He executes justice for the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, he lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves those who live justly. The LORD watches over the immigrant and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. -Psalm 146:7-9
Friday, March 21, 2008
Grace, Grace, Grace
"All the grace Paul has in mind when he blesses the Christians at the beginning and end of all his letters is future grace.
This is the title I am proposing for the book: "Living by Faith in Future Grace." I'll have lots more to say about this in the BITC. But let me just stress the obvious here. When you wish something on someone, you are wishing it on them for the future—meaning the period of time that starts now.
If I say, "Grace to you, from God," I mean, "Starting now." If I say, "Grace be with you," I mean, "Starting now." Not that you haven't known grace in the past, or haven't experienced it right up to this moment. But the blessing is for the future. May God do something gracious now. May God go on being gracious to you, starting now. Therefore the grace in Paul's mind is not the grace of the past, but the grace of the future.
The death and resurrection of Jesus were great works of grace. Your effectual calling and new birth and faith and repentance and justification were all great past works of grace, if you are a Christian. But that is not what he is wishing for you. He is wishing for something new, for something continued. Grace upon grace. More grace.
The heart of the book, and I believe the heart of the biblical teaching about living the Christian life, is that to live as a Christian we need to believe in this future grace. We need to be confident of it, and bank on it, and trust in it, and be satisfied by it, if we are going to know the power and freedom and joy that can obey the radical commands of Jesus to live differently from the world."
-JOHN PIPER on Future Grace
Talk about power, Freedom, and joy.. I believe with all my being the LORD has went before me and provided me with the future grace I need to live in this neighborhood. Often I am asked "How has it been living there"? or "How is Kaiya doing"?...
to answer those questions, I am doing great. you know... there are challenges from time to time, that may tempt me to be fearful or worried.. But it's like the moment I begin to go down the road and entertain those thoughts, its like the Lord immediately remove them from my mind.. I am glad I am writing this because it's helping me to recall the goodness of the LORD. I never thought that when we finally moved here that I would have peace.. I did'n think that I would want to sleep in my bed alone while my hubbie is out..I definitely didn't think that I would let our Kaiya play alone on the front porch or front yard with her toys.. (Some of you may be gasping for air at this point and thinking, " oh, my that's not using wisdom to let her play like that in a neighborhood full of strangers..".. I can assure you she will be ok...safety is not based on where you live, the same things that happen here; if the LORD permits, could happen in your neighborhood as well)
Yesterday, as I was sitting in the living room folding laundry, I could see her somewhat and hear her yelling to the many wonderers and neighbors in the community as they walked pass our home..." HEY NEIGHBOR!!! HOW ARE YA!!! YOU DOIN' GOOD TODAAAYY!!!
God sent us here as a family..to love, and to live. My prayer was to move here and to be a part of the community in all respects. Sure, I know we stand out from many, but I didn't want us to stand out due to fear, or a attitude that says, " I am better than you, you need me".
It was God's amazing grace that has carried me this far and that will continue to so in the future
Piper says in his book Future Grace :....." grace is not only a past experience of pardon, it is a future experience of power to do what God commands us to do. This is why gratitude for past grace is not the fuel for today's obedience. You can't run your car on gratitude for yesterday's gas. You need today's gas for today's trip. You need today's grace for today's obedience. And the pump is not gratitude but faith in future grace"
aghh...well said :)