Christians today understand the concept of grace. It is the basis of our salvation in Jesus Christ. Paul wrote, “for it is by grace you have been saved by faith and that not of yourselves” (Ephesians 2:8). It is sustenance and sufficiency for the believer. In an answer to Paul’s prayer, the Lord responds, “My grace is sufficient for you, My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Grace is defined, in religious circles, as God’s unmerited favor towards an individual. Grace is not something that we can earn, purchase, or deserve. It is truly, as Paul states, a gift. In a rework of his 1995 book, John Piper, in “Future Grace; The Purifying Power of the Promises of God”, explores a specific aspect of grace which he has termed “future grace”. In defining the term, Piper writes, “All that God promises to be for us in Jesus stands over against what sin promises for us without Him. This great prospect of the glory of God is what I call future grace”. Piper deals with some of the issues that surface in the believer’s daily walk with God. Because he has linked future grace to the sure promises of God, Piper shows how future grace allows the believer to trust and rest in the promises God has made. He writes about many links in this future grace chain. Included are the enemies and cost of grace, the relationship that works have to grace, and the battle to believe in light of past and present grace just to name a few.
The wheels come of the cart very early in this book. In chapters one and two, Piper discusses gratitude and introduces a term that he has coined as “debtor’s ethic”. There is a friction, Piper believes, between a believer’s desire to show gratitude for what Jesus has done for them and the felt need to pay God back. He writes, “If gratitude is twisted into a sense of debt, it gives birth to the debtor’s ethic – and the effect is to nullify grace.” I don’t believe this to be true. Piper’s writing is confusing and messy in these chapters. He seems, in my opinion, to simultaneously support and reject the relationship between gratitude and debt. He seems to suggest that a believer’s desire to show gratitude for the grace extended to them will in fact nullify that grace. What follows are chapters upon chapters of lessons and discussion related to grace that are independent of the given thesis. In an attempt to adequately define and defend, ‘future grace’, Piper drowns the reader in unnecessary wording that make it a laborious read. To me, it is simply not a clear presentation of the subject matter.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from WaterBrook Press as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”