Mockingbird friend Matt McCormick recently transcribed an incredible excerpt of a sermon by James Nestingen. Amazing stuff:
You can always hear the difference between Faith and Piety in the verbs. Piety says, “I did this. I’ll do that.” Faith says, “He does this. He’ll do that.” Piety says, “You know – I’ve committed my life to Christ.” Faith says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” That’s the difference.
There’s the great scene in the old Swedish novel Hammer of God where a young pastor come to the old pastor and says, “You know, I’ve committed my life to Christ.” And the old pastor says, “I’m sure he’s real impressed. What would he want with that?” What would he want with that? “Here’s how he works.” the old pastor says. “Your heart was a tin can lying in the weeds rusting, and the Lord Jesus came along like that sanitation guy in the park, with an old cloth bag and a stick with a nail in it, and stuck it in that tin can and put it in his bag.”
There’s the difference between Piety and Faith all right. Piety says ” I will – I have – I – I – I – I – I.” Faith says, “He has – and he will not let you down, not ever – not ever – not ever.” And so, having made this promise, Christ Jesus can only put it into force, and so this is what he says, “When you pray, pray like this: ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name, – and so on.'” He knows where we live, caught between ourselves on the one hand and him on the other. He knows the tension of our life, that we’re always getting absorbed into our own plans and projects and efforts and losing sight of him. And so, when he assures us that we can pray he says “Just wait a minute.” He puts our hands in his, holds them together in his and says, ” When you pray, pray like this.”
So he leads us through Piety, past – to anchor us in his promise, to anchor us in Faith, so that we can live this way – boldly – confidently – expectantly – shoulders back – anticipating good – counting on him to deliver us from whatever ails us – knowing that his goodness will pour and continue to pour over all things.”