‘Sin’ vs. ‘Sins’ , and the ‘spiritual muscle building’ game

Many folks in the Church really like to keep busy by pumping their ‘spiritual muscles’. They’ve substituted the Charles Atlas (I’m dating myself) poster on the wall, for a poster of Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount. 80's Muscle Mom # 2

I believe that Jesus’ sermon was a re-presenting of God’s perfect Law, wherein no one would be left with any wiggle room at all when it came to living their lives in the manner that God demands. 

However, many well meaning preachers and teachers in the Church today believe that it is proper  to convince Christians that they can become better Christians by addressing their sins. ( a short audio clip of less than 10 minutes).

Is it possible to become a better Christian by addressing your sins?

Thanks for your input!

A ‘Jesus shaped spirituality’?

The following is my comment on the question of whether we should observe real change in the lives of a Christian. This discussion on the blog, ‘Confessing Evangelical’  is from another discussion on his blog and others, concerning a so-called ‘Jesus shaped spirituality’:

“When someone is in Christ, their lives will change.

Will they all change in the same ways? Of course not. Or to the same degree? Of course not. Jesus

Is it for us to judge what is real change and what is not? Of course not.

“He who began a good work in you will bring it to completetion.” – St. Paul

It doesn’t even say there, that we will even co-operate.

Who knows the heart?
Could a person who is in church twice on Sunday and in every bible study and works at the soup kitchen and visits the elderly sick and dying, not even really be a Christian? Sure. We don’t know who the Christians are. We do know who the baptised are, and those that profess Christ.

The trouble here is one of focus. This Jesus shaped spirituality stuff puts the focus exactly where it does not belong…on us.

One starts to look at himself in light of the other and the other’s performance (or lack thereof) in comparison to some standards of behavior that Jesus modeled. What a waste of time. It is not even necessary.

We are free in Christ. Free to live. Free to love others and help them…or not!

The heroin addict dying in the alley might have a much stronger faith in Christ than the preacher in the pulpit.

I say proclaim God’s strong, uncompromising law…and then hand over His gift of forgiveness…freely…with no strings attached.

This emphasis on performance is ridiculous. People are being led astray from Christ..right into the arms of Moses…and the law!

What a huge waste of time and energy.

Thanks for the opportunity. “

I have been accused by some (one ‘post-Evangelical’ in particular) of being a “hyper-Lutheran. If that means one who defends Christ and His work for us, against those that promote a performance based ‘hyper-religiosity’…then I would be honored to be known as a “hyper-Lutheran”. 

– Steve Martin      A Lutheran who’s spirituality is shaped by Jesus in His Word and sacraments…alone!

When times are rough…

When things go wrong…terribly wrong, and they will, don’t be afraid to let God have it. Pour out your guts to Him with all you’ve got.   But in  the midst of our suffering God is there. Listen to a short (4 min.) audio clip that drives the point home.Numb

Another great quote from Luther…

“There are some who have no understanding to hear the truth of freedom and insist upon their goodness as means for salvation. These people you must resist, do the very opposite, and offend them boldly lest by their impious views they drag many with them into error.

For the sake of liberty of the faith do other things which they regarded as the greatest of sins… use your freedom constantly and consistently in the sight of and despite the tyrants and stubborn so that they may learn that they are impious, that their law and works are of no avail for righteousness, and that they had no right to set them up.”

                                                                     – Martin Luther

How do I know for sure that I am a Christian?

I am baptised.April 1997

  – Steve M.

(has there been a shorter post on a Christian blog?)

The Two Christian Paradigms

Within Christianity there are basically  Two Christian Paradigms.    One is where God has done everything for you. So. Let's say you're in a foreign country.

And the other, where God has done a portion for you. God may have done 99.9% and all that remains for you is that miniscule fraction of a percentage point, but it is a portion nonetheless. In this paradigm there are, of course, varrying degrees of percentages of effort, and or sincerity on your part, from a very little (as we have already discussed) to extensive, and quite involved.

Pastor Mark Anderson has done a pretty neat job of explaining just how these paradigms operate within our Christian lives and offers some good reasons as to why one of these paradigms is the truth, and the other is a lie.

Maybe you disagree with this assessment of the two modes of Christian faith, and can offer up a viable alternative.

The accompanying sermon is about 22 minutes and might just supply you all the ammo that you need to either concur or refute Pastor Anderson’s claims.

(click on the blue ‘Two Christian Paradigms’ in the first sentence to hear the sermon)

 

A Real Eye Opener!

Slow Down on the Caffeine

Here’s a little snippet from one of Pastor Mark’s classes on the book, ‘Where God Meets Man’, by Gerhard Forde.

Some of this might make your eyes bug out!    

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click here  ->  What the law intends

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