Future Grace - Battling Unbelief - Lesson 5

How Does It Work for Holiness? (Part 1)

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.

John Piper
Future Grace - Battling Unbelief
Lesson 5
Watching Now
How Does It Work for Holiness? (Part 1)

3. How Does It Work for Holiness?(part 1)

The origins of radical love

  • 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


How Does It Work for Holiness? (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. Got two units left. Actually, they're probably going to break out in more than two because the last one is very large and full of practicality. In fact, the way to think about these sessions today are that those were foundations and these are applications. So this is going to be, I think, a lot closer to where you live than they were last time. And I hope that helps you. So my question now is what are the dynamics of how love or holiness is produced by living by faith in future grace Because we've argued it's essential to our final salvation, not because it purchases it or is the instrument of it like faith is, but that it warrants it or credits it or validates it, or is the evidence of it. And so love is absolutely essential. And these are familiar texts from last time in Christ Jesus. Neither circumcision nor on circumcision means anything but faith working through love. So I just pointed out that faith now, and I think I carelessly said, is the agent of love. And somebody pointed out, But agents are people. Well, instrument means you pick your word. Faith is working through love here. It's it's producing love. Same thing in first Timothy one five. The goal of our instruction is love. That's an amazing statement of the Apostle, isn't it? The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith. So this love is coming from faith just like this. Love is coming from faith. Now, this broad. Now we saw those texts.


But let's look at another one, which may not look immediately relevant to this issue of how does faith in future grace help you love people, especially your enemies. But let's try it. Matthew 543 You have heard that it was said you should love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies. So there we have this radical, wonderful, beautiful command. And specifically, one way to love your enemies is pray for those who persecute you. Now, where do you get the power to do that? Absolutely. Counter human activity. Humans don't love their enemies. They hate their enemies. Enemies make us mad. Really mad. I got mad this week at an email I got and not even from an enemy. It's kind of in your face, friend. And I thought, Well, just like that. For we are wired to be negative towards anybody who's negative towards us. And Jesus comes along and says, Love your enemy. Pray for them. He just takes our hearts and just says, That won't do. I'm not in the business of confirming your humanity, not that sinful humanity. Okay, so here's staying with Matthew. Let's go back to the beginning of the chapter and see a dynamic for how it might work. Blessed are those. This is Matthew 510 who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness. Now we got a link. Remember, we got a link here because there's pray for those who persecute you. And so he's thinking, love your enemies, especially those who are persecuting you. So we got the same situation in front of us. Blessed are those who are have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. That's a big promise. Blessed are you.


When people insult uses breaking it down into particulars, now it insult you and persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. What should your response be? Rejoice. Be glad. That is absolutely ridiculous. Absolutely crazy. Absolutely. Counter to all human fallen nature. You are being lied about. You are being persecuted. Therefore what? Be happy. That's really crazy. We don't feel the force of how unbelievably counter us Jesus is. How can one be so contrary to what one is by nature? Here's the ground for your reward in heaven is great illustration. The prophets. Now, here's the question in relation to love, which is harder to pray for your enemies or to be authentically happy in the moment of persecution. My answer is it's easier to pray for them because that's an act of my will and I can do it whether I feel like it or not. God, they're making me really mad. Then I'm not happy. But you told me to pray for them. So I pray that you change those rascals. That that's relatively easy to do. What's hard to do is that that's impossible without the Holy Spirit opening our eyes to that and really believing it, really believing it, really believing when you get up and your body is wracked with pain that you can rejoice or people are all around your house in a mob and you don't know whether you're going to die or live. Like an email I got from a y way of group a couple of years ago saying, We're not sure what's going to happen. We still have access to the computer. The house is surrounded by a mob. We believe the Lord wants us to stay because we've got a foothold for the gospel here.


Pray for us. Wow, that's authentic stuff. Can you rejoice? Not not if you're just you. Not without the Holy Spirit putting this ground clause profoundly in your soul and your mind. So here's the point I'm making in pulling together that you. 543 and 44 Matthew 510 to 12 if the key to doing the harder thing is faith in future grace, this is future grace. And the key to rejoicing in it is believing it with all your heart. If the key to doing the harder thing is faith in future grace, then the key to doing the easier thing is faith in future grace. That's my argument, and I think that would hold in the Sermon on the Mount. The key to rejoicing in the face of adversity is your reward is great in heaven. Therefore, the key to loving your enemy is great. Is your reward in heaven. And almost everything I have to say in this unit is just an underlining and a confirmation of that. And you can see then why the battle to fight for faith in future grace is the battle to love. It's the difference between a legal in a legalistic way, I think to pursue the Christian life and a faith based way is that you you see the command love and a legal is tends to attack the command directly. Okay, there it is. I'm supposed to do that. I will not do that. I will try to do that. And a faith based person doesn't attack it directly. The faith based person looks and says, No way, I can't do that. I really get mad at my enemies and they they feel broken. They feel helpless. They feel desperate. They look away to promises. Lord, you have told me that my reward is great in heaven and therefore I can now have joy.


And so I pray. Now, this is the new battle. This is the indirect battle. I pray that you would open my eyes. I pray that you change my heart. I pray that you'd incline me to these glorious promises. And I pray that joy would arise in my heart so that out of the overflow, like in Second Corinthians eight with the Macedonians, I would break forth in liberality even towards people who don't like me. That's a different kind of battle than taking it head on and going straight at it. Let's see how it works in chapter seven. This is Jesus in seven, Matthew seven. I know if you've ever seen this logical flow, there's a very familiar text on prayer, but look at what it leads to ask and it will be given you seek and you will find NOK and it will be open to you. For everyone who asks receives he who seeks finds to him who knocks it will be open or what man have you when his son asks for a loaf will give him a stone or if he asks for a fish, you give him a snake. We'll give him a snake. Willie, if you then being evil, Jesus was not into complimenting his disciples. If you then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children. And here comes one of those. How much logic we saw in Romans 510. How much more will you be saved? How much more will your father, who is in heaven? Give what is good to those who ask him to give good things, to those who ask him, it is going to happen. When you are a little child and you come to your father and you ask him, what you need is not going to give you a stone.


You stop your little situation. I really think that that is a great help in unanswered prayer. You might think, Well, no, that creates the problem for an entrepreneur. It doesn't solve the problem for the answer. It really does help solve the problem. Because notice what it says, What man of you who when your son Astro Loaf, will give him a stone. It doesn't say you give him a loaf, just as he won't give him a stone, or if he asks for a fish will give him a snake. He doesn't say he'll give him a fish, just says he won't give him a snake. And when it promises what he will give, it just says good things. I think I can make this statement without fear of contradiction. When you pray, trusting God's promises in the Bible, like I'll work all things together for your good or my God will supply all your needs according to His riches and glory, or I will pursue you with goodness and mercy every minute of your life. You go and you pray for what you believe. You need a job, a better marriage, help on an exam. You will always get what you ask for or something better. And the something better may hurt. Here's the illustration. If you've been in this seminar, I don't know if I don't know if I used it or not. My son Benjamin was three, maybe. I can't remember how old he was, but I can picture the scene. Here's the kitchen table. Here's the cabinet. Here's little, little Benjamin. I have a cracker, Daddy. He's asking God for a cracker. I'm God to Benjamin. He's three. And. And I say, look. See if it's snack time. Close to the open, the cabinet, pull out the crackers, open it, and they're moldy.


They're moldy. And I pull one out. Let's say you can't have this cracker. And he starts crying, and I say, It would be really bad for you. It's got fuzz on it. And he said, Oh, it defies. I, I just remember so clearly, Howie, the fuzz. Now, what is a what is a prayer? Answering dad do finds an alternative, even if it isn't as good in his mind as that. I'm not going to give him a stone, a moldy cracker. So be careful that you don't elevate the promises of answered prayer to the point where you make yourself the infinitely wise governor of the universe. You don't know what you need, frankly. You don't know what you need. God knows what you need. You you have desires and longings and little children ought to say that to their father. I think it's right to pray about virtually everything in your life and ask for what you believe you need and then trust him. But that's not the point I'm trying to make here. I'm just setting up the point. The point I'm trying to make is this word. Therefore, if you ever noticed that maybe it's so in your Bible, but it's there in the Greek and in the English, in everything. Therefore, treat people the way you want them to treat you, for this is the law in the prophets. That's the golden rule is another way of saying love your neighbor. Where does obedience to the Golden Rule come from? What's this pointing to? What is there for? Point to it points to a God who will? How much more will your father, who is in heaven, give good things to those who ask him? Therefore, you can love your enemy at any cost.


You can give. You can make your desires for happiness, the measure of other people's desire for happiness, and do unto them as you would have them do unto you. Even if it looks like today's going to be a really hard day if I do that, In fact, if I do this act of love, the next five years is going to be a very hard five years. And the point of this therefore, is just got to out of that every day he will give you what you need every day. Good things are coming to you from your father, therefore in confidence in that future. Grace love your neighbor. Do the thing that looks like it's going to make life hard, though it is loving because God's going to show up tomorrow, the next day, the next day, the next day, and fulfill this promise that therefore right there is massively important for living the Christian life. How do you do love in your life? Do you go to promises like this and assure yourself, All right, everybody around me is telling me that if I go to Baton Rouge and take a week off, I won't have as much vacation next summer and I'm going to come back exhausted. And and and and so there's ten reasons not to do this act of love that I feel so compelled to do. What do you do at that moment? Just kind of roll the dice? No, you go to promises. You say, Lord, is it true that if your child comes and asks for a loaf and asks for a fish in Baton Rouge and in the subsequent weeks following that you won't give me a stone and you won't give me a steak. You snake, you give me everything I need to do my work because I've loved people.


See some more versus pointing in this direction. Luke 14. Amazing. Just the kind of love I want this church to have in your church. He went on to say to the one who had invited him to the banquet. When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors. Otherwise they'll invite you in return and that will be your repayment. But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, lame, the blind. And you will be blessed. Since they don't have any means to repay you, for you'll be repaid at the resurrection. Set your heart on what is coming to you at the resurrection. First Peter 113. Hope fully at the grace that is coming to you at the Revelation of Jesus Christ and therefore be liberated from the need of payback. Now some people really stumble in understanding my quest for joy, my quest for satisfaction, thinking like last night that it means health, wealth and prosperity. Now, this is the opposite of that. The opposite of that. Don't look for payback now. Find those who cannot pay you back and pour your life into them by confidence that it's going to come back to you. Jesus is going to show up someday. He's going to look upon you and display more of himself to you because of those acts of love. Then, if you had been a self-protecting person trying to maximize your treasures here, don't lay off treasures here. Lay up treasures there. He is the central treasure. So let that hope of payback. I know that's a risky and that's a risky language. I think it's just taken from the context here. Doesn't imply salary. Doesn't imply earning. In fact, I don't think I wrote it down and I don't have it on an overhead.


But a text from Luke itself that would show you it doesn't imply earning is. Luke 1710. Remember the story about the laborers who come in the slaves? And he said, When you have done all that is commanded of, you say we are unworthy servants, period. No desert here. This is not deserve. This is God's free reward. Because we banked. We banked on the hope that he would be better than payback. Now is another one. Luke 1232. Do not be afraid, little flock for your father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom as love. This verse is just so full of. Little. Your little your sheep. You have a father as well as a shepherd. You've got a king. Shepherd. Father King. And guess what? This omnipotent ruler with a father, heart and a shepherd. Care has made a choice. And he's done it gladly with all his heart to give you his kingdom. Now, there is no logical connector in the original language here. What is it in his mind? Sell your possessions and give alms. Give to charity. And I. You see my little three dots there? Maybe. Therefore, what's the what in Jesus mind? What's the connection between verse 32 and 33? Don't be afraid, little flock. Yes, your little. Yes. You like sheep? Yes. Fears threaten you. Don't be afraid. Your shepherd, your father, your king has made the joyful decision to bring you to his kingdom and make you the beneficiary of everything in it forever. Therefore, how do you get health, wealth and prosperity after this? Therefore, therefore maximize your earthly comforts. We've got a lot to answer for in America. To whom much is given, much will be required. We all live beyond what we need to live.


We all pad our lives. Too much. Me too. Sell your possessions and give to charity. Jesus doesn't seem to mind at all messing this up because he knows good and well that a thousand questions would follow that come in. Well, we may sell everything, can have a house, can have a car, can't have a shirt. Jesus. I think we just listen to those questions they figured out yet. You get the idea. You get the idea. He's not into prescribing lists. He's not into saying which neighborhood, which size, house, own rent, which car used new. He's not into given the details. He's just into making us feel bad so that we. We go to our true treasure to feel good. And then it works its way out. 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 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.