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Battling Unbelief

This post begins a series of posts on John Piper’s excellent new book, Battling Unbelief: Defeating Sin with Superior Pleasure. The book itself is a shortened version of Piper’s The Purifying Power of Living by Faith in Future Grace, but it contains enough meat and practical application to satisfy us all. What will be provided here is just a brief summary of Piper’s message, which I wholeheartedly accept. For those desiring more (no Piper pun intended), skip the summary and buy the book!

Piper’s thesis is “unbelief in the promises of God (that is, future grace) is the root that sustains the life of these sins” (12). In other words, sin is actually a battle of whom we believe. Do we believe in God and His promises, or sin and it’s false promises? Therefore, the battle is won by trusting in God’s promises, or future grace:

“These promises refer to what God plans to do for us in the future, and that is what I mean by future grace. It is grace, because it is good for us and totally undeserved. And it is future in that it hasn’t happened to us yet but may in the next five seconds or the next five thousand years” (13).

For example, if a person is facing the sin of anxiety about death, this person must lean on the promise of 1 Corinthians 15:56-57 and Christ’s victory over death. If a person is facing the sin of impatience, this person must lean on the promise of Lamentations 3:25: “The Lord is good to those who wait for him.”

Of course, Piper reminds us, that faith in future grace is possible only because of our faith in past grace, namely, the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. “God’s future grace toward us was purchased and guaranteed by his past grace toward us in Jesus’ death and resurrection” (17-18).

In this short book, Piper deals with the sins of anxiety, pride, misplaced shame, impatience, covetousness, bitterness, despondency, and lust. More on these in future posts.

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