In this episode:
- Your final reminder to become a Theodio Premier Subscriber before the end of 2020
- Read the Bible, from The Gospel Coalition: The podcast
- The final audiobook segment from chapter 3
- Notes from the blog
- The podcast will take a break until January 2
- Episode blog post: Root vs. fruit: How to understand the difference
- John Piper: “Did Jesus Preach Paul’s Gospel?” Together for the Gospel 2010
- Desiring God: “Justification“
- ‘Podcast introduction: Yabo Obien
- Logo and marque: Jeff Lyons at Light & Story
- Original music: Makeup and Vanity Set
- Kindle version of Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices by John Hendryx at Monergism.com
- Text for Precious Remedies provided by GraceGems.org
Welcome back to the Theodio Podcast. I’m your host, Dan Kassis
We’re walking though the book Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks, one section at a time. Along with a segment of our original audio production of the book, we provide commentary and fresh insight, bringing this work of classic theology to life for you.
Here we are at the end of chapter 3 of Precious Remedies. And as originally published, the end of 2020. This will go down as a monumental year in American history for many reasons. I hope this podcast has been something you have looked forward to each week, something that has provided you comfort, knowledge, and help.
One other thing is about to end as well: Our Theodio Premier Subscription offer. I’ll share more about that as we close.
And before I continue with this episode’s content, I’d like to share another really great thing I’ve been involved with.
Read the Bible
As a listener to this podcast, you’re more likely than not a regular Bible reader. Perhaps you’re looking for a plan to read through the Bible in 2021. If so, I have a suggestion for you: The Read the Bible podcast from The Gospel Coalition. I’ll place a link to their web page in the show notes. But it’s available on the major podcast services.
Read the Bible features devotional commentaries from D.A. Carson’s book For the Love of God (vols. 1 and 2) that follow the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan. The podcast is designed to be used alongside TGC’s Read The Bible initiative.
Vol. 1 of the podcast is about to wrap up, but vol. 2 begins on January 1, 2021. And that’s where I come in. The Gospel Coalition blessed me beyond expectation by asking me to be the voice of the podcast. Working on this project has been a wonderful experience. And I hope that Read the Bible helps you in your spiritual growth throughout the coming year.
Now back to the show.
This episode details the final device Thomas Brooks defines as a weapon Satan uses to prevent Christians from “holy duties and religious performances.” Both of those terms require explanation in today’s language. To do that, we’re going to talk about what has been called the “root vs. fruit” dichotomy, with help from pastor and author John Piper.
But first, let me offer a bit of theological background.
Duties and performances
The “duty” we owe God is one of response to his grace, not from fear of his wrath. Think of the first 11 chapters of Paul’s letter to the Romans. In those magisterial words, Paul explains it is impossible to please God through our actions and works. He shows it was Christ who satisfied the Father once and for all through his sacrificial death on the cross.
And so in chapter 12 he begins, “Therefore, in light of God’s mercies, offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.” Christ has made us holy and acceptable. We cannot do this by our works.
And yet, in our blood-bought holiness, we may collectively offer ourselves sacrificially, yet still living. God spares us mercifully, as he spared Isaac through Abraham’s obedience, receiving instead the unblemished ram he himself provided.
Our “performances,” as Thomas Brooks calls them, are the outworking of that collective sacrifice. We wouldn’t use this word today. It connotes images of entertainment, of performers on a stage playing roles and delivering rehearsed thoughts and ideas. Instead, we might think of these as “good works.”
Regardless of what we call them, the acts in which we engage should be grace-fueled, not law-driven. But this is an idea Satan despises. In his hatred of God’s grace, he uses two tactics against us.
- He tries to shackle us once again to a burdensome religious obligation. He convinces us God will not be pleased with us unless we are always dutiful, always performing.
- If that doesn’t work, he uses an opposing scheme. Satan will lure us into looking not to Christ as our assurance of salvation, but to the works God produces in us by faith. We become the object of our own worship.
It is this second tactic that is the subject of Brooks’ eighth device, and of this episode.
Piper explains root vs. fruit
In 2010 I attended the Together for the Gospel Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. This event brought some 7,000 men together to hear preaching on “the unadjusted gospel” from some of the finest biblical teachers in our nation.
I was unprepared for what I would experience the second night of the event. During his sermon, Piper admonished us with his concern that many of us were making this mistake – looking to the fruit of our righteousness instead of the “root” of it, Christ himself.
You can see or hear Piper’s entire message from that night. I’ll place a link to it in the show notes, along with a link to an excellent summary from Desiring God.
Piper’s sermon was a gut punch. I was still reeling from its impact hours later. He was right. I had fallen for the subtle temptation to look to my own good works as proof of the validity of my faith, rather than Christ.
In four brief remedies, Thomas Brooks closes chapter three reminding and encouraging us to keep our gaze fixed firmly forward on our true Source of hope and peace.
What a beautiful word picture – Christ himself as our ultimate place of rest. The book of Hebrews is a masterful examination of this truth. Consider making it part of your devotions as we approach Christmas.
The Theodio Podcast will take a break during the final week of the year. We will return the first week of 2021 to begin our walk through chapter 4 of Precious Remedies. This chapter is about our attitudes and thoughts, the internal struggles and doubts that challenge us in our lives with Christ.
At that point our offer to become a Theodio Premier Subscriber will have ended. If you haven’t signed up yet, you only have a couple more weeks. Visit Theodio.com and click on “Join Us” on the top menu bar. You’ll learn why our Free Premier Subscription is worth signing up for. And I think you’ll especially like the offer you’ll receive on the upcoming full audio version of Precious Remedies.
Have a very Merry Christmas, a safe and prosperous New Year. And thank you again for listening to the Theodio Podcast.