Sunday, March 20, 2011

the power of the gospel

John-Piper-January-19791-300X435Some are trying to rationalize ways for seemingly "good people" to choose their way out of hell after death. Some are trying to shape God into an image they can believe in by taking away His work that don't fit their understanding of love. But others, who have been accused of hate and fear are helping up us with our real need, that is, how to live lives that are truly pleasing, acceptable, and glorifying to the One that gave us life.

John Piper speaks to the miracle of the Gospel activated in us. The full video and text are here. These are some key quotes [emphasis mine]:
Paul said there is a way of life that is “in step with the truth of the gospel” (Galatians 2:14). There is a gospel walk. He said there is a “manner of life worthy of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27).

The reason there is a way of life that fits the gospel is that what happened on the cross of Christ not only cancels the sin and completes the perfection that grounds our justification but, in doing that, also unleashes the power of our sanctification. And what I am most interested in today is how that power over my sins is experienced. And I want to illustrate that eventually from Philippians 2:12–13.

There are many ways that the New Testament shows how this works. I’ll mention three.
1) In the death of Christ we died.
2) In the death of Christ we were bought.
3) In the death of Christ we were forgiven.

And in each of these cases, a power is unleashed from the cross that expresses itself through my volitional attack on sin. In other words, in each of these three cases, the way the cross becomes effective in my conquering cancelled sin is by empowering my will to oppose sin in my life.
And as any good teacher, the indicatives followed by the imperatives (as opposed to misleading unanswered questions):
1. In the death of Christ we died.
“We have been united with him in a death like his” (Romans 6:5; see also Romans 7:4;Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:3).
“You also must consider yourselves dead to sin” (Romans 6:11).
“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body,” (Romans 6:12).
2. In the death of Christ we were bought.
“You are not your own, for you were bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20).
“Glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20).
3. In the death of Christ we were forgiven.
“God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another” (Ephesians 4:32).
So how do we live?
So in every case, the decisive impulse for my holiness and my sin-killing is the death of Christ. Which means that the decisive power for our conquering sin is Christ’s canceling sin. That is, the only sin that we can defeat is a forgiven sin.

If we try to defeat an unforgiven sin—that is, if we try to conquer our sin before it is canceled—we become our own saviors; we nullify the justification of the ungodly (Romans 4:4–5), and we head straight for despair and suicide.

Which means that the link between the cross and my conquered sin is a Holy-Spirit empowered will. Listen to these texts that describe this reality:
- Romans 7:6—“We died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.” I serve in the newness of the Spirit.
- Romans 8:13—“By the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body.” I put sin to death, by the Spirit.
- Galatians 2:20—“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” The life I now live . . . Christ lives in me.”
- 1 Peter 4:11—“Whoever serves, let him do it as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” Iserve, but in the strength that God supplies. And it is a blood-bought supply.
- 1 Corinthians 15:10—“By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” I worked. But it was the grace of God that was working in my working.


The Journeyman said...

Amen and amen!

Greg said...

Farewell John Piper! :)