Piper on Law and Sanctification

Q.1) Did he turn us away from the law for justification and then send us back to it for sanctification?
Q.2) Is the law the first and chief and decisive focus of our lives if we want to triumph over our rebellion and our craving for God’s creation over God?
Q.3) If we want to love our enemies and not return evil for evil, and have patience and kindness, and be bold and courageous in the cause of righteousness, and endure hardship joyfully in service of the gospel, and spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples, then where shall we turn for help?
Q.4) How do we become holy, loving, and Christ-like after we are justified by faith alone?
Answer: The ultimate aim is to make sure that Jesus Christ gets the glory for the triumph of righteousness in the world – both in justification and sanctification.

Q.) You turned to the law and experience some measure of success in becoming a law-abiding person (as the Pharisees certainly did, including Saul of Tarsus)?
A.) Christ would get no honor from that. But God’s whole purpose in the plan of redemption is that his Son get the glory not only for our justification, but also for our sanctification. And this the law could not do.

Q.) Is it by turning to the law that we fulfill the law and lead lives of love?
A.) [Nay,] it is by turning to the living Christ.

Q.) Isn’t the power of sanctification the law?
A.) [Nay,] but the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ. And the instrument of our appropriation of this power is not to turn to the law but to fix our gaze and our faith on the glory of Christ crucified and risen, reigning and indwelling.

Q.) Is Christ the key, as he’s seen and savored above all things?
A.) That is the power that sanctifies. And this is the method of holiness that glorifies him, not the law and not us.

Q.) Married to Moses or Another?
A.) The parallel between Romans 7:4 and 7:6 show the same thing as Romans 8:4 and 9. “Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.”

This is the clearest statement of all that the looking to the law is not the first or chief or decisive means of bearing fruit for God. If you want to bear fruit for God you must die to the law. If you want to live a life of love you must die to the law. If you want to fulfill the law you must die to the law. That is you must not turn to law-keeping as your first or chief or decisive way to defeat your rebellion and become a loving and holy person. To keep the law the way God wants it kept in this age you must turn away from it to “be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead.” Then you will “bear fruit for God.” And the fruit is love.

Q.) What then is love?
A.) Love is the fruit of turning to the living Christ and finding him more to be desired than everything that hinders love.

Q.) The aim of God?
A.) That Jesus get the exaltation and that you get the liberation. In Romans 15:18 Paul says, “I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles.”

Q.) Where did our obedience come from?
A.) It came from Jesus Christ and what he has done through the gospel.

Q.) And why is that important?
A.) Because unless you pursue obedience through seeing and savoring him, you won’t get the transformation and he won’t get the glorification. You stay in bondage, and he is dishonored.

[SEE SERMON: Audio of “How the Spirit Does What the Law Could Not Do” :: Desiring God]

(HT: Gospel Muse)

Peter serves as a pastor-teacher, at home and abroad, resourcing gospel-centred communities.

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