to a good goal. The Scriptures, it says, make you wise unto — you get this — wise unto salvation. It’s going somewhere. Wisdom is how you get there. It’s a means to an end.
I’m inferring from this text that Paul means the Scriptures impart to you the necessary knowledge of reality, the necessary discernment of situations, and the necessary resolve unto salvation. They impart to you what you will need to walk on the narrow road of faith and obedience that results in final salvation full of everlasting happiness.
“Biblical wisdom is not a dead-end street in the cul-de-sac of misery. It’s a path to everlasting happiness.”
Proverbs 3:13: “Happy is the one who finds wisdom.” Biblical wisdom is not a dead-end street in the cul-de-sac of misery. It’s a path, it’s a road to lasting happiness.
Proverbs 24:13: “My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.” Know that wisdom is such to your soul. Wisdom’s like that to your soul. If you find it, there will be a future, a honey-sweet future, and your hope will not be cut off — honey-sweet forever, if you find wisdom.
Proverbs 19:8: “He who gets wisdom, loves himself.” This doesn’t mean “finds himself lovely.” No, that’s not what it means. It means “embraces for himself a glorious future.” He who finds wisdom embraces for himself a glorious future.
Here’s the beautiful summary from Proverbs 8:32, 34–36. Wisdom is talking. I love the way she talks. “And now, O sons, listen to me: blessed are those who keep my ways. Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.” Could it be clearer that wisdom is the knowledge, the insight, the resolve that successfully leads to full and everlasting joy?
Or, Proverbs 16:16: “To get wisdom is better than gold.” Why? Gold can buy almost anything. It can’t buy life. It can’t buy joy forever. It can buy lots of earthly things. It can turn men into idiots. “Folly is a joy to him who has no sense” (Proverbs 15:21). But it cannot buy what we want, what we need most: full and everlasting happiness. Only wisdom, true wisdom can do that. Those who find wisdom find life. And all who hate her love death.
Outside my study at home hanging on the wall is this, and I pass it every day — I have for 17 years. It’s a calligraphy from Timothy Botts, and a friend sent it to me. That’s a pure silver piece at the top, and a pure gold piece underneath. I have no idea what they’re worth. They’re not coming out of that frame unless somebody breaks into my house. And it says, “Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies.” If you’re heading to work, you’re heading to speak — who knows where you’re heading today: “Nothing you desire can compare with her.”
Why? Because she leads to the fulfillment of all your desires.
John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including A Peculiar Glory. this article first appeared on desiringgod.org.
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