Future Grace - Battling Unbelief - Lesson 3

Is It Biblical? (Part 1)

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.

John Piper
Future Grace - Battling Unbelief
Lesson 3
Watching Now
Is It Biblical? (Part 1)

Is It Biblical? (Part 1)

2. Is It Biblical?

Faith is the Great Worker

Faith Is Future-Oriented, It Trusts in Future Grace

Class Resources
  • 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


Is It Biblical? (Part 1)

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. I'll try to leave some time for questions somewhere. I'm not sure where I'll do it. So by writing down your questions and when I give you a chance, let's talk about them. So we're shifting gears now into the second unit. Is it biblical? Is living by faith in future grace? Biblical in their whole lot of pieces to this. And we'll just take them one at a time. Faith is the great worker. That's what I have assumed, and that's what these texts teach. First Thessalonians one three. Constantly. Bear in mind your work of faith, labor of love, steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the presence of God, our father. That phrase, work of faith. Same down here in Second Thessalonians 111. Fulfill every desire for goodness and work of faith. I take that to mean work that flows from faith. When you have faith, a work, those works flow from it. Acts 1618. Jesus said to Paul, I send you to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in me. So faith is the agent of sanctification or Galatians five six. In Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor on circumcision means anything but faith working through love. So faith works through love. First Timothy one five. Same principle. The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and from sincere faith. So love is flowing from faith.


Hebrews 11 by faith. Abraham, when he was called, obeyed. All of Chapter 11, is meant to show that Hebrews is the is the amazing book of living by faith in future. Grace So Abraham By faith, obeyed by faith obeyed. And you'll see soon that that faith was faith in future. Grace. The grace we have faith in is not only God's disposition to save the unworthy, but the power of God exerted to bless us in the future with all that we need. I didn't I didn't think of grace in those terms when I was growing up. I thought of Grace as the disposition of God to send His son to die for me. But I never thought of it as a present. Power arriving moment by moment from God. But texts like these are so amazingly, massively relevant for living by faith in future power. That is grace by the grace of God. Paul says, I am what I am. And his grace toward me was not in vain. But I labored even more than all of them. Yet not I, but the grace of God that is with me. So there you have first Peter 411 all over again. Paul faces a challenge in his life, and he knows that if God is going to get glory, he has to do it in the strength that God supplies. But He knows He has to do it. God has given us a will. God's given us arms, legs, brains, lips. And we have to act. You got to get out of bed in the morning. Got to drive your car. You got to tap the keys at your computer. Your call to act. And so he says, I acted. I acted. In fact, I labored more than all of those other apostles.


And then when he was done, at the end of the day, he said, Not I, but the grace of God. It was with me. So what is grace? It's the ever arriving, moment by moment enablement to act in reliance upon God. It's the strength to act, for Christ's sake, moment by moment. And the key to the Christian life is learning moment by moment to live their rest. They're to be able to say that every hour of your life. The last hour I spent at work, I worked. But it was not I. But the grace of God that was with me. We need to discover the secret of living like that, which is what I'm trying to do. First Corinthians one three. I put these here. One three first 2623 as exemplary of what is true of every one of Paul's 13 letters. It's amazing. The summer that I was working on Future Grace down in Barnesville, Georgia. I can remember sitting a little trailer out by my parents in Law Lake little teeny shed type trailer that you buy to store stuff in. So I, I put a desk in there and I put a chair in there and I brought my computer. I think it was 19. I forget when this book was published early nineties, and I remember discovering for the first time in my life that at the beginning of every single one of Paul's letters, it says grace to you. And at the end of every single one of Paul's letters, it says, Grace be with you. I had never read that in any commentary anywhere, nor had I ever heard anybody ask why is that? It too, at the beginning and with at the end, every letter without exception, as the letter begins.


Grace to you. And as the letter ends. Grace with you. What's going on? What is this, Grace? Why? To why we're. And here's. Here's my effort at an end. An answer which shows what kind of grace we're talking about in living by faith in future grace. Paul knows that is he writes these letters. They get read in churches. In fact, he requires that they're read in churches. And so somewhere in the service, maybe near the beginning, I don't know where Paul, as it were, begins to speak as they read his letter and he stands there in the letter and says, Grace, be to you as this letter is being read, I offer grace to you. Grace is flowing to you now through this letter. This is Grace coming to you. And as the letter draws to a close, he pictures himself there, taking his farewell. Having spoken to them now for what would it take to read first Corinthians? 45 minutes, maybe. He's done and he knows they're about to close the parchment. And he says, And Grace, be with you. I'm taking leave of you. But Grace is not taking leave of you. When you leave this little cave or building or wherever you are. Grace is going to go with you. I found that so amazingly encouraging that Paul addresses me as I enter a book, a letter that he's written. I welcome you in to the experience of grace. Grace is going to flow to you here. And as you take leave of me, you will not take leave of grace. The grace will just keep going with you all day, every day. Which is so different than just thinking about grace as the dispositional origin of the incarnation or what the cross came from.


It is an abiding, ever arriving power of God to meet my spiritual needs. Here's another illustration of that kind of grace. I love these texts. Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you, you Corinthians, the grace of God that was given to the churches of Macedonia. Those are the ones up as Philippi that in a great ordeal of affliction, their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in a wealth of liberality. For I testify that according to their ability and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord. Where did this start? We wish to make known to you the grace of God. So what is the grace of God? You wish to make known to me? Paul, We wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia. What did it look like, Paul? When When Grace was made known, given in Macedonia. What did it look like? Well, it didn't take away affliction, but it produced an abundance of joy. It didn't take away poverty, but it overflowed in a wealth of love liberality. So you want to see a snapshot of what grace does when grace lands on a people. Affliction remains, poverty remains and joy abounds and releases radical, selfless love to others. I testify that according to their ability and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord. What Grace did was produce love or to put in the piece that's missing. Faith in grace severed that the lying roots you need to keep your money. If you give this lavishly, you won't have. And it just slashed that root into because they saw God's grace as so completely sufficient. See it again in chapter nine, verse eight.


God is able to make all grace a bound to you that always having all sufficiency in everything you may have in abundance for every good deed. That's got to be one of the most amazing promises in the Bible. God is able to lavish grace upon you minute by minute by minute so that you have all sufficiency for everything he wants you to do in everything that you may have an abundance for every good deed. It just he couldn't pile up more superlatives. Goody. What would happen to your life if you believed that that would be called believing faith in future believing future grace. Living by faith in future Grace is believing it's going to be true at 10:00 tonight and 3:00 tomorrow during the m, r i and ten years from now when the Alzheimer's has taken its full course. That's true. And in it, I rest. What would your life look like? What an amazing thing. That's what I want more than anything. I want my life to be a resting in that grace. Because if it's true, it just amazing what it will do to liberate you from anxiety and all the sins that anxiety produces. And anxiety kills a lot of marriages and kids and industries. Here it is again. He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you. My power is perfected and weakness. Remember, this is because Paul is saying, Would you please take away this thorn in my flesh? It hurts the ass three times and he gets a no every time. And Christ says to him, My grace is sufficient for you. My grace is sufficient for you. Power. Power is perfected in weakness. And then Paul responds, The way I want to respond. Gladly. I will boast about my weaknesses that the power of Christ may dwell in me.


Grace magnifies Christ when we trust in it. Therefore, the grace was given to us in eternity past second Timothy, and was the disposition of God that moved him to send his son to die for us. Romans 324 is also power exerted by God in every arriving moment from the future to meet all our needs, to meet all our needs, seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you. And I take that to mean not that you won't starve to death because Romans eight says, What can separate us from the love of God, tribulation, persecution, peril, famine, nakedness, sword. And they all can on this earth happen to Christians, but they won't separate us from Christ. I take all these things will be added to you to mean you will have absolutely everything you need to do what God wants you to do. You won't have everything you think you need to be as happy as you think you should be, but you will have absolutely everything you need to do God's bidding. God's will. That is a stunning promise. On this, we depend on trust. Faith is not just faith in God's passed work in history, but faith in future. Grace So all of that to illustrate the meaning of the word grace when I talk about living by faith in future. GRACE Now, talk for a minute. Let's talk for a minute about the future orientation of faith, a trusted future. GRACE And here this was one of those powerful discoveries of mine, because I think I grew up mainly thinking of trusting God as looking back to the cross and trusting him for the forgiveness of my sins and for salvation. And it is that and it's so much more.


So here's the future dimension of faith in the Bible, Hebrews 11, all of Hebrews virtually now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. So that's one definition of faith in regard to the future. Faith is resting and assured in things that our future hoped for. That's a long text from Romans four. It's so long, I think I'm going to pass over it because it's obvious that Abraham's faith there is future oriented, but it would take too long to look at it. So let's jump to Colossians one, 22 to 23. He has now reconciled you in his fleshly body through death in order to present you before him wholly and blameless, beyond reproach, if indeed you continue in the faith, firmly established and steadfast, not moved away from the hope of the Gospel. Continue in your faith, not moved away, not moved away from the hope of the Gospel that you have heard which was proclaimed. Continuing in faith means keep laying. Hold on the things that are offered in the hope of the gospel future Things. John 14 one. Let not your heart be troubled. Believe in God. Believe also in me. There's something about not being troubled that indicates you're not trusting me. And we're always troubled about the future. It's what's about to come that troubles us. Even if it was brought about by the past. It's the future that gives us anxiety. There's one other text on this future orientation. We do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively beyond our strength so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God.


Who raises the dead? See that? Who raises the dead? This trial, this life threatening trial? We were pressed beyond strength so that we despaired even of life that came into Paul's life. That despairing test came into his life so that he had a purpose so that he would stop depending on himself and start only depending on God, who in the future raises the dead. In other words, if you want to bring somebody to the to the closest point to see if they really trust in God in the future, you bring him to the point of death. Rand Paul had been very evidently battling with some self-reliance and got struck him down and said if it takes a a downfall like this to bring it to rest in the future grace of God beyond the grave, then I'll do it because I love you. I don't know if you pray like that. I did it again this morning. I hope you do. I hope you, in reading your Bible day by day, you get pictures of how you ought to be, and you get pictures of what the sweetness of fellowship with Jesus would look like. And you look at yourself and you realize you're falling short. And how do you pray, then? I think we ought to pray. I pray, Lord. Whatever it takes to be free from pride. Whatever it takes to be free from lust. Whatever it takes to be free from greed, from anxiety, from self-reliance. Whatever it takes to become a loving, humble, kind husband and good father. Whatever it takes. Do it to me. Cancer. Financial difficulty. Church strife. I won't prescribe. I will just take the pill. Do you want holiness? Do you want to be a loving, humble, free, radical enough to pray? Lord, if it takes that kind of experience.


In order to bring me to this kind of self abandonment. Use your own wise, good physician wisdom. Therefore, faith is future oriented and embraces a future governed by God's grace and therefore superior to the future promised by sin. 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 WW w 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 dot org 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.