John Piper on the Christian Life (Faith and Obedience)

7 Oct

This is an edited transcript of John Piper’s sermon titled “How Does the Gospel Save Believers (Part 3)”, a part of John Piper’s nearly nine-year long study on the book of Romans.  In the excerpt below, John Piper answers the question: “How are Christians, who have been saved from the Law through the imputed righteousness of Christ through faith, to view the Law now?”

[Here’s how you are NOT to think of it]: “Oh my God.  I am not going to make it into God’s favor.  So I need to do these things to get right with God; and do these things to be forgiven; and do these things to get acquitted in the courtroom of heaven; and do these things to get justified.  That’s called legalism – and it is deadly.  And every human is born depending on it.

Rather, the answer is, when you hear a commandment from the Lord, you think like this: “If my measure of warfare against my sin – if the measure of my success were the foundation of my acceptance with God, I am a goner.  There is no hope for me; I will just despair; I will say, ‘Let’s eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die’ because I don’t care if the Gospel is true or not; I can’t keep it.  And there’s no point in wracking my brain to try!”

That’s what the effect will be of legalism, in the end.

Rather, we say [how we ARE to think of it]: “Because God has freely given to me a gift of His own righteousness, and not mine.  And His is perfect and mine is imperfect, to be received by faith alone apart from works of the law.  And because He has already acquitted me in the courtroom of heaven by faith.  And because He has already forgiven me and cast all my sins behind his back and buried them in the deepest part of the sea, THEREFORE, I know He is for me this afternoon and He will help me and strengthen me and all I want to do is cast myself on that help and, insofar as he enables me, do what He calls me to do in order that I might manifest the supremacy of His grace in my life and enjoy an ever-deepening companionship with the One on whom I depend.”

And that’s called the Christian life.  The Gospel saves believers by revealing to you everyday that your security lies not on yourself, but on the righteousness of God given to you to be received by faith.  You need that everyday – not just at the beginning of your Christian life.

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