Future Grace - Battling Unbelief - Lesson 10

How Does It Work Against Sin? (Part 4)

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."

John Piper
Future Grace - Battling Unbelief
Lesson 10
Watching Now
How Does It Work Against Sin? (Part 4)

How Does It Work Against Sin? (Part 4)

Battling the unbelief of bitterness and an unforgiving spirit

Battling the unbelief of impatience

  • 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 Against Sin? (Part 4)

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. So let's turn to this. Sid battling the unbelief of bitterness and an unforgiving spirit. Is the definition of this sin holding a grudge or savoring the thought of getting even. With no true desire for the salvation and reconciliation of the offending person. That's deadly. The Bible says. There is a consideration of bygone grace here as there is with all of these features for 32, be kind to one another. Tenderhearted, forgiving, forgiving, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ has also forgiven you. It does help to look back and see the price he paid. But as you look at a at another person who's offended you, you don't just say Christ forgave me. I must now forgive him. That's true. That's true. It's just inadequate. You need to also say I'm inadequate to forgive him. I have a vengeful spirit. I need help. I need Grace now. And when we talk so that I will be able to carry this through. When I look back at Jesus, he brought for me Grace for this afternoon. In this hardest of all conversation. I don't want to make this phone call. I don't want to meet this person in my office. And have to forgive them or maybe ask for forgiveness. It's just too hard. So faith in future grace gives you the confidence God's going to be there. He's going to help you. And that comes from looking back at the way he died for you. I've already looked at that with you in the context of persecution. Matthew five Let's look at one surprising kind of promise.


These are the promise of God's Vengeance releases you from the role of Judge and Punisher of offenses against you. Two texts. First, Peter, four. You have been called for this purpose since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in his steps. Who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in his mouth while being reviled. He did not revile in return. While suffering, he uttered no threats. But what did he do? How did he keep. How did he get strength to do that as an ideal human? He kept entrusting to him, Who judges righteously. What does that mean? He's hanging on the cross and people are saying, Yeah, right. Merci. If you're the Messiah, the Son of God, just show us. Calm down, huh? Now, a lot was going on inside Jesus heart as he heard that. Like, Father, Forgive them. They don't know what they do. That's one thing. Another thing that was going on inside Jesus heart is father. They deserve everlasting judgment for that indignity shown to you and me at this moment. But I will not speak that I entrust you with that. And that's the way you handle it. That's the point here. Somebody gets in your face and you feel like that's wrong. That's unjust. That should be settled here and now I should return to them what they deserve. How many marriages are split over that? You sit them down, you say. Well, why do you talk like that? Well, look, keep doing. So I see what she's doing. And she doesn't deserve your love. That's the meaning of love. You think she deserves to be abused, handed over to God? If she deserves to be abused, he'll abuser. You don't need to do that.


That's the way. Jesus, I mean, that's the way Paul deals with it in Romans. Never take your own revenge. Beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written. Vengeance is mine. I will repay. Now here's. Here's the future. Grace. It's not grace to them, but it is to you. Faith in this promise liberates you to be a loving person. Isn't that strange? A lot of people stumble over that. They say, Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. You're saying that I should trust God's promised to damn them? In order to be free to love them. That's exactly what I'm telling you. In other words, you don't know if they should be damned. You don't know if they will be damned. You don't know if Hitler is going to repent on his last day. You don't know what's going to come. That's not your business. In these personal relationships, we're not talking about court systems and legal structures here where there has to be prisons and sentences and all that. The Bible's fully aware that we're talking about personal relations now. You don't need to be the judge. You can say, God, this is so wrong the way they're treating me. But I will and trust to you who judge justly. And I will trust that if a wrong is being done here. You will repay it. And justice will hold sway in the world. And I don't need to. It's a very liberating thing to believe the moral structure of the universe holds together. When you return, good for evil. Because one of the great impulses in returning evil for evil is the thought to surround God didn't invent a world in which righteous people could be taken advantage of. That's just so wrong.


Something should happen. And. And what's going on? There is something partially good. Yeah. It shouldn't be happening this way. Yes. Justice is not being done. Yes, justice should be done. But then you pause and you say, okay, I hand it over to him. Who judges justly. And then one of two things happens. There will in the end be no un punished UN recompensed since none. Why? They will all be duly punished either in the cross. Or in hell. We may leave that finally to God. I saw this for the first time in the summer of 1971, reading The Nature of True Virtue by Jonathan Edwards. I was swinging on a garage, what do you call it? An open porch kind of swing to people, swing reading. The nature of true virtue. When this hit home to me like I'd never seen it before, there will not be one sin on recompensed so that as sins are committed against me and I am tempted to take vengeance and hold grudges and be unforgiving. One of the ways by which God liberates me from that and frees me to return good for evil is by assuring me either this person will one day be converted, in which case that sin against me goes right on to Jesus. And it would be a belittling of the worth of Christ if I recompensed it now, or that person will not be converted and they will be punished for that seen in hell. And anything I would do now would be superfluous and double jeopardy. So let it go. Christ will bear it or they will bear it. And you don't have to add to either. What a freedom. The moral structure of the universe holds together. And you don't have to make it hold together.


God will see to it that it holds together. And of course, while we live, we pray. Father, Forgive them, save them. Magnify the worth of your blood, Lord Jesus, by covering this sin against me. Someday, If not now, I pray. Battling the sin of impatience. We're coming down the wire here. In fact, this is my last one. Impatience. How does living by faith in future grace deliver you from impatience? What is impatience murmuring against? Providence. What God brings your way when we are forced to walk the path of obedience in an unplanned place or an unplanned pace. Do all things without grumbling or disputing. Be patient. I refer myself to future grace and an amazing story of patients. In his book, Passion, Karl Olson tells a story of incredible patience among the early French Protestants called Huguenots. In the late 17th century. In southern France, a girl named Marie Durant was brought before the authorities charged with Huguenot heresy. That means she was a Christian, a Protestant. She was 14 years old. 14. Bright. Attractive. Marriageable. She was asked to abjure, I mean, renounce, abjure the Huguenot faith. She was not asked to commit an immoral act to become a criminal or even to change the day to day quality of her behavior. She was just asked to say in French Jabbour. I abjure. No more, no less. She did not comply. Together with three other Huguenot women. She was put into a tower by the sea. For 38 years, she continued. And instead of the hated word jouer, she, together with her fellow martyrs, scratched on the wall of the prison tower. The single word racist. Stay. We resist. 38 years. Because she wouldn't say I have to my face. That's a long time for a 14 year old girl.


I don't know what happened after that, that the story didn't didn't say. That's a long time. And the key is it not is to believe that God works everything together for our good. Or the story of Joseph. Have you ever plotted the graph of Joseph's life? We're talking the Old Testament. Joseph's here, not the stepfather of Jesus. The Old Testament. Story of Joseph. He has these dreams where the brothers seem to be bowing down to him and he tells them the dream. Not a smart thing to do. They hate him. And while they're out in the field, his father sends Joseph, one of his younger sons, a favorite, along with Benjamin, and he sends them out and they say, here's our chance. And. And so they throw him in a pit to die. That's the first. If I'm graphing it, that's the first down in his life. And then he finds himself being hauled up. Is good. They change their mind. I hope instead of having their minds change, they sold him to the midnights into slavery on their way down into Egypt. And so you draw the line down another step. Well, he stays true to God and he gets assigned to Potter for. And part of her trust him. And so he has a lot of power and he feels like my line is going up a little bit. And then one day, he in his commitment, his patient commitment to purity, part of his wife tries to seduce him and he says, resist stay and and he gets thrown into prison. So you draw the line down again. And then two years later. No, it doesn't say how long later. Sometime later, as he's become a responsible prison keeper and the man trusts him who's in charge of the prison, he finds that there's a butler and a baker who have some access to the Caesar.


We call him Pharaoh and he tells them their dreams. And one of them gets killed, and the other one goes back to his job and says, Remember me? Remember me when you get there? And he forgets him. Two years. You draw a line. Oh, hopes rose. And then. And now he's at the bottom. I think that's about a 32 year trek. He's 30 years old when the turnaround happens. I think he was 17, it says, when he was sold. So for 13 years, everything has been. I think it's going to go better. It goes worse. I think it's going to go better. It goes worse. I think it's going to go better. And now he's at the bottom. So you've been in that and I. I would just ask you, where are you on that graph? How far along in the downward spiral are you becoming impatient? Lord, I'm following you. I'm doing my best. The job's not going right. I thought it was going to go well. Marriage isn't going so well. My health is going bad. Bang, bang, bang, Lord. And you're patiently holding on to Jesus. And then he does get remembered and he becomes the vice president, as it were, of Egypt. And it turns out there's a famine and he saves all 70 Jews so that the Messiah can one day go. And he says to his brothers, God sent me. Can your theology handle that? It was all sin that got him there. They sold him into slavery. Put him in a pit. God sent me before you. To preserve for you a remnant in the earth. In other words, he's interpreting 13 years of apparent abandonment. As good that he didn't understand for 13 years. I just don't get it.


So if I were arriving in about, what, 6 hours in Baton Rouge, 20 people from Bethlehem and I were going to be trained by Tom Ekblad for crisis counseling. And I was going to sit with people in church gymnasiums who had lost everything. I'd want to know this story because I would say to them, they'd say, So what's this? What's this about? What's the point in this? I would say I don't know all the point in this, but let me tell you a story about a man who lost everything. And it took him 13 years to find out what God was up to. And when he looked back, he was so thankful. And I think you could probably say that being thrown into a pit, being sold into slavery and serving in a decent country is pretty much as bad as what most of the refugees have experienced. And therefore some sense of identity with this might be graded. And then you take them to this decisive verse. As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result. To preserve many people alive. In other words, it has worked for our good, even though at the human level it was evil. It was meant by evil. At the divine level, it was meant by good. I think the key to patients, whether it's in a grocery line, a traffic jam or a waited for spouse or a long search for a job, the key to patience is believing that even though you may feel you're on one of these drops, God is at work for your good. Maybe I can close our term together by simply illustrating with with this story. Many of you have heard of Benjamin Warfield, a very famous theologian in the Princeton school, the old Princeton school from the previous two centuries, now 1800s.


He married Annie Kincaid and they took a honeymoon to Switzerland. And she was struck by lightning on their honeymoon and crippled all her life. She lay in bed or in a chair the rest of her life? And he stayed married to her all their long life. When I heard that story, I knew his theology more or less. I wanted to see what he said about Romans 828. Yeah, a lot of people mock the use of Romans 828 and I suppose you can use it in a very careless, callous and insensitive way. I know that can be done. I don't mock 828 in any circumstance. It is precious beyond words to me, as I think it was to Warfield. And so I went to his little, little book called Faith in Life, which is a collection of meditations to look for. Romans 828 And this was just one sentence from that meditation. God will so govern all things that we shall reap only good from what befalls us. So a man who has remained faithful to a crippled wife, he had dreams of another life. In fact, the story is told that Warfield never accepted any position in the Presbyterian Church as an officer because it would require him to leave the town of Princeton, New Jersey, and his wife. He never left her during the day. While he taught, he would go home in the middle of the day to spend time with her. This is a beautiful and a glorious thing. And all the virtues tend to come together that we've been talking about on this one, namely patience. I mean, an unplanned place and a moving at an unplanned pace. I didn't want to be here, and I am here by God's providence.


How do I fight the sin of impatience? Answer. Faith in future grace and all the others, since it is the way and I go back to where we began. It is the way to pursue and fulfill the passion for God's supremacy in all things. It is the way to fulfill the passion for our joy, and it is the way to fulfill the passion for freedom from sin, radical holiness and sacrificial love. Let's pray. Father, this has been a lot of talk. And a lot of listening in all how I pray now that by your word, your spirit will flow, and that as these friends rehearse in their minds and in their Bibles, the truths that they have seen, you would incline their hearts to your testimonies and to your treasured reality, and that you would break the power of sin in our lives. And you'd make the Church of Jesus Christ in our day a revived, awakened, radical war time lifestyle risk taking, sacrificial, loving, mission oriented justice pursuing soul saving church. O God do a great awakening in our day by the Word of God for the exaltation of Christ. We pray that He would be made much of. To that end, great as to live by faith. In the future grace of all that you promised to be for us now and forever in Jesus Christ, I pray. 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 dot OIG. 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.