There is a deep bowl of evangelical identity from which we all need to eat. And often the best and most interesting foods come from newcomers in the evangelical family. We need to think in terms of the whole church or global church with people from North, South, East, and West.
Lord, free me from all sanctimonious mutterings and pious platitudes. May my every word bring grace to the hearers. May they push others toward God and not away from God.
Make War with Unbelief
By John Piper
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:16–17)
When I am anxious about getting old, I battle unbelief with the promise, “Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save” (Isaiah 46:4).
When I am anxious about dying, I battle unbelief with the promise that “none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living” (Romans 14:7–9).
When I am anxious that I may make shipwreck of faith and fall away from God, I battle unbelief with the promises, “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6); and, “He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
Join me in this battle! Let us make war, not with other people, but with our own unbelief. Unbelief in the promises of God is the root of anxiety, which, in turn, is the root of so many other sins. The sword of the Spirit is the word of God, Paul said in Ephesians 6:17. The shield by which we quench Satan’s fiery deceits is faith (verse 16) — faith in that very word of God. So take up the shield in your left hand and the sword in your right hand, and let us fight the good fight of faith.
Take up the Bible, ask the Holy Spirit for help, lay the promises up in your heart, and fight the good fight — to live by faith in future grace.
The Power of a Superior Promise
By John Piper
I shall walk in freedom, for I have sought your precepts. (Psalm 119:45, my translation)
An essential element of joy is freedom. None of us would be happy if we were not free from what we hate and free for what we love.
And where do we find true freedom? Psalm 119:45 says, “I shall walk in freedom, for I have sought your precepts.”
The picture is one of open spaces. The word frees us from smallness of mind. “God gave Solomon . . . breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore” (1 Kings 4:29). The word frees us from threatening confinements. “He brought me out into a broad place” (Psalm 18:19).
Jesus says, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). The freedom he has in mind is freedom from the slavery of sin (John 8:34). Or, to put it positively, it is freedom for holiness.
The promises of God’s grace provide the power that makes the demands of God’s holiness an experience of freedom rather than fear and confinement. Peter described the freeing power of God’s promises like this: “Through [his precious and very great promises] you become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire” (2 Peter 1:4).
In other words, when we trust the promises of God, we sever the root of corruption and sinful desire by the power of a superior promise.
How crucial is the word that breaks the power of counterfeit pleasures! And how vigilant we should be to light our paths and load our hearts with the word of God!
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).
Live Confident in God’s Sovereign Power
By John Piper
The immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe . . . (Ephesians 1:19)
The omnipotence of God means eternal, unshakable refuge in the everlasting glory of God no matter what happens on this earth. And that confidence is the source and power of radical obedience to the call of God.
Is there anything more freeing, more thrilling, or more strengthening than the truth that God Almighty is your refuge — all day, every day, in all the ordinary and extraordinary experiences of life?
If we believed this, if we really let this truth of God’s omnipotence get hold of us, what a difference it would make in our personal lives and in our ministries! How humble and powerful we would become for the saving purposes of God!
The omnipotence of God means refuge for the people of God. And when you really believe that your refuge is the omnipotence of God Almighty, there is a joy and a freedom and a power that spills over in a life of radical obedience to Jesus Christ.
The omnipotence of God means reverence, recompense, and refuge for his covenant people.
I invite you to accept the terms of his covenant of grace: Turn from sin and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ; and the omnipotence of God Almighty will be the reverence of your soul, the recompense of your enemies, and the refuge of your life — forever.