Is This A Covenant Of Works Or A Covenant Of Grace?

We Know How Luther And Calvin Answered This Question

I am hard pressed to imagine something more important for our lives than fulfilling the covenant that God has made with us for our final salvation.

John Piper, Future Grace (1995 edition), 249.


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  1. You know, it’s even worse than that. God did not covenant with his people, but with his people’s heads (Adam/Christ). Piper isn’t just confusing the covenants of works/grace, but *who* God covenanted with. His position de facto jettisons the meaning of Christ’s obedience for our salvation, among other things.

    • Yet God chose us (direct object) in Christ.
      I like Abram’s covenantal role in Gen. 15 – sleeping, while God does all.

  2. Piper’s threats — and that’s what they are, looking at the second page of the first chapter of Future Grace 2012: “threats of going to hell because of lust (p. 2)” for example … Piper’s threats are due to being stuck in a false syllogism of looking for a set of inevitable consequences, and not seeing them, 2) warning or concluding about, from the observer’s lack of seeing such inevitable consequences in the present, lack of salvation.

    Which inevitable consequences? He changes it in the course of the book to one virtue: fighting. He amends his own standard later, from going to hell because of lust and other sins, to going to hell because not “fighting” lust and other sins, irrespective of amount success or failure: “if we don’t fight lust, we lose our souls.” (p. 331). He does this with all virtues and sins. On another page, discussing a woman in a home church years ago, her lack of forgiving her mother, saying this: “I warned her that her very soul was in danger if she kept on with such an attitude of unforgiving bitterness. (p. 265).”

    Supposedly those who are presently not “fighting” their sins are suspect, the more time, the more suspect: “the issue is that we resolve to fight, not that we succeed flawlessly.” So there, the standard is even less than just “fighting,” it’s resolving to fight.

    The solution I think is to look for Christ, not just for fighting or resolutions about fighting. The person not fighting right now, who sometimes with help, gets back assurance of being in Christ, can get back to fighting. Christ is not synonymous with just fighting. Not fighting, that’s a tough despondency. But Christ can pull us out of that slough. And ministers, pointing to Him, can help.

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