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!

Advertisements

10 Responses

  1. Here is a wonderful book about genuinely “Jesus-shaped” spirituality, not only “Jesus-shaped” but “Jesus-filled” “Jesus-given” and “Jesus-delivered” spirituality:

    http://www.cph.org/cphstore/product.asp?category=&part%5Fno=124289&find%5Fcategory=&find%5Fdescription=&find%5Fpart%5Fdesc=grace+upon

  2. Romans 4:5 “To him who does not work, but trusts God who justifies the wicked his faith is credited as righteousness”. I agree with you. In the end it all boils down to this question, “Who is resting on the rock of atonement?”.

  3. Thanks Rev. McCain!

    I will check it out.

    I sure love all those Jesus ‘ this or that’ adjectives… when He is the One that is the source of the action!

    The problem has always been, and will always be…’us’, and what we do.

    I guess that is why I react so strongly against those that would put the emhasis back onto us, as if the Holy Spirit is not capable of bringing upon us the changes that He desires. Do we then put our trust back into the law? So much preaching and teaching out there is nothing but law preaching and teaching under the guise of enhancing one’s ‘spirituality’ or…whatever.

    Thanks very much, Reverend, for your book recommendation and for stopping by the ‘old Adam’s’ place.

    – Steve M.

  4. Cat95,

    Awesome scripture verse!

    I think one of the problems here is the inability to do proper theology.

    Many of our brethren place the same level of value to each and every verse in the bible. When one does that you can’t help but have a schizophrenic view of the Christian life. ‘ I know I am free…but I must do this or that’. What? Well, that’s exactly what happens.

    Thanks Cat95! Excellent points!

    – Steve M.

  5. I believe the Gospel must always get the last word. Forgiveness trumps condemnation, Christ’s life trumps death, because if it didn’t, then our faith is vain.

  6. “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.”

    I agree! Amen.

    These are the key words: “The trouble here is one of focus. This Jesus shaped spirituality stuff puts the focus exactly where it does not belong…on us.”

    Like John the Baptist, we must die to self. I do believe, most new Christians desire glory (at first), but only because they do not know yet… through time, understanding God’s Word and the works of the Holy Spirit, a heart beings to change.

    Steve, I like this site, because God’s Word is focused upon and a seed might be planted and the Holy Spirit does the rest.

    God’s Word IS the focus. 😉

  7. … and these are things we all must work at daily. God’s Word and prayer keep our eyes on Christ, and our heart in the right place.

  8. Magdalene,

    God gives us the tools of piety. Scripture, prayer, bible study. If we don’t use them it certainly is to our detrement.

    The key is not to put the focus on the tools, but to , as you say, keep the focus on Christ.

    I’m am certainly glad you are enjoying this blog site, Magdalene.

    My goal here is to put Christ and his work for us as the only needful thing.

    I realize that in my pursuit of that goal, I may err. But when I do I hope that it will be on the side of God’s wornderful mercy towards sinners.

    Thanks again, Magdalene.

    – Steve M.

  9. Steve,

    I appreciate your goal: ‘My goal here is to put Christ and his work for us as the only needful thing.’

    Also: Like Pastor’s Anderson speaks about the truth in this world of ours, how some people are being taught “how to” climb a ladder of self-righteous works project… he corrects this problem by simply teaching God’s Word (the truth). I respect the manner in which a very serious point was made (and taught) by using scripture and teachings from the Bible. This is how we learn to recognize the difference between right and wrong, and guard our hearts.

  10. Magdalene,

    Thanks very much for you encouraging words and truths about the scriptures, right and wrong..and guarding our hearts.

    Goodnight Magdalene. Talk to you soon!

    – Steve

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: