Future Grace - Battling Unbelief - Lesson 2

Foundational Passions (Part 2)

We are justified by faith alone, but that faith never remains alone. Therefore, justifying faith is always and inevitably accompanied by good works.

John Piper
Future Grace - Battling Unbelief
Lesson 2
Watching Now
Foundational Passions (Part 2)

Foundational Passions (Part 2)

1. Why Does It Matter? (cont.)

Passion #3: A Passion for Practical Holiness

  • God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying him forever. One aim of this course is to show that living by faith in future grace is the way of life that unites these passions.

  • We are justified by faith alone, but that faith never remains alone. Therefore, justifying faith is always and inevitably accompanied by good works.

  • Grace is the ever-arriving, moment by moment enablement to act in reliance on God. God doesn't promise us comfort or everything we want, but everything we need to do what God wants us to do.

  • [Since] God did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all, [surely] he will freely give us all things. (Romans 8:32) The motivating power of a life of obedience is faith in future grace.

  • In the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5), if the key to doing the harder thing is faith in future grace (believing it with all your heart), then the key to doing the easy thing is also faith in future grace. A legalist tends to attack a command directly with the intention of doing it. A faith-based person prays that God will change them so they will become a person who loves as an overflow of who they are.

  • Bible texts that are illustrations of how hope, faith, confidence, satisfaction in future grace liberates love. The main battle to be fought in the quest for love is the battle to trust God for future grace.

  • Sins that get in the way of holiness.

  • Learn to pray about the spiritual condition of our heart not just about our possessions or circumstances.

  • If you yield to a life driven by lustful passion, you act like you don't know God. Knowing God deeply so that God is your treasure, is a good strategy for overcoming lust. The evidence of being born of God is that you make war on sin.

  • The definition that Dr. Piper uses for bitterness is, "Holding a grudge or savoring the thought of getting even with no true desire for the salvation and reconciliation of the offending person." He defines impatience as, "Murmuring against Providence when we are forced to walk the path of obedience in an unplanned place or an unplanned pace."

God is infinitely committed and passionate to preserving and displaying his glory in all that he does from creation to redemption. In this commitment we see his zeal and love and satisfaction in his glory.

The main question that Dr. Piper attempts to answer in this class is, "Why does practical holiness (love), inevitably accompany justifying faith?"

We are thankful for John Piper's willingness to share these lectures with us. Copyright 2014 by Desiring God Ministries. Used with Permission. For more information, please visit www.DesiringGod.org.


Future Grace - Battling Unbelief

Dr. John Piper


Foundational Passions (Part 2)

Lesson Transcript


The following message was recorded at an event hosted by Desiring God. More information about desiring God events, conferences and resources is available at W WW dot desiring God dot org. We're trying to find a lifestyle that when we live it satisfies a passion for the supremacy of God, a passion for joy, and now a passion for practical holiness. Why do we have a passion for holiness? First answer here is the only pathway that leads to the twin goals of honoring and enjoying God forever. No holiness, no heaven. I'll come back to that. What do I mean by practical holiness? The common word in the Bible. It's not common in modern American language. So what is holiness? I would say three things. It's obedience to God's word in everyday life. It's talk about it in terms of obedience. It's the fruit of the Holy Spirit. You can talk about it that way and being very specific in words that people do understand it is genuine love for other people. Now, where do I get the notion that love is a good summary of holiness? And I get it from this text for Sicilians. 312 Following May the Lord cause you to increase in abound in love for one another and for all people, just as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. Now notice the logic. May the Lord this is God's doing cause you to increase and abound in love. So that's His prayer. Lord, make this people a loving people so that why he may establish their hearts in holiness. So I don't know how else to make sense out of that, except to say love is constitutive of holiness.


One way to describe behavioral holiness on planet Earth is love each other. That's a holy person. Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Starts to sound a little bit like holiness, doesn't it? Does know wrong to a neighbor. So you can make your you could talk about your life goal is I want to be a holy person. And that would be a good biblical way to talk. You could say almost the same thing. I want to be a radically, biblically, thoroughly loving person. And that would be to say almost the same thing. There are different nuances for the words, but when I talk about practical holiness, think love. If you don't have anything else clear to think in your head. Now, here are the key texts to show that practical holiness is necessary for final salvation. Here we start to move into the the difficulties, the theological difficulties of the underpinnings of living by faith in future grace. Because a lot of people who believe in justification by faith alone, apart from works of the law, begin to get this wrong. And some who begin to like this part, yeah, tell them holiness and that they won't go to heaven without it often get justification by faith wrong. So we want to try to steer a biblical course through those truths. Hebrews 1214 Pursue peace with all men and the holiness or the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. I think that means nobody goes to heaven if they're not holy. John 528. Do not marvel at this for an hour is coming. In which all who are in the tomb shall hear his voice and shall come forth. Those who did good deeds will come forth to a resurrection of life, and those who committed evil deeds will come forth to a resurrection of judgment.


That's not a command. That's a statement of promise. That's holiness. Good deeds. Going can rise to life, do evil deeds. You're going to rise to judgment. Here's another one. Galatians six eight. The one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption. Was that. Listen, and you'll see. But the one who shows to the spirit shall from the Spirit reap the opposite of corruption, namely eternal life. So corruption here is hell. That's damnation. The one who sows to his own flesh shall, from the flesh, reap the opposite of eternal life, corruption. And the one who sows to the spirit shall, from the spirit reap eternal life. And now we get something clarified. Let us not lose heart in doing good. That's the meaning of sowing to the spirit. Let us not lose heart in doing good for. In due time, we shall reap what eternal life if big conditionality. We do not grow weary. That's really offensive teaching to a lot of people who love the doctrine, as I do, of justification by faith alone, apart from works of the law. But there it is, crystal clear in Galatians six, eight and nine. If you don't grow weary and persevere in a life of holiness, you will reap eternal life. And if you give up and turn into an evil way, you will reap corruption. James 217. Even so, faith, if it has no works, no works, is dead being by itself. So the faith that doesn't work is useless. First John two four for the one who says I have come to know him and does not keep his commandments is a liar. So when you talk all you want about knowing God and experiences you're having with Him. And if the commandments are broken, then you belie your profession.


Second Thessalonians 213. We should always give thanks to God for you, brethren, beloved by the Lord, because God chose you, has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification. So there's a road that leads to final salvation, and the name in the road is holiness. And there is no other road that leads there. The way is easy and the gate is broad. That leads to destruction. And many there be that go in the way is hard and the gate is narrow. That leads to life and few there be that find it. Matthew 615. If you do not forgive men, then your father will not forgive your transgressions. I just take that as it stands. If you are an unforgiving person, if you hold on to grudges, you have not known Calvary love. Oh, my. How many there are? I don't know if we need to keep going up. Just read. Maybe one more. If this is Romans 813, if you are living according to the flesh, you must die. If you are living according to the flesh, you must die. But if by the spirit, this is you. By the way, as Christians share this address to the church in Romans eight, he didn't pause and say, Now I have a word for the unbelievers at Rome. This is the same you that he says. Everything else says everything else too. If you are living according to the flesh, you must die. But if by the spirit that hearkens back to first Peter 411, if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. Okay, so all those texts point to the truth, that holiness, which is our third passion, and we want to know a lifestyle that satisfies a passion for God's supremacy, a passion for joy, a passion for holiness.


All these texts point to the necessity of holiness, is that this passion is not because it's peripheral. This is a passion, because it's essential. Here's the problem raised by the necessity of holiness. If we're justified once for all by grace, through faith, apart from works of the law, at the point of true conversion, then how can our final salvation be conditional upon a transformed life of holiness? That's one of the most important questions in life and theology, because you find both truths in the Bible. We are justified by grace through faith. Apart from works at a point in time, not a process. And final salvation is conditional upon a transformed life of holiness. And my guess is most of you do not need persuading. That justification by grace through faith is a prominent, important biblical doctrine. But here are a couple of texts. Romans 328 four We maintain that a man is justified by faith, apart from works of the law. Romans five one Therefore, having been having been past justified by faith, we now have we live in peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Same thing in Galatians 216. Here is the solution given by the Westminster Confession of Faith, which I find to be unimpeachable. I don't think there's any fault that can be brought against this solution. At least I haven't seen it yet. So let me give you the words of of Westminster from 300 years ago and then put it in my words. This is paragraph 11, those whom God effectually call itthe He also freely justify justifies not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous not for anything wrought in them or done by them, but for Christ's sake, alone.


Faith thus receiving and resting on Christ and His righteousness is the alone or the sole instrument of justification. Yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces and is not dead faith, but work it by love? That's beautiful and biblical, I think. So here's my way of saying it. We are justified by faith alone. But that faith never remains alone. Therefore, justifying faith is always and inevitably accompanied by good works, not perfection, but a new direction. So the crucial question now is why does practical holiness love inevitably accompany justifying faith? That's the question that for years and years I wrestled with, and that's what I wrote this book to answer that question. I already knew that Westminster was right. But Westminster doesn't explain why. Why does justifying faith always produce love? What's the dynamic of faith that produces love? Living by faith in future grace is my effort for my life first and then for yours. If it helps to learn how to live out my justification in such a way that the faith that justifies inevitably sanctifies without becoming legalistic or undermining justification by faith alone. So here's my preliminary answer. Faith itself is the agent of the works. They do not merely accompany faith. They do not merely a company like, Oh, look, love turned up at the same time. Faith did. Isn't that coincidental? It's not coincidental. They come through. Or by faith. Faith is the agent that produces the works. And it does so necessarily. Thus, the works are evidence of true faith and are not the means of our salvation the way faith is. They are the evidence that faith is real and thus are necessary for final salvation. You got to have evidence at the last day God is going to do publicly vindicated judgment of people.


Though not the ground of it. They are the evidence that faith is real and thus necessary for final salvation. Though not the ground of it, as the death and righteousness of Christ are, or the means of it. As faith is, you've got Christ's blood and righteousness as the foundation of your acceptance with God. You have your appropriation of it by faith alone so that it becomes justifying in your case. And then you have fruit or evidence from that faith which gives warrant to God's not guilty at the last day. He will be able to open his filing cabinet on your life and find just enough B minuses and C pluses of your behavior to give evidence to the universe. You had a new nature. That's all he needs. Doesn't need perfection. He just needs enough evidence from your life so that there can be a public vindication of his declaration. Not guilty when of course you're guilty, but not close with the righteousness of Christ, with all of his blood covering your sin. So the function here's my I'm going to skip over Thomas Watson and just go to this analogy. Here's how I found this analogy helpful. I don't know if it will help you. You remember the story of the two prostitutes that came to Solomon. Recall the story of the two harlots brought who brought a baby to King Solomon, each claiming that the baby was hers. They asked the King to act as judge between them in his extraordinary wisdom. Solomon said that a sword should be brought and that the baby should be divided, with half given to the one woman and half to the other. The true mother cried out, Oh my Lord, give her the child and by no means kill it.


And Solomon said, Give the first woman the living child and by no means kill it. She is his mother. Now, how's that an analogy of the last judgment. Here's what I see. What was Solomon looking for? He was not looking for a deed that would earn the child or would create a relationship that didn't already exist. He was looking for a deed that would demonstrate what was already true, namely that the child was truly this woman's child by birth. That's the way God looks at our deeds on the Judgment day. He's not looking for deeds that purchase our pardon. In his judgment Hall, he's not looking for deeds that prove he is looking for deeds that prove we are already enjoying the fruits of our pardon. He's looking for the practical evidences of our living by faith in future grace. The purchase of our salvation was the blood of Jesus sufficient once for all to cover all our sins. We do not add to the worth of his atoning death or of his righteousness imputed to us by God, which we call justification. But the means by which we receive this gift is faith being satisfied with all that God is for us in Jesus. And that kind of faith frees us from lifelong slavery to fear of death and works through love. Therefore, faith is not only the means of justification, it is the agent of sanctification. How, then, does Faith do this great work of sanctification? Here's my preliminary answer. We're going to flesh it out a lot tomorrow in practical instances. Faith severs the root of sin. How sin has power by deceptively promising a better tomorrow, or at least a better this evening, and a superior satisfaction. But faith in future grace is of such a nature that it breaks the power of that deception.


It severs the root of sin by. Bracing a better future and providing a deeper satisfaction what God offers in his future. Grace, namely all that he has for us in Jesus is the deeper satisfaction and the better future. When you live by faith in future grace, the power of seeing is broken by the power and promise of a superior satisfaction. That's a summary answer to how it works, and the rest of this course is to flesh it out. Let me close this first unit with this summary. Three passions Supremacy of God. Joy. Holiness. That's my passion. What life will do it? What kind of life will magnify the supremacy of God most? What kind of life will forever satisfy the deepest longings of our souls? What kind of life will produce a practical holiness that is necessary for final salvation? But do it in such a way that our justification is still by grace. Alone. Through faith, alone, based on Christ's death and imputed righteousness alone. And the answer, I'm arguing, is living by faith in future grace. Thank you for listening to this message from Desiring God, the Ministry of John Piper, Pastor for preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Feel free to make copies of this message for others, but please do not charge for those copies or alter the content in any way without permission. We invite you to visit desiring God online at w WW dot desiring God dot org where you'll find hundreds of sermons, articles, radio broadcasts and more all available at no charge. Our online bookstore carries all of Pastor John's books, audio and video resources, and you can also stay up to date on what's new at Desiring God. Again, our website is w WW dot desiring God dawg.


Or call us toll free at 1888346 4700. Our mailing address is. Desiring God. 2601 East Franklin Avenue. Minneapolis, Minnesota. 55406. Desiring God exists to help you make God your treasure because God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.