Spiritual Seed Pack 1: Living by Grace

John Piper’s Future Grace is a book so deep & yet so practical that it is certainly on my “must-read” list for every Christian. This spiritual seed pack gives you core concepts and ideas from Future Grace to plant and grow in your life. There are direct quotes from Dr. Piper, major ideas distilled down into my own words, and quotes from other writers.

Hungry for the whole book? Click here to see it on Amazon.com.

Want more depth? Click here for a series of articles going through the book chapter by chapter.

Faith Is the Key to Grace

Faith is the key, the channel, that God’s grace flows through. So to experience grace you must possess faith. Faith is absolutely central.

If you go wrong on the nature of faith, everything in the Christian life will go wrong.

So, what is faith? Here are some key concepts:

Faith trusts in the promises that God has made through Christ, and loves them, cherishes them, prizes them with all the heart.

The Bible makes it abundantly clear that faith is more than mere knowledge, more than belief, but is a joyful response of the heart to the truth of the Gospel.

Eternal life is not given to people who think that Jesus is the Son of God. It is given to people who drink from Jesus as the Son of God.

Faith, embracing the spiritual beauty of Christ, is the key to my joy and spiritual growth.

If we can look in our hearts and see God’s love within, sense a spiritual eye for Christ’s light and an ear for Christ’s voice and a taste for Christ’s living water, then we can rejoice and thank God for His glorious grace in our lives, for these are the marks of true faith.

Because building my faith is central to grace, destroying my faith is central to Satan.

Whether it is a discouraging situation, a tempting thought, or any other kind of battle, the real target of Satan is always my faith.

Whenever we turn from faith (total trust and reliance) in God and turn toward anything else, we open the door to sin in our lives.

All the sinful states of our hearts are owing to unbelief in God’s super-abounding future grace.

All our sin comes from failing to be satisfied with all that God is for us in Jesus.

Example: the heart that loves money is a heart that pins its hopes, and pursues its pleasures, and puts its trust in what human resources can offer. So the love of money is virtually the same as faith in money (trust, confidence, assurance) that money will meet your needs and make you happy. You can’t trust in God and in money at the same time. Belief in one is unbelief in the other.

Where faith in God fails, sin follows. Faith stands or falls on the truth that the future with God is more satisfying than the one promised by sin. Where this truth is embraced and God is cherished above all, the power of sin is broken.

Grace is God’s Power At Work in My Life

God’s Grace is Boundless

The reason God saved us was so He could lavish the riches of His grace on us, and it will take God all of eternity to do it. (see Ephesians 2:4-7)

We never have to worry about being beyond the reach of God’s grace, and we never have to worry or manipulate to try and win God’s grace.

God’s grace is a boundless infinite ocean. This reservoir of future grace is hidden from our eyes, but each of us can look back and see a sea of grace that has already flowed from God’s hand, and it grows broader and deeper every day.

God did the hardest thing, not only that has ever been done, but the hardest thing that could ever even be conceivable to be done, in the universe: He allowed His Son, the being He loved more than anything else in the universe, to suffer and die. Why? Romans 8:32 says it— “for us.” So Paul is saying that if God has already done the hardest thing in the universe, it is an easy thing, a simple thing, for Him to “graciously give us all things.”

Having Faith in God’s Grace Changes Everything

You must believe this or you will not thrive, or perhaps even survive as a Christian, in the pressures and temptations of modern life. There is so much pain, so many setbacks and discouragements, so many controversies and pressures. I do not know where I would turn in the ministry if I did not believe that almighty God is taking every setback and every discouragement and every controversy and every pressure and every pain, and stripping it of its destructive power and making it work for the enlargement of my joy in God.

If you live inside this massive promise, your life is more solid and stable than Mount Everest… nothing can blow you over when you are inside the walls …Outside all is confusion and anxiety and fear and uncertainty. Outside this promise of all-encompassing future grace there are straw houses of drugs and alcohol and numbing TV and dozens of futile diversions…once you walk through the door of love into the massive, unshakable structure everything changes. There comes into your life stability and depth and freedom…The confidence that a sovereign God governs for your good all the pain and all the pleasure that you will ever experience is an incomparable refuge and security and hope and power in your life. When God’s people really live by the future grace of Romans 8:28— from measles to the mortuary— we are the freest and strongest and most generous people in the world.

God’s Answer to Every Prayer is Grace.

Many of us have been taught that God answers prayers either “yes” “no” or “wait.” But in reality God always answers every prayer by giving us His grace—the grace of a blessing, the grace to endure a hardship, or the grace of patience.

Grace Gives Me a Heart for Holiness

Jesus repeatedly spoke of the importance of becoming like God—loving & holy. Jesus said that he did not come to do away with God’s laws but to fulfill them. Bottom line:

The law is so wonderful and important that part of the reason Jesus died was that we could obey it and fulfill it.

The commandments of God are not negligible because we are under grace. They are doable because we are under grace.

How does grace do give me a heart for holiness? Sin is what you do when your heart is not satisfied with God. Sin makes a promise to us, to satisfy us, just as God does. Obeying God is learning to trust and value God’s promises to satisfy us in Jesus more than trusting or valuing the promises of sin.

There is a power that comes from prizing God which leaves no nook or cranny of life untouched.

Grace Gives Me a Heart of Patience

Patience is a deepening, ripening, peaceful willingness to wait for God in the unplanned place of obedience, and to walk with God at the unplanned pace of obedience— to wait in His place, and go at His pace.

On his deathbed the 18th century pastor Charles Simeon wrote:

Infinite wisdom has arranged the whole (of my life) with infinite love; and infinite power enables me— to rest upon that love. I am in a dear Father’s hands— all is secure. When I look to Him, I see nothing but faithfulness— and immutability— and truth; and I have the sweetest peace— I cannot have more peace.

Grace Gives Me a Heart of Contentment

Faith is the experience of contentment in Jesus, the satisfaction of my soul’s thirst and my heart’s hunger. The fight of faith is the fight to keep your heart contented in Christ— to really believe, and keep on believing, that He will meet every need and satisfy every longing.

As bitterness rears its ugly taste in our soul, we can successfully banish it with the assurance that God’s justice will be satisfied and by cherishing the even sweeter taste of God’s own forgiveness and love for us.

Grace Gives Me a Heart of Endurance

The Apostle Paul uses two word pictures of the walk of faith: a fight and a race. That means it must be hard, and that we must endure to the end. Knowing that we are in a race and a fight helps us to endure when the way becomes hard.

Grace Brings Suffering & Redeems Suffering

The more you are willing to forsake trust in yourself and the things of this world, the more you will open yourself up to situations where you may experience suffering for God.

When you know that your future is in the hands of an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise God who promises to work all things for your good, you are free to take any risk that love demands— no matter the cost.

In regards to spreading the gospel today, we talk so much about “closed countries” that we have almost lost God’s perspective on missions— as though he ever meant it to be safe.

There are no closed countries to those who assume that persecution, imprisonment, and death are the likely results of spreading the gospel. And Jesus in Matthew 24:9 said plainly that these are the likely results.

God has purposes that He intends to accomplish through suffering:
Suffering Shapes an Unshakable Faith
Suffering Shapes our Character
Suffering Magnifies the Worth of Christ

Grace Frees Me From Fear

The aim of grace is to liberate me from fears and desires that enslave my soul and hinder radical obedience to Jesus.

Freeing me to live a radical life, doing whatever will advance the Kingdom and glorify Jesus– that’s why God gives me grace.

Grace Gives Me a Heart for God’s Glory

One thing is past all question: we shall bring our Lord most glory if we get from Him much grace. If I have much faith, so that I can take God at His Word… I shall greatly honor my Lord and King. (Charles Spurgeon)

Grace Gives Me a Heart for Ministry

The state of the heart is shown by the things that satisfy its desires.

Ministry is a lifestyle devoted to advancing other people’s faith and holiness.

But a lifestyle of ministry is costly, in acts of sacrificial love. None of these costly acts of love just happens. They are impelled by a new appetite— the appetite of faith for the fullest experience of God’s grace.”

Grace Frees Me to Pursue Joy in God

The breadth and depth of our pursuit of joy in God is the measure of His worth in our life.

God commands us to pursue joy in Him. In fact, He commands us to pursue joy with as much passion and zeal and intensity as we can. Pursuing joy is not sin, but pursuing happiness where it cannot be lastingly found is sin.

“Delight yourself in the Lord” (Psalm 37:4) is not a secondary suggestion. It is a radical call to pursue your fullest satisfaction in all that God promises to be for you in Jesus. It is a call to live in the joyful freedom and sacrificial love that comes from faith in future grace.

Live by faith. Live by grace. Live for joy in God.

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