In a Nutshell…

My last post was probably a bit convoluted. The examples maybe were not the best.

What I was trying to get across is that so much of today’s pHMMMM, WALNUTS !reaching and teaching regarding the Christian faith is nothing more than ‘law’ . St. Paul  tells us that there in no life in the law…only death.

So when a person goes into a worship service and the law has had it’s way with them all week, at work , at home, and in society, the last thing that person needs is more law trying to get them to improve. It’s like pouring gasoline on the fire! That old, tired, sinful self needs to be killed off (not propped up!) and the new man or woman put in it’s place…by the gospel!

The problem is that so many churches have no idea of this. Their theologies are ‘man’ based to start with, and so they just naturally progress from there along the path of man’s efforts to become more Christlike. They don’t understand the objective nature of the sacraments and the comfort that they bring to real sinners. So the comfort they are seeking and that they need must come from themselves. It has to come from their feelings, their sincerity, their good fruits, as proof that they are really in Christ.

That we are Christians has nothing to do with what we say, think, feel, or do.  It has everything to do with what Christ has done, is doing, and will yet do…FOR US!

This is a real problem for folks in the law churches. For them, the whole enterprise is about what we say, think, feel, or do. According to St. Paul, this way of thinking about the Christian faith is very dangerous.

The question is how do we get them to realize this?

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8 Responses

  1. “In a Nutshell” is the best yet, Steve!

    I confess, I was a little lost in “How Should Christians Use Their Money?” … but I can get lost pretty easy! 😉

    “St. Paul tells us that there in no life in the law…only death.”

    We cannot keep the laws. We try. We fail. We are sinners… Without Christ we are faced with eternal death.

  2. “That old, tired, sinful self needs to be killed off (not propped up!) and the new man or woman put in it’s place…by the gospel!”

    Like Howard shared with us the other day, the gospel is to be heard.

    “They don’t understand the objective nature of the sacraments and the comfort that it brings to real sinners, so the comfort they are seeking and that they need must come from themselves. It has to come from their feelings, their sincerity, their good fruits, as proof that they are really in Christ.”

    God instructed to make disciples of men … to go out into the world and teach His Word and to Baptize and teach about the sacraments.

    I hope and pray that disciples preach how these gifts work together.

    Some people are very gifted in teaching about the Holy Sacraments and God’s Word.

    One person at a time… teaching them and loving them.

  3. Magdalene,

    Glad you liked this one. It is a bit more clear than the ‘money’ post.

    It is hard to seperate the Law from the Gospel, there is no doubt about it. But it must be done.

    You are right, Magdalene, we must love them and teach them and pray for them. After all, we are not one iota better than them and there wa a time when we didn’t see things quite as clearly ourselves and I’m sure we have a ways to go opurselves, by the grace of God.

    Thanks Magdalene !

    – Steve

  4. Amen, Steve. I like the way Tim Wengert describes the situation. It is “up religion” versus “down religion.” The first requires our efforts as we try to get up to God while the second is all God’s work, because he is the God who always comes down.

  5. St Steve,

    How do we get them to realize this? By continually admonishing others to keep eyes on Jesus. This will do two things. Show them how incredibly sinful we still are in Christ. And show them we dont have to wallow in sinful hoplessness for our sins are where Jesus is.

    Praise His Name for surely He bore our sins. Seperated us from our sins as far as east is from west. Knowing that how can anyone be prideful in what they have accomplished or think they can accomplish?

    God’s peace. †

  6. Ivy,

    I’ll have to look for Tim Wengert’s writings on the web. He sounds like another theologian that I am familiar with, Gerhard Forde.

    In Forde’s book, ‘Where God Meets Man’, he talks about ladder theology and attempting to climb up to God.

    An excellent analogy.

    Thanks for the heads up on Wengert!

    I hope you are recovering nicely and not in too much pain.

    – Your Pal,

    Steve

  7. David,

    “Admonishing them to keep their eyes on Jesus.”

    You got it, David!

    I think the best way to keep people off of the ladder of religion is to wield that sharp two-edged sword of God’s Word. Law and Gospel. Properly used, it will kill and heal in one fell swing.

    Grave and Peace to you St, David!

    – Steve

  8. David,

    How do you make the cross behind God’s peace? I love it!

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