Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Future Grace; Day 1

What is the biblical motive for Christian obedience? Perhaps most people would say gratitude.

Yet, John Piper argues in his book 'Future Grace' that gratitude is not the biblical for Christian obedience. Rather, faith in future grace is.

I'm currently reading that book and it's 31 chapters, so I hope to finish the book within a month and pen down my thoughts daily as I read it.

Apparently the book has received lots of praises from well-known Christian figures like J.I. Packer, Kevin DeYoung, C.J. Mahaney etc. saying that apart from the Bible, this book has had the most impact in their lives and it has changed their thinking. Got to live up to its expectations, right? So I'm delving in and reading, hoping that it will challenge me the same way A.W Tozer's 'Pursuit of God' has done for me.

And it has.

The first chapter goes straight into the debtor's ethic - whether we should try to pay God back. Gratitude has he puts it, is good because it exults in grace. The problem with it though, is that gratitude has sometimes lost its spontaneity, and we are tempted to pay it back on the basis that someone has done something good for me, so I should reciprocate. The gift then sort of loses its real meaning.

I suppose it's true, because as Christians we say things like "God has done so much for me, and what have I done for him?" The thinking or motive behind it is probably good, but the Bible as John Piper points out, doesn't show that gratitude is the way we obey him.

Rather, he argues that the reason why we sin is because of our lack of faith in God's future grace, not ingratitude. Faith in future grace is the missing ethical power to overcome rebellion and motivate obedience.

"It's this faith in future grace that channels the power of God into obedience" - We obey, because we fear the Lord, and fearing the Lord involves us trusting in Him, and trembling that it would be an insult to God if we do not have faith after seeing all the signs and wonders he has performed.

Besides, we can never repay God's gift of love for us so the motive for us to obey/please God is driven by faith. Indeed, "without faith, it is impossible to please God".

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