Day: March 11, 2011

John Piper hits a six

No. This is not a post about Piper’s infamous Tweet about Rob Bell. (at some point I might have some thoughts to share about the latest furore surrounding Bell. But I haven’t even ordered Love Wins, so I’m not going to start down that road.)

Instead, it’s about a post Piper published on the Desiring God blog last week: I Act The Miracle.

In the post, Piper comes down hard against any sort of ‘sit back and wait for God to work’ approach to dealing with sin and growing to maturity in Christ.

Whether it’s ‘waiting passively for the miracle of sin-killing to be worked on me’, as Piper puts it. Or whether it’s the kind of thing an (entirely appropriate) emphasis on ‘sanctification by faith’ can easily degenerate into — in which suspicion greets any hint that moral will and effort might be part of how we grow as Christians.

We’ve got big problems when we start suspecting any exhortation to obedience and effort of covertly smuggling ‘salvation by works’ in by the back door. If that were true, large chunks of the New Testament and Jesus’ own teaching would be in trouble.

It’s perfectly right, of course, to be concerned to see God’s sovereign initiative, work and glory upheld not only as we start out in the Christian life but as we continue in it.

But you don’t uphold the sovereignty of God’s grace it by denying the real role our willing and acting has.

For as you ‘work out your own salvation with fear and trembling … it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure’ (Philippians 2.12-13).