Becoming a better Christian and other such nonsense

Katkeh --- HBW! by Lacejoy

Did you hear a good sermon today?

Did the preacher tell you how to make your life work a bit better today?

Did you get some good biblical principles on how to be a better husband, or wife, or how to be a more spiritual and committed  Christian?

Did they tell you what you can do in your community to be a better citizen, a more caring human being?

If you received some preaching along those lines today, then you were fed a portion of  horse dung.  

Those things might be a problem in your life and maybe you do need to work on some of those things that you might have a better life, but what do those things have to do with faith in Christ?  Absolutely nothing.  You can get good advice on how to better yourself just about everywhere these days.

Those things (things that we ‘do’) are law things. The law will save no one. The law always accuses us. It’s demand is a perfect demand, to be fulfilled perfectly by the doer in every instance… and it doesn’t mean tomorrow…but right NOW.

If you heard those things at church today, you are in a place where there is NO GOSPEL. Just law. The law trumps the gospel in a place like that. They might know exactly what the gospel is, and they might even give you the gospel, but if they preached those things to you so that you might become better…then, while you weren’t looking, they ripped the gospel away from you and replaced it with horse dung wrapped in colored foil paper with a curly ribbon.

Those things are law things. There is no life in law things. Things that demand. No life. Yes, maybe in the short term you will see improvement. But in the long run, only death will result from a diet of law.  St. Paul himself referred to the 10 Commandments as “the ministry of death”.  And law things are NOT ONLY the 10 Commandments, but every single demand that your existence places upon you. All of it is law. God’s law.

So, if you want to be a big fan of Moses and the Law, in order that you might progress higher and higher up the Christian ladder of obedience and spirituality…I wish you a lot of luck. You will need it. In the end, you’ll only become despairing of your Christian life, or you will become prideful in it. And then, you are in BIG Trouble, with a capital ‘T’.

You need to have the law DONE TO YOU. Not to make you better…but asserted in it’s full force of perfection (the way Jesus did in the Sermon on the Mount) in order to kill you off to any idea that you can handle it, or tame the law to make it work for you. You cannot. No one can. “No one will be justified in the sight of the law.” And when you have been sufficiently cut off at the knees by that Word of law, then the gospel should be handed over to you freely. Completely. Devoid of any little thing that you must do in order for it to be effective in your life. “Come forth Lazarus!”  He will raise you. He will breathe new life into your lifeless corpse. He will open up the future for you, yet again, where you were once hopeless. When you go to church, you need to know how to listen for the law, and then the gospel. That is your job in all of this. Don’t be hoodwinked by the new Moses who comes dressesd up as Jesus, while fomenting death. There is only one Jesus and He came, He comes, to free you from the bonds of death, and to give you what only He can…new life, forgiveness, and salvation in Him.

 

Here’s today’s sermon from where I got the inspiration for this post:

   click here >  Christian Transcendence nonsense

(If you are used to having the carrot dangled in front of you each week at church, then you probably won’t care for this sermon which puts all of that baloney to death…and gives you what you really need… which is all the more reason why you should hear it)

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Thanks to flickr and Lacejoy for the photo.

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Living by Faith, or by Deeds, or a little of Both

 When it comes right down to the nuts and bolts of having a relationship with the living God, what do most people do? Do they trust in God completely? Do they trust in God and also in their ability to do what God asks of them, or is it maybe a little bit of both, or a lot of one and God and Automobilesa little of the other?

Are some of the ways in which we endeavor to live with God tougher on us than others?

Personally, I think the toughest route is living by faith, alone.  I think that trusting that God will be there for me, and forgive me, and provide for me, is just about impossible to do all of the time.  It always seems easiest for me if I take the teamwork approach and rely on God once in awhile and rely on my own efforts most of the time.

Is there a right way and a wrong way to approach our relationship with the living God?

How do you handle it?

 

Gerhard Forde on the Christian Life…

” The Christian life will be hidden to this world and inexplicable to it.  Sometimes –  perhaps most of the time – the Christian life will appear to follow quite ordinary, unspectacular courses, no doubt too ordinary for the world.  But sometimes it will appear to go quite contrary to what the world would deem wise, prudent, or even ethical…. Why should costly ointment be wasted on Jesus?… Why would it not be better to sell it and give the money to the poor?…Why should a Christian participate in an assasination plot?…The Christian life is tuned to the eschaltological vision, not to the virtues and heroics of this world….The attempt to break the hiddenness is precisely the dangerous thing.”

                                             – Gerhard Forde   (“The Christian Life”, Christian Dogmatics, 2:441)

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