Motivations

Where do we go with this one?

Well, we can go a lot of places, but this time I want to try and unde rstand my own personal motivations in having this blog and what motivates me to post what I post.

First off I like to tell you what I think does not motivate me.

I have no desire to prop up the denomination, or the church body to which the congregation that I belong is affiliated.

The ELCA is a denomination that has fallen upon hard times. It has done so willfully out of a sense of it’s own importance. It has replaced God’s Word with man’s words and deeds. It has decided to ignore God’s law and institute a policy of radical inclusiveness, where sin is not only condoned, but flaunted. In it’s quest to be liked by all, it has forgotten it’s first Love and has fallen hard for the fleeting glances of a world which cares nothing for them, or for their God.

The ELCA is not concerned with lifting high the cross of Christ, but lifting high the head of man. It is a feel good program whereby one can justify his own willful disobedience by merely throwing trinkets at the poor, or helping sinners feel comfortable with themselves.

In much of ELCA preaching, Christ rarely shows up as a just and righteous God, but rather a teacher of good deeds or example of a great life lived…that we might emulate Him.

Since the ELCA has pretty much abandoned God’s Word of law, it has pretty much turned itself into a law of it’s own making. A do-gooder organization that helps a lot of people with their secondary needs, but leaves them starving for what they really need…God’s unmitigated law to kill them off, and then God’s unmitigated promise of forgiveness to raise them again. 

Thanks be to God that they haven’t thrown out the liturgy and the sacraments yet. Christ is still there in those things.

I pray for a change of heart over at the ELCA whereby (by the grace of God) they might return to their first Love, and return to the mission of preaching the cross of Christ to sinners.  God may work a reformation at the ELCA. The libertine, 60’s mindset leadership will not live forever, and God may breathe fresh life into that organization, or He might just let them go on ‘playing church’ until He decides to turn out the lights.

That said, I realize that there are many good and faithful congregations and pastors within the ELCA that are more ‘centered’ (Christ centered).

I am not motivated by a desire to hold up any person, or written document, or scripture verse, or denomination (including the LCMS, WELS, or any others) whereby the efforts of man are put forth in a manner that leads one to believe that he can actually contribute, even in the slightest, to the goodness and righteousness that only God alone in Jesus Christ can provide. I believe preaching cooperation with God towards our sanctification is pouring gasoline on a fire. (We have discussed this recently a few posts ago…I already know your disagreements)

That said, I realize that there are many good and faithful congregations and pastors that are more ‘centered’ (Christ centered), within those denominations also.

 So I am not motivated by a desire to defend those that stand on scripture, but rather those that stand beneath it.

I am motivated (when I’m at my best) by a desire to preach Christ and Him crucified, to a world that needs Him… and Him alone.

I am motivated by a desire to take our efforts and place them in the proper arena, that of the neighbor and his needs.

I am motivated by a desire to kill.  To kill off the Old Adam or Eve that lives within us all, that Christ might raise the new man or woman.

I am motivated by a desire to have others know of the great freedom in Christ that has been bestowed upon me in my baptism. A baptism that did, and still does, exactly what it promised to do…kill me and raise me…forgive my sins and give me Christ.

I am motivated to let others know that Christ’s promises are true. When He says “my yoke is easy”…He means ‘easy’ for us…costly for Him. I believe an easy yoke is not a list of things that we ought be doing.

I am motivated by a desire to say to one and all, that Christ has done it all. There is not one thing left to do. Not one. “It is finished.”  I think He meant that quite literally. “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completetion.”

I know my motivations are tainted by sin. I also know that where Christ and His forgiveness of sins is proclaimed, He promises to show up, regardless of my motivations, and the mistakes I might make.

I pray that He will continue to show up, and to keep us in His faith.

    – Steve Martin

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7 Responses

  1. The old evil foe of an aversion to sanctification continues to rear its ugly head in Lutheran circles, sad to say. The assertion that Christians have no need of the Law since they are now guided by Love through the Gospel.

    While this sounds quite reasonable and true, upon closer inspection we realize that in making such an assertion what the result is, is that the Gospel becomes Law.

    Even as we reject legalism in the Church and put forward, firmly, the all sufficient sacrifice of Christ on the Cross for us, and His continuing power of salvation for us and therefore in us, we dare not forget that we are called to lives of good works, in Him, for Him and through Him: justification and sanctification. Lutheranism teaches both. We are to talk about the good works we are to be doing, and no, this is not merely/only by way of condemning sin. The Scriptures are replete with St. Paul describing the nature and consequences of the new life in Christ. A blog site put up this wonderful twist on the Rick Warren “Purpose Driven Life” book, which finally leaves the Christian not comforted, but only thrown back on his own resources. On the blog where this picture appeared, I provided a number of quotes from the Small Catechism that go along perfectly with a clear exposition of the Gospel. And here they are.

    Christ lived, and lives, for us. We live in Him, and for him.

    He gives us all His good gifts “all…out of pure, fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me.” What is our response? “For all which I owe it to Him to thank, praise, serve, and obey Him.”

    Christ lived a purpose driven life for me, and for you. Why?

    “In order that I may be wholly His own, and live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness.”

    And because of what Christ did . . .

    “He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers.”

    Consequently, as the Word is taught purely among us…

    “We as the children of God also lead holy lives in accordance with it” and in this way hallow God’s name.

    This life is one of progress, not perfection. We strive to serve our Lord, according to His grace and mercy. There are some who say that we should not get into details in explaining and describing what it means to serve and obey God, or what that life is that we live in His kingdom, or what precisely it means to live holy lives in accordance with God’s Word. But such a viewpoint has no justification, no pun intended, in light of God’s Word and our Lutheran Confessions.

  2. “He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers.”

    I don’t see anything in there about my cooperation in the sanctification.

    Luther clearly writes, “He sanctifies…”

    Get into the details? Who’s the judge on this progress? The pastor? The church council? Ourselves?

    Where is your assurance?

    There isn’t any. You might as well be a purpose driven Christian.

    I like the easy yoke that Christ has provided for me.

    If the gospel comes with strings attached..then it ain’t the gospel. It is the law.

    If Christ saves, then the law can’t.

    Christ’s forgivesness is either all…or it’s nothing.

  3. Pastor McCain,

    How would you rate your progress (personally) in this cooperative sanctification journey?

    Good – Average – Better than Average?

    If the deatils can be laid out, surely we ought see some progress?

  4. St Steve,

    Yes good deeds are necessary. So necessary in fact we do those without any thought about it. If it were up to us we certainly would make a dog’s breakfast out of it. God did not leave it up to us but rather lives them out in those who are grafted to Jesus the living vine.

    Judging progress? Who on earth cannot find fault in another person. Jesus told us to behold the log in our eyes and pull it out. After that major surgery we can compassionately help our erring brother or sister with his or her splinter.

    Shall we expect Jesus to admire our good deeds? Or rather confess we are unworthy servants and we did only our duty. No brownie points needed.

    Thanks be to God.

  5. Steve is absolutely correct to point out the question, “Who is to judge the progress?’ Good luck. The fact is that the Christian life never ‘progresses’ beyond baptism – the daily dying to sin and being raised in the new life that is God’s gift to us.

  6. David Cochrane wrote, “Yes good deeds are necessary. So necessary in fact we do those without any thought about it. ”

    and,

    “Shall we expect Jesus to admire our good deeds? Or rather confess we are unworthy servants and we did only our duty. No brownie points needed.”

    Amen, David. Thank you for saying these words. I needed to hear them.

    I will be so glad when the Body of Christ is ONE.

    A person could travel from one church to the next looking for the “perfect” church…

  7. I don’t see anything in there about my cooperation in the sanctification.

    Luther clearly writes, “He sanctifies…”

    Nicely put, Steve.
    I recall this being discussed (from a slightly different perspective) several times on The White Horse Inn, and the question being raised,
    ‘don’t we contribute anything to our faith?’ Luther’s answer was ‘yes, your rebellion, your enmity and your sin – the rest is the work of Christ and the gift of God’. He is the ONLY one that not only saves us to the uttermost but by the Spirit, can use these now menial instruments of dust to convey and express the richness of His life. How astonishing, that this life should be so expressed!

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