‘Christian Schizophrenia’

There is way too much of this going around.

I was involved with some folks, on another blog, trying t o explain to a woman how it is that we can continue to sin even though the Bible says in many many places that we shouldn’t.

Well, the Bible verses were flying thick and fast. “Paul says this. James says that. Peter says this, Jesus says that.”

OK…then we’d better do it. We’d better be saved by grace alone and stop sinning, now that we are saved…right?

Wrong.

There is no stopping from sinning. And there is no Christian progress from a life focused on the reduction of the amount of sin you commit.

There is no adding to what Christ has done on the cross, by you or by anybody else. It is not necessary, and it can be deadly and it can kill any assurance that they might have had at one time and it can actually cause them to lose their faith.

Of course it can! They are now trusting in themselves! In their own ability to be “good” and keep the law. What faith do you need for that, other than faith in yourself…and that is idolatry.

These  poor folks, and as I write this another young woman comes to mind who was questioning her salvation (again, on another blog), are being fed a steady diet of ‘Christian obedience’, ‘Christian seriousness’, ‘Christian do goodism’…and it is killing them.

The good part of it is at least they are struggling with it. At least someone (who has actually heard the gospel) can come along and tell them to STOP! Someone can tell them to chuck the “religious project” and be what Christ meant for them to be and that is FREE!  He wants them to be free from the religious self-improvement project and free to be able to love God and the neighbor as him or herself, without having to worry in the least about being condemned by God if you mess up along the way. 

We have all messed up, and are still messing up along the way. But our Lord (remember Him?) is right behind us with the broom and dust pan picking up after us. That’s right.  All that filthy sin that we make goes into His waste can and is done away with.

That is what that cross was all about. It wasn’t a launching pad for ‘you‘!

BUT…since “good Christians” will continue to read the Bible in such a way as to not recognize the law from the gospel, and then mix them up so badly that they make laws out of the gospel, and turn the gospel into the law…these travesties will continue to flourish. All in the name of Jesus.

One more time, for any that will hear it.  Your sins ARE FORGIVEN FOR JESUS’ SAKE.  We are not to sin…but if we do, we have an Advocate. His name is Christ Jesus.

His love and forgiveness for sinners is so great that He can handle all of your sin, all of my sin, and the sins of the whole world. The Bible tells us that  and I believe it.

Do you believe it?

Am I wrong?  Is this truly a cooperative effort of God and the sinner? 

 

Advertisements

72 Responses

  1. “trying to explain to a woman how it is that we can continue to sin even though the Bible says in many many places that we shouldn’t.” (Steve)

    Well that’s easy – because for all the great linguistics and eloquent wordplay within the lines of the letters of the NT – maybe nothing happened and ‘sin still exists’?

    “There is no adding to what Christ has done on the cross…” (Steve)

    But who wants to add to that? Isn’t faith about ‘cleaning up’ and ‘change’ (renewal of your character)…how does that truly interfere with what Jesus did 2000 years ago? Now some people may think they can earn their salvation (I would ask ’saved from what again?’) – but the other extreme is also harmful – thinking we are asked nothing in exchange for our faith in God. Jesus is very clear about the asking.

    “He wants them to be free from the religious self-improvement project and free to be able to love God and the neighbor as him or herself, without having to worry in the least about being condemned by God if you mess up along the way” (Steve)

    I agree – this is true freedom. I would ask though – does God condemn?

    “His love and forgiveness for sinners is so great that He can handle all of your sin, all of my sin, and the sins of the whole world. The Bible tells us that and I believe it.” (Steve)

    Does God forgive sins we have not committed yet (sins in the future)? It’s a question that no one has asked yet but interests me.

    “Am I wrong? Is this truly a cooperative effort of God and the sinner?” (Steve)

    Is there such a thing as ‘right and wrong’ in universalism?

    I think it is a cooperative effort or what’s the use of having a ‘relationship w/God’? Not saying the things God does don’t seem absolutely ‘Great’ in comparison to what we do – but if this is a ‘relationship’ (as many good Christians will coin it) then we are involved in that in some minor way (in it’s success).

    Think of your wife (or wife’s – your husband) and how that relationship works. If one quits giving anything at all to that ‘union’ then nothing will exist anymore. I figure, if this is a some kind of wonderful relationship wth God – then even our little bit means something to Him.

    Maybe this causes some religious lawyering in people – but then – should we change what is real to avoid some minor mistakes made in the passing of knowledge? I follow Jesus and those teachings to ‘better my life’ and find the best life I can (and it works) – yes, this invloves mindful thought and action. Now am I bettering myself to earn something or because it is plainly just good advice? I think interpretation is the problem – not religious zealotry.

  2. Jason,

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to clean up one’s life. Indeed we should strive to do so, for our sake and for the sakes of those around us.

    BUT…that has nothing to do with the gospel.

    The gospel is God’s annoucment to you, that you are forgiven. Totally…past, present, and future.

    There is nothing required from you for that announcement by God to be valid and true. Nothing.

    You do not have to do anything, but you are now free to do anything you want for your own betterment and the betterment of your neighbor…without having to worry about pleasing God or not pleasing God.

    He is pleased with you (because of Christ Jesus) before you even start the day.

    The faithfulness side of the relationship is fulfilled all by Him, for we are often faithless, but He is always faithful.

  3. “Think of your wife (or wife’s – your husband) and how that relationship works. If one quits giving anything at all to that ‘union’ then nothing will exist anymore. I figure, if this is a some kind of wonderful relationship wth God – then even our little bit means something to Him.”

    Good point… this is where many people fail, thinking that God behaves as we do. Consider back to the covenant with Abraham… the animals were halved and separated, and God passed through alone, meaning that contrary to human covenants, in the covenant with God, He is responsible for it all. We can’t fail, because nothing depends on us (and it drives us crazy).

    We do not do things to keep up our end; God keeps up our end, so we can do things….

    “Does God forgive sins we have not committed yet (sins in the future)? ”

    That’s a good question… yes. The work of the cross is an ongoing process, and grace is ongoing. I think it is a mistake to think of justification as a single transaction. Christ, of course, died once for all… but the Scriptures never say that the cross only works once for us.

  4. “The gospel is God’s annoucment to you, that you are forgiven. Totally…past, present, and future. There is nothing required from you for that announcement by God to be valid and true. Nothing.” (Steve)

    So, nothing is required of me – forgiveness exists for me now, prior, and later? That’s ‘good selfish news’ for me…let me explain.

    So I am forgiven for ‘all time’ – what ‘s stopping me from hustling drugs to make a lot of extra money to pad the bank account? Hell, it’s as easy as 1-2-3 if u ask me – I know people that do it that own homes, new cars, and spend some mad cash.

    I could dabble in the dating scene behind my wife’s back – she really wouldn’t need to know (causing lying is now permitted) – and hook up with any and all chicks that dig my scent. Nothing really stopping me – because it’s grace that ‘saves’ me.

    If I am selfish – this gospel will make all the sense in the world – it just took my sins (past, present, and future), lifted them, and gave me a free pass. Is this how grace works?

    “You do not have to do anything…” (Steve)

    Sure you do – life is about the doing. Life exists so that you can ‘do’ stuff – from shopping, to sex, to studying. Now since we are all ‘doers’ – the good news is not that we have to ‘do nothing’ and become apathetic slobs for God. The good news is that we have access to God – and our doing can go in that direction.

    I am not into the pleasing God thing – or maybe it’s just not a fetish of my theology/life. I like to please my wife also – because I ‘love her’. Nothing wrong with pleasing/living for a God that says ‘I love U’.

    Steve, sounds to me you have God in a box? I could be wrong – but God will work according to your formula correct?

  5. Jason,

    You could do all those things you mentioned and be forgiven by God, sure.

    By why would you want to do those things, knowing all that God has done for you to forgive you and give you new life both here and for eternity?

    We all do “lesser” sins all the time, anyway (which are not really lesser sins).

    Who amongst us lives on a thin margin of income and gives the rest to the poor? Who among us spends his free time visiting prisoners in the jails… or goes to the convalescent hospitals to visit the sick, the lonely, the elderly, on a regular basis?

    Who invites the homeless over to dinner?

    Not doing these things are sins as well. And every bit as damning as selling drugs or hacing an affair.

    We are forgiven by God because of Jesus. That does not put God in a box, but rather liberates Him to forgive sinners, when and where He wills.

  6. “He is responsible for it all. We can’t fail, because nothing depends on us (and it drives us crazy).” (Alden)

    Nothing required – then why follow God at all? From the sacrifice to any faith we have – nothing is of our doing – I see no reason to not believe the whole planet is saved and going on as God wanted…regardless of faith, creed, country, or political system. None of it matters right – God did it.

    I am going to raise this point – contentious as it is – because I just think some of this is ludicrous.

    Are some of you people scared to think outside the doctrinal box you have God in? Or is it you can’t? God is Lutheran or a Calvinist and that’s the point He starts His bargaining from? God of the 1600’s – great.

    There is no way some of you people actually believe some of the theological things you say on here. Transfer the ‘godly’ ideas into real life (for some odd reason the disconnect between the thoughts of theology and actual life exists) – and society and family around you would fail horribly (and for many – this is the exact case).

    Atheists have problems with us because our theologies suck – they reflect things – that if lived – are detrimental to society. I only need to go on about the use of grace here in a few comments to see it is a system – if used – would ruin society, not help it. Why? Accountability for one.

    I think thoughts of theology and a living theology are 2 different things – and I am not sure this is a Christian ideal…Christians exist in an imaginery world where u can seperate your actions from your thoughts – and this is normal. Where vicarious righteousness makes you a better person – nothing that you can do about that – someone does that on your behalf. Where a death 2000 years ago – means we can get literally get away with torture and murder because ‘Jesus took that for us!’.

    Cynical I am. Suspicious I am. Blame me do you?

  7. “By why would you want to do those things, knowing all that God has done for you to forgive you and give you new life both here and for eternity?” (Steve)

    Really? Money, Power, and Sex…why…really?

    As for all the Jesus has done – is it not true there is nothing I can do to add or take away from that? So what does it actually matter what I do with my life – to God and to others in all honesty? God saw fit to make to provide a theological loophole (did everything for me and there you have it) – for me to not use it would be crazy.

    “We all do “lesser” sins all the time, anyway (which are not really lesser sins).” (Steve)

    Don’t even tell me you are going to compare the sin of jaywalking with murder in the 1st…another line of reasoning – that in real life – seems ludicrous.

    The undervaluing of the human role will reduce that human to actions unhuman.

  8. Hey, Steve

    You said, “One more time, for any that will hear it. Your sins ARE FORGIVEN FOR JESUS’ SAKE. We are not to sin…but if we do, we have an Advocate. His name is Christ Jesus. ”

    I couldn’t agree more.

    And you said this, “There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to clean up one’s life. Indeed we should strive to do so, for our sake and for the sakes of those around us. BUT…that has nothing to do with the gospel.”

    I agree there as well.

    Yet when I suggest that we should grow in holiness, I’m accused of being a heretic, despite the fact that this is the expectation in the NT. Growing in christlikeness has nothing to do with getting saved, being saved or keeping myself saved. Rather, it is the natural outflow of being made alive in Christ. Good works flow naturally from a heart that has been made new. Good fruit comes naturally from a tree that has been made good by the work of Jesus on the cross.

    Yet every time I say this, I’m accused of resorting to the “theology of glory”. It is clear that the Lutheran view of sanctification is hopelessly different from mine, and I am at a loss as to how it is justified from Scripture.

    Because of all this, I have seriously questioned whether it is profitable for me to engage your posts. As much as I respect you and enjoy the dialogue, I’m just wondering if there’s any point. I feel that Lutheran theology blinds you to what the Bible actualy says. Admittedly, Evangelical theology can do the same thing to me, which is why I engage people like you and Jason. I want to see the Bible with my preconcieved lenses off and let it speak for itself.

    With all that said, I really do enjoy your blog, as much as we disagree at some critical points. I just can’t promise that I will keep on making the same arguments over and over if they aren’t even being considered.

    Jason, you said,

    “So I am forgiven for ‘all time’ – what ’s stopping me from hustling drugs to make a lot of extra money to pad the bank account?”

    The person who is justified is indeed forgiven. All his sins have been transferred to the “account” of Jesus. The word “justified” means acquitted, or declared righteous (in right standing with God). The Bible is clear on this if it is clear on anything. But such a person has also experienced the New Birth – he is a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). The new birth is real and fundamentally changes a person’s heart. “The tree is made good”, so to speak.

    What’s stopping me from hustling drugs is the conviction of the indwelling Holy Spirit, the new nature, the love of Jesus that has been given. Now, I may be tempted and still mess up. In fact, in some way I inevitably will mess up. But my desires have shifted – I want to follow Jesus now, and it’s difficult to do so while hustling.

  9. Jason,

    If you desire those things that you mentioned, then fine…go for them. When you cross the line in your quest for them and you commit sin in doing so…you are forgiven (that is the gospel).

    If you want to reject the gospel that is your business, and God’s…not mine.

    God does not judge sin on a sliding scale. The breaking of any of God’s laws garners a penalty of eternal death. (“The wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23)

    We judge sin on a sliding scale, as well we should, but God’s ways are not our ways.

  10. societyvs, I can think of a couple of different ways to respond to your questions about “why do good if we’re saved anyway?”

    One, because sin equals bondage, and “it is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” We are not “free” to “sin” as the 2 concepts are opposed. Sin, though it may look like freedom, sucks us into bondage, and it’s not good for us.

    Second, and this applies to Steve Laughlin’s comment as well, both Paul and Martin Luther are in favor of living like we’re Christians. The benefits of morality are so obvious that even most atheists consider themselves moral. However, these have nothing to do with either justification or sanctification; we are in relationship with God because of him, not because of us. That being said, then yes… God likes it when we do good things, and he’s even prepared our good works for us in advance.

    Doing good works doesn’t make us more holy; our holiness – the concept of deification – is something that God is doing. As we become more in God’s image, we will be more able to do good works. Therefore, faith without evidence of any good works, shows that we are not plugged in to the source, as it were.

    So, yes, we should be trying to do good. But, not to get closer to God. We should do good, because it’s a good thing to do….

    Why is it that we think we should get a spiritual reward for doing good?

  11. “One more time, for any that will hear it. Your sins ARE FORGIVEN FOR JESUS’ SAKE. We are not to sin…but if we do, we have an Advocate. His name is Christ Jesus.”

    All “christians” will sin but NOT as a lifestyle. If there is no work of sanctification in a person’s life…..their profession of faith means nothing. “Not every one who calls Me Lord will enter My kingdom……but he who does the will of My Father”.

  12. Steve L.,

    Thanks for stopping in and sharing your comments with us, Steve.

    I’m glad that we agree in so many areas of the Christian faith.

    It does not bother me that we do not agree on everything. Of course, I’d like it if we saw eye to eye on these matters of sanctification. But, here, I believe clarity of our views is more important than ageement.

    I believe that the Holy Spirit works in us to sanctify us, and that this WORK He does in us is His alone and that He does not need our help.

    And you believe that the Holy Spirit needs our cooperation to make these changes in us.

    I believe that many. if not most of the changes that the Spirit makes in us are undetectable to the human eye, and you believe (I think) that these changes ought be made manifest in visable, measurable “fruits”.

    OK we disagree. So what? I’m not afraid that my faith is at stake because I listen to your arguments.

    I have a bit more confidence in what the Lord has done for me than to worry about it all going away from hearing from you that I might not be “doing enough” for the kingdom. 😀

    So, from this side Steve…there is no problem with discussing our differences.

    Thanks, my friend!

  13. You’re welcome 🙂

  14. “What’s stopping me from hustling drugs is the conviction of the indwelling Holy Spirit, the new nature, the love of Jesus that has been given. Now, I may be tempted and still mess up. In fact, in some way I inevitably will mess up. But my desires have shifted – I want to follow Jesus now, and it’s difficult to do so while hustling.”

    YES!

    Ta Da…The Holy Spirit lives within us…He helps us cut through the smoke screen thrown up by the enemy…He encourages us with all truth…He points the way through the narrow gate! He makes sure we run the race and WIN! And, when we’re just unable to run…He carries us! This action of our Paraclete is not by any formula…It is by the the very Word of God! Now we’re all free to operate outside the box of sin! If we want to be…*: )

  15. Hello Steve,

    Your sins ARE FORGIVEN FOR JESUS’ SAKE. We are not to sin…but if we do, we have an Advocate. His name is Christ Jesus.

    His love and forgiveness for sinners is so great that He can handle all of your sin, all of my sin, and the sins of the whole world. The Bible tells us that and I believe it.

    Do you believe it?

    Can I get an “Amen?”

    Great post. Summed up nicely. Catchy title, too! 🙂

  16. A fascinating post, which certainly opens debate on some key issues.
    Here’s a few thoughts in response to a couple of the statements so far:

    Jason wrote:
    “So, nothing is required of me – forgiveness exists for me now, prior, and later?”

    Romans 9:16 pretty much answers that one – what matters is never dependent upon human choice or action, but upon God having mercy upon us. In the only analysis that matters (His), that is all that matters, and the only response worth anything to that is the one Paul gives to such a gift in Romans 11:33-36.

    “Are some of you people scared to think outside the doctrinal box you have God in? Or is it you can’t? God is Lutheran or a Calvinist and that’s the point He starts His bargaining from? God of the 1600’s – great”

    I’m sure it can look that way, but from my own experience, I can say that I tried many other ‘boxes’ of my own volition, including atheism, before beginning to really understand why certain truths were key. I would also have to say that from a very early age, God had (with hindsight) been ‘whispering’ to me (sometimes almost as loudly as He did with Jacob) about these things for a very long time – that’s what Luther and co would define as our contribution to the equation…stubbornness, ignorance and sheer pigheadedness – I certainly seem to have all of those ‘qualities’ in spades!

    The truth is that we all live in our ‘boxes’ naturally – it’s easy for the flesh to take pride in any badge or doctrine it can hide behind – it’s just a heck of a lot harder to do that when the ‘doctrine’ your exposing yourself to always starts off with a scrutiny of our true nature which tares away the fig leaves and exposes the chains of human depravity – that certainly helps you to seek a better remedy!

    Steve L wrote:
    “I may be tempted and still mess up. In fact, in some way I inevitably will mess up. But my desires have shifted”

    I think that resides at the heart of what Paul is driving at in Romans 7 & 8 – the inner conflict we all know, but the OBJECTIVE answer, which will finally lead us to the wonder of redemption he can see is approaching (in Romans 8 ) is the fact that we have BEEN crucified with Christ, so we can therefore count ourselves as dead to sin – it’s reign has ended, but the final moment of victory is yet to come.
    C S Lewis used a cracking analogy for this –
    he equated the ‘Romans 6’ reality to the d-day landings – at that moment (Christ’s death at the cross), the war was won, the victory was assured, but the final moment of the enemy’s surrender and the allies celebration wouldn’t come until after much more fighting. The same is true for us (hence Paul’s exhortations to live well in Romans 12-16).

    Aiden wrote:
    “Sin, though it may look like freedom, sucks us into bondage, and it’s not good for us”

    Spot on. The challenge for the Christian is to take up all of life and live it well – to seek to make all of it replete with the ‘savor’ of His rich care and rightness – that’s the freedom of God’s children.

  17. The guy with the shades on in my last post was supposed to be a reference to Romans chapter eight – don’t know why it came out this way.

  18. Philippians 44:7 And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

  19. Howard, those little Emoteators are always stirirng things up and jumping in whether we want them there or not…*: (

  20. Steve,

    Most “protestant” Christians today have a Roman theology they’ve just inserted it into the OSAS paradigm. In the day of Rome’s apostasy it was believed and assumed that . Today its just been moved to the OSAS paradigm and “post conversion” so called “sanctification” (getting better, trying harder, ad nausem).

    It takes some thinking and working out to see the similarity:

    So Rome thought . This has been erroneously understood by not too few to mean “Rome believes you get saved by works or justification. This is entirely wrong. You have to break down the paradigms to see how many protestants are nothing but practicing Roman Catholics. One has to keep in mind THAT THIS was sanctification in the Roman paradigm and not initial conversion or justification (a HUGE misunderstanding by many protestants outside of Luther). That cannot be emphasized enough. Because if they just read , they think, “Of course Rome believes in salvation by works and not faith alone and we don’t”. Not true at all. The is WITHIN the Roman “sanctification” not “justification” and that’s where the protestants are the same it’s just moved or been redefined over time.

    Thus, today, 500 years + with the paradigm of OSAS/can’t fall away Rome’s old which did not have the OSAS/can’t fall away mindset but a more “saved in hope, not reality” – has merely been moved there. And it reads , the false protestant sanctification of “getting better” and “trying harder”. This is exactly what Rome said the only difference is the paradigm of OSAS Vs. the saved in hope/not reality paradigm. Functionally and principally both “sanctifications” are the exact same thing, in short some kind of ‘getting better’ and ‘trying’. Rather than “getting USE TO your justification”, which is the alien Word. Both Rome’s and the Protestant version of it is basically the old man refusing the REAL crux of the OFFENSE of the Cross and holding out under guise of these paradigms for themselves something to do. They really DON’T want to die in baptism and be raised to new life (which is getting USE TO your justification). Rome never believed like Islam one is justified by works but put the works over into “sanctification” (a false sanctification) and so have many protestants. The main difference in Rome and the Protestants is the over riding paradigms of OSAS/can’t fall away vs. saved in hope and can fall away. Both LEAVE their baptism which is to say leave the tension of now/not yet faith, both want to get down off of that painful killing Cross and get back to the old Adam’s business of improving (which is nothing but self adoration, self exaltation and self glorification – we are like Hollywood movie stars and politicians popping up where the camera’s are to be seen in this false sanctification, “here I am everybody, here I am Lord, look how better I’m doing, how better I’m getting, me, me, me do you see me…yooohooo, over here ME look at and adore ME!).

    That’s very different than a cruciform sanctification which is “getting use to your justification”, for that cruciform sanctification is simultaneously deadly and rebirthing. The cruciform sanctification has “no growth or progress” as the false sanctification defines it. The cruciform sanctification’s growth or progress is in THAT, the “getting use to your unconditional justification”. And that is never easy, in fact we cannot do it, we must have it done to us through the Word and Sacraments. And we don’t like that cruciform sanctification (getting use to your unconditional justification) because it adores, exalts and glorifies Christ Jesus just as much as did justification.

    Larry

  21. So very true, Nancy –
    used to call them ‘Gremlins’ in my day 🙂

  22. Off Topic… Howard, are you the photographer Howard Nolan?

  23. Aiden – apart from the spelling of my surname – guilty as charged!

  24. Howard, oops, sorry about that. (in that regard, it’s “Alden” not “Aiden” … a common mistake).

    I first saw your work on “The Naked Pastor” blog. I’m a fan…

  25. Alden – a humble apology (took it as an ‘i’)
    Thank you re; my work.
    It’s a joy to share.

  26. Howard is an awesome photographer.

    You are no slouch, either, Alden. I’ve seen some of your shots.

    Just terrific!

  27. Nancy,

    You highlighted the Holy Spirit, Nancy.

    “This action of our Paraclete is not by any formula…It is by the very Word of God.”

    Nice one, Nancy!!

  28. Joe,

    AMEN!

    Thank you, Joe!

  29. “You are no slouch, either, Alden. I’ve seen some of your shots”

    I’ve just looked quickly at your flickr page – excellent.
    “Watching, Waiting” is serene.

  30. Larry,

    You either misunderstand or misrepresent Evangelical theology. It sounds catchy when you put it that way – that we’re essentially Roman Catholic (or Mormon or whatever), but it could not be farther from the truth.

    I know your mind is made up, so I’m not going to try to change it today. But for the sake of those reading this, I at least have to call you on your statements.

    When you characterize a pursuit of spiritual growth as “trying harder”, you create a straw man that is very easy to burn down. Trying harder to do what? To be justified? To make God love us more? Those are the questions your phraseology seems to be trying to imply.

    But reading the New Testament without your Lutheran glasses on reveals that we indeed have a cooperative role in spiritual growth. Every time I read your long responses, I simply go back and read my Bible and see things much clearer.

    If clarity is the goal here, it would be helpful if you would accurately represent your ideological opponents.

    I’m not trying to be mean, but I am trying to be pointed.

  31. Alden,

    “So, yes, we should be trying to do good. But, not to get closer to God. We should do good, because it’s a good thing to do….

    Why is it that we think we should get a spiritual reward for doing good?”

    That’s it in a nutshell, Alden.

    God has taken care of the reconciliation, now we are freed up to do good…for others…our neighbors.

    Didn’t Jesus say that the slave doesn’t get any praise for doing what he was supposed to do anyway? (or something like that)

  32. Howard,

    “The truth is that we all live in our ‘boxes’ naturally – it’s easy for the flesh to take pride in any badge or doctrine it can hide behind – it’s just a heck of a lot harder to do that when the ‘doctrine’ your exposing yourself to always starts off with a scrutiny of our true nature which tares away the fig leaves and exposes the chains of human depravity – that certainly helps you to seek a better remedy!”

    Very well put, Howard.

    I couldn’t agree more. Thanks, Howard!

  33. Larry,

    “The cruciform sanctification’s growth or progress is in THAT, the “getting used to your unconditional justification”. And that is never easy, in fact we cannot do it, we must have it done to us through the Word and Sacraments. And we don’t like that cruciform sanctification (getting use to your unconditional justification) because it adores, exalts and glorifies Christ Jesus just as much as did justification.”

    We don’t like it. So God takes it out of our hands. We would surely mess it up and turn it into “religion”.

    So He kills us and raises us again…extra nos…in His Word and sacraments (as you have rightly said).

    Nice job, Larry!

  34. Steve L.,

    I hope you don’t mind me butting in here between you and Larry (for a moment).

    I would never say that a Protestant is a Roman Catholic, but I would try to point put areas where the theology of many Protestants is very similar to Roman Catholicism.

    That some folks have a bit of trouble seeing the different uses of the Law vs. the Gospel is where the problems are.

    Roman Catholics have a Christ plus (the pope, and works) theology.

    Many Protestants have a similar Christ plus theology (fruits, or sanctification).

    Both groups can justify these fruits, or necessary works towards sanctification using the Bible.

    This (we Lutherans believe) is a failure to understand the roles of law and gospel and to properly identify and then distinguish the two.

    This is where the confusion is in the lives of many Christians who believe that the cross did 99.9% of everything, but now I have to kick in the last .1% to finish the deal.

    The identification of the uses of the law and the gospel is (we believe) one of the great strengths of Lutheran theology.

    Thanks, Steve!

  35. Steve L Wrote (regarding Larry’s posting):
    “You either misunderstand or misrepresent Evangelical theology”.

    I think that many of Larry’s concerns are valid. As something of an evangelical ‘refugee’, I’ve certainly come across the type of troubles touched upon, for example, in the book ‘The Coming Evangelical Crisis’ in my travels here in the UK, but I’ve also come across the ‘odd’ folk (hopefully I’m one of these) who are genuinely looking for something richer and deeper – and it’s great we can have a place like this to meet and mull on these matters together.

    It all comes back to the fact that the indicatives are settled – entirely by grace, we are taken from being slaves to being sons, granted an inheritance that is truly amazing, and placed into a liberty the scope of which we have yet to truly comprehend. The problem lies with the imperatives – the living now in the light of what He has made us – what Larry terms rightly the ‘getting use to’ our justification.
    Son-ship is extraordinary, and making that real in ‘our own skin’ is the battle – especially when we take account of the tussle inside between the old and the new, which is paralleled by the tension of the now and the not yet. The good news is that the remedy to all the trouble lies in His work. The old will pass. The new is here. The comfort resides in that reality.

    There are some pretty menacing depths out there, and the snares of legalism and the like are always seeking to trap us, but He who is faithful, who has gone before us, is well able to carry us home.

  36. theoldadam, With all these postings on sin, I am beginning to wonder, do you need help with something? The Holy Spirit brings Sanctification, but do not grieve the Holy Spirit.

  37. Thanks Howard and Steve!

    What Steve L. may be unaware of is that I don’t just look at it through Lutheran glasses. I was reared and steeped in evangelicalism, involved deeply in it from baptist through reformed. I actually don’t look at it through “Lutheran” glasses but the glasses I had, I know its language, its “feel”, its insinuation.

    It’s hard to communicate the paradigms because they use “biblical” phrases, but it is like Luther said many will speak of good works and faith and not understand either.

    Steve your web site is aptly named “the oldadam lives”, because that’s the problem. Whether we call it the “old adam” or “theology of glory”, it/he/she cannot but read the scriptures and understand them/see them but upside down. To it/him/her it is saying things a certain way that the new man or theology of Cross reads, hears, sees and understands right side up. It’s like Jesus said, “hearing they do not hear…” It’s not a mystical thing but the reality of the fallen Adam hearing one way and the new man another, often the same Scripture. The old Adam reads the Scriptures as a “doer” or as Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures and think that by them you have life…”. And so when the old Adam hears that sanctification is “getting use to your unconditional justification (the Gospel)” and that “nothing, NOTHING is left to do”, he/she hears that nothing is done afterward and does not see that this passive naked nude untrying faith does nothing but good works, exudes them, cannot be prevented in them, all that it does is good works. But its not the way the old Adam hears it, “you gotta try and do”, the old Adam does not remember the Sabbath. The battle for sanctification is the battle for “getting use to your unconditional justification” whereby all is done. The old Adam simply doesn’t believe that when he tries he’s deifying himself and drawing all glory to himself. His “tip of the hat” to the Holy Spirit is nothing but a hypocrisy.

    You see it in the speech and works more than a doctrinal “spelling out” (James’s point). At length the old Adam under false sanctification (trying) will reveal his religion, a religion of “me”. Because that’s all he/she at length is talking about in their “trying”, even one’s confessing can become a moment of self adoration and self exaltation. It’s like the Pharisees of old in which they “like to be seen”. So the speech and works are all about “me” and the sanctification talk and speech is “all about me/man”. That’s very different than a sanctification which speaks of Christ constantly and what he did. These are not straw men at all, if one is around it enough in a certain church or blog sphere you will not the meta narrative of the speech occurring – is it STILL about Christ, not a tip of the hat to Him and now you are trying, or did it “get past Him” in the sanctification speech and back to a religion of “about me”.

    The most sanctified Christians I’ve known never talk about themselves or how they are doing or not doing, but talk of Christ constantly and what he has done. Like I said these are not strawmen at all. While doctrinally they would say, “Christ alone justifies”, if asked the test question they’d get it right for certain. But then hang around later and listen to the pious sanctification talk going on and as James said their religion (faith) is revealed. And it should be pointed out that here it is not meant individuals but the communal confession one is in. One speaks what one is “in”. So if the doctrine of sanctification is STILL really Christ centered it will sound and look like it, but if its really not Christ centered as it confesses to be, then it will sound and look different at length.

    Take a simple verse like in James, “Be doers of the Word and not just hearers”. The old Adam will hear that – and by old Adam we even mean an old Adam that confesses justification by Christ alone, because like a child in trouble he/she has learned and adapted themselves to those things he/she thinks the parent wants to hear in order to stay “un-caught” – the old Adam will hear that saying, “I confess justification by faith alone, but this means I need to try in order to do and not thus be just a hearer of the Word”. And so it perceives faith in an active way that it is not. But the new Adam hears that differently, because he/she is hilariously fixed on the joy before him/her, Christ has done it all and there’s nothing left to be done. It is an utterly resting passive faith. This living faith which does nothing, paradoxically does all and the false faith which tries to do all, all that it does, paradoxically, is doing nothing.

    The new Adam understands this as not Law nor demand, but a restoration of the relationships. For to be a doer of the Word is not to hear an imperative “do X” and do it. But to spontaneously do it without the imperative being “law”. The only way to be a “doer of the Word” is through the spontaneous heart, not in order to be justified, proved justified, or sanctified or improved. And that only in part comes about through the living faith that is passive and fixed on Christ alone. To be “doers of the Word” is first and foremost to go back to Christ alone, “get use to your unconditional justification”, whereby the release comes and in true humility (not the fake kind) in the vocation do the calling called to in utter freedom. In this way living faith truly loves the Law and false faith that tries to do, really hates the Law though it claims to love and do it. To be a “doer of the Word and not just a hearer” one must be thoroughly foolish in Christ which requires the return to the hearing of the Gospel in Word and Sacrament – for it is here that the Word is active and IT is DOING something, creating ex nihilo. A “just hearer of the Word” is indeed like a man looking in the mirror and goes away forgetting – a man who hears the Gospel in Word and Sacrament, just looking in the mirror, turns away and forgets it as if nothing. This man looking into the mirror and walking away forgetting is precisely the man who is “NOT getting use to his unconditional justification”, just walks away later and back to the world’s way, the old man’s sanctification of “trying harder to do and be holy”. To the fool in Christ God’s Word increasingly becomes an encouragement to them, even books like Job. But it comes when being a fool in Christ that God indeed becomes a Father to them and not a demanding one. The spontaneous heart is created ex nihilo out of the Gospel. And we experience it only partially, often we don’t even experience it though it is happening. Truly blessed is the man or woman who sees no good works by their hands, for they confess whether they know it or not that He is just in what He says, that is God’s words are right words. Scripture exegetes us not vice versa.

    Blessings,

    Larry

  38. “The most sanctified Christians I’ve known …”

    Now, Larry…just how sanctified is that…*; )

    I’m repenting right after I click submit…

  39. “……but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:27).

    “Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:12).

    Sound grim? No, it’s realistic. ‘I press on.’ That is the key to sanctification. The goal is perfection. You’ll never make it in this life. But with the help of the Holy Spirit, we press on towards the goal. We aim at the end-conformity to Christ. A pessimism about the old adam produces a strong emphasis on dependence upon the Holy Spirit.

  40. Will,

    The posting wasn’t so much on “sin”, but rather it was meant to try and help those who are intent on self-improving their sinfulness (sinning less).

    The idea being that the focus on one’s performance in the arena of ‘sinning’ is to make one less free.

    It is to keep the yoke of slavery that Jesus desires to take away from us, so that we will be free.

    I see and hear so many Christians that are confused about the issue.

    Thanks, Will.

  41. Ike,

    “A pessimism about the old adam produces a strong emphasis on dependence upon the Holy Spirit.”

    I like that one, Ike!

    I like to think that I fit into that category.

  42. Larry,

    “The old Adam simply doesn’t believe that when he tries he’s deifying himself and drawing all glory to himself. His “tip of the hat” to the Holy Spirit is nothing but a hypocrisy.”

    We must kill…NO…HE MUST KILL off the old Adam…because he causes nothing but trouble in the life of faith.

    Idolatry is our problem. Amd most of us do not realize it.

  43. Mr. Steve!

    Absolutely a fantastic post. I love you for this. I really do believe that you are absolutely correct.

    Our sinful nature will never be “gone” it will always be there, we are merely human. But we can, and are, forgiven. I like that. A lot.

    I still struggle tremendously with my own faith, but I trust the Lord that all will turn out in the end.

  44. Hope,

    Thank you, Hope. I’m glad you got something out of this one.

    To struggle with one’s faith means that it is alive. It is a battle… and the battle or struggle never really ends until we are let into the grave.

    But our Lord never forgets His people.

    You are one of those people. You belong to Him and He won’t let you down!

  45. “A pessimism about the old adam produces a strong emphasis on dependence upon the Holy Spirit.”

    That’s a GREAT one Ike. I’m going to put that one in my “keeper box” of Gospel musings if you don’t mind. I like gather up these good Gospel statements. It helps you when your down in the dumps over your faith.

    Larry

  46. I love the way I’ve heard it before concerning the theologian of glory versus the theologian of the cross:

    Pastor Tom Baker once put it this way, “Humility is not doing a lot of good works without showing off. Humility is the understanding that I can do no good work”

    And

    Pastor Todd Wilkins, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, humility is not thinking anything of yourself at all.”

    L

  47. I am back – more ammo for the arsenal (lol) – plus I just wanna give us something to do!

    “The person who is justified is indeed forgiven. All his sins have been transferred to the “account” of Jesus” (Steve Laughlin)

    The account – what does Jesus have a bank account with God that is paid in blood? Now we become Christ-ians and we gain access to that bank account – just not the pin number?

    “The new birth is real and fundamentally changes a person’s heart. “The tree is made good”, so to speak.” (Steve Laughlin)

    I don’t disagree the new birth is a real experience(s) – but to think the tree is made over-night is not quite accurate – some tree’s take as long as 30 years to mature. Birth is a beginning – what does Paul say – yes – ‘renewal of the mind’ – I think this Christ-ian thing (change) is continual in it’s process.

    “What’s stopping me from hustling drugs is the conviction of the indwelling Holy Spirit…” (Steve Laughlin)

    The cop out for bad theology. What is the Holy Spirit?

    Christianity hits a stump in it’s theological construct it always appeals to the unknown – in this case – the Holy Spirit. What does it answer? Nothing – just lets the theology off the hook – so in a sense – the HS is sacrificed for the case of ambiguity.

    If I seem harsh and cynical – sorry Steve L – don’t mean to be a p*ssant

  48. “God does not judge sin on a sliding scale. The breaking of any of God’s laws garners a penalty of eternal death” (Steve)

    What does the penalty really matter now – all is paid for – even future sins! Perspective is really everything in this convo. What’s the reason for holiness or change if both are equal (sin and righteousness)? I am acquited on the basis of someone else’s actions – some 2000 years ago – and that makes my compliment (whether good or bad) into the faith is meaningless (nothing I do changes a thing – correct?). All things being equal…

    “So, yes, we should be trying to do good. But, not to get closer to God. We should do good, because it’s a good thing to do….” (Alden)

    I agree. But what if evil also reveals an aspect we can learn from? Like the old motto goes ‘we learn from our mistakes’. Do you believe God has planned this also (mistakes) into the plan for peoples lives?

    “If there is no work of sanctification in a person’s life…..their profession of faith means nothing” (Ike)
    I agree…if I start hustling write off my Christian ticket as it were. Why? All we can go by is someone’s actions anyways – to define them.

    Playing villian…maybe? But it’s a role someone has to flesh out (lol)

  49. […] April 3, 2009 at 6:50 pm (Uncategorized) “God does not judge sin on a sliding scale. The breaking of any of God’s laws garners a penalty of eternal death” (Steve) (from Old Adam’s blog ‘Christian Schizophrenia’) […]

  50. I’m baaaack!

    Internet was down for a day, and I wasn’t up for debating anyway.. 🙂

    Enjoying the bickering…

    Larry, I believe Ike was agreeing with me. It makes me feel warm inside that you want to use his quote, and that we all like the quote. I wonder what that says about our debate…

    Jason, we’re a million miles apart in many ways but you keep coming back for more. I appreciate that about you. May the Holy Spirit Himself teach you, my friend. I need to get back on your site at some point and jump in.

    Steve M, a pleasure as always – you can really get a conversation started!

    Peace

  51. societyvs wrote: “What’s the reason for holiness or change if both are equal (sin and righteousness)?”

    The question to answer is what is holiness, and the heart of that is not so much about what we do but what we are (a good or bad ‘tree’, to borrow from an earlier analogy).
    Sin essentially amounts to a falling short – way short – of something in particular – what Paul defines as the ‘glory of God’.
    We get a real bearing on this ‘glory’ in Jesus prayer in Gethsemane when He truly clarifies what has sustained Him – His relationship with the Father and the Spirit – it is that which resides at the heart of all things, the ‘weight’ (depth) of this relationship, which is inherently responsible for Creation and Redemption.

    God created us to be beings that truly ‘know’ Him and one another – recall the moment in the creation narrative where we are informed that the one thing ‘not good’ in Eden was our being alone. Taking the entire teleological view of scripture as a whole, it is clearly the aim and intent of the Godhead that creation should really come to know and reflect a measure of the depth of the ‘glory’ shared between Father, Son and Holy Spirit – that, in essence, is true holiness, when that significance ‘covers’ (inhabits) creation – anything less than that falls short.

    In this world, we at best gain glimpses of true holiness, and that can be pretty overwhelming (the transfiguration springs to mind), but the day approaches when, as God’s children rise into their full inheritance, all of created will become entirely defined by this manner of adoption.

    Sin currently taints and stains life, disgracing and disfiguring what was made (and has now been redeemed) to be good and holy, but that regime will end, and the Kingdom where all is truly significant, because it stems from love for God and neighbor, will come.

  52. Steve L.,

    It’s a good quote. What does that say about our debate?

    I think it says what has always been understood that the Gospel is not entirely lost under certain heterodoxies and that’s a good thing. And Christian brothers are Christian brothers even with all the disturbances and confusions the devil has laid amongst us all.

    And that when it comes to us (Christians) versus them (truly outside the faith, secular society, Islam, etc…), that you and I, Steve, Ike, Josh, Howard, Nancy, and all other brothers and sisters in Christ will indeed be there for each other and if need be as God’s will dictates be persecuted together, suffer the pains of a Christ denying world, and if it ever comes to suffer pain of death for the faith together.

    L

  53. Soc.

    It’s important to see that sin is not just the multitude and magnitude of sin, but that even doing good “I sin”. Sin ultimate definition is the inward curving of the creature upon himself.

    See God is in fact love of the purest kind. And that love is a love that exudes outward and never inward to the self. You will note well that all pagan gods ultimately seek to be served. Not God. The heart of the Law in all its form is “love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and your neighbor as yourself”. That’s means spontaneously altruistically without any self motivation whatsoever, not even the pursuit of self holiness/sanctification. Ultimately the Christian should say with Paul “I would be cut off from Christ for them”.

    We cannot in our fallen state or reason “see” God. We can glean some things about Him from observing nature, natural revelation. Like seeing some foot prints in the sand, they are human foot prints, with or with out shoes, etc… But we cannot follow them to the maker of the foot prints and say, “Hey since I know you so well having observed your footprints, lets have dinner together”.

    We need God to reveal Himself to us. This is Christ, “if you have seen Me, you have seen the Father”. And the Father is love as we see Jesus is, dies for us, great sinners. Idolatry, including secular humanism, is nothing less than us looking at the natural revelation of God in the cosmos of time and space and then taking some of those observed traits and honing or rehoning a new god or that which is effectively our god from our inward bent reasoning and minds; be it Islam, Evolution, Mormonism, false Christianity or Zeus. God must come all the way down to us, incarnate, on the Ground, in Word and in Sacrament so that we say, “AHHHH, so this is what God is like”.

    You should enjoy this that gets to the point in an interview with Dr. Nagel:

    If God is God as people think about him, then he’s going to be everywhere all the time. That’s how people normally think. But is the omnipresence of God necessarily good news for us?

    Dr. Norman Nagel: Well the fact that God is every where leaves us in the position of having to hunt him down and find him. And if you are looking for something, you really wouldn’t know that you’ve found it unless you knew what you were looking for. That’s the problem with ‘hunting for God’. It’s not as if we know what God is like and then when we find him (and) we (then) say, “Ahhh, here he is”, that would be fulfilling what we expect God to be like. The distance between us and God is not something we cover, we don’t find God. The question is, “Is he interested in finding us?” And if he finds us then we are simply at the receiving end of the sort of God that he is. Other wise we are left with making up a god for ourselves and saying, “Well, could I find a god like that somewhere?” And a god that we make up for ourselves would be the sort of god that would best suite our need. But that would only be a god as big as we expected him to be or wanted him to be, or worst of all manage to control him. And if he didn’t fit our definition of god we then would say, “Oh, I’ll have nothing more to do with him, we will hunt for another god (to meet the definition we need).” And that’s the way with idols. With idols you have to change them one after another as they fail you. The only one that is there for you is the one who finds you and comes to where you are at and we’ve just been to Bethlehem, in a manger (celebrating Christmas)…no one would have EVER expected that’s where he would be for us to be our Saviour. And at New Years it’s the name of Jesus and His circumcision where He comes to be our Saviour, when first His blood is shed (circumcision) when He is on His way to Calvary (the circumcision/baptism of the Cross). Would anybody expect that the man hanging on the Cross (to be), “that is what God is like”? We don’t look at Jesus and say, “Look he qualifies”, we see Jesus, hang around with Him in the Gospels, and then we exclaim surprised, “So THAT is what God is like”, the one who loved us cared for us so much that he would come to be one of us. Born in Bethlehem carrying our sins to the Cross and answering for them, to bear our sins and be our Saviour – as it says in the liturgy.

    Rev. Todd Wilkins: So in a nutshell we don’t come up with a definition of God a then go looking (for him), we let God define who HE is and He is the one who finds us in His Son Jesus Christ. Well then, someone says, “how do I find Jesus? Where is He?”

    Dr. Norman Nagel: Well he is where He put Himself for us that’s the Good News we’ve just been rejoicing over so much at Christmas time and at New Years we rejoice that He was given His name the name of Jesus. For Jesus you recall the message to Joseph was, “You will call his name Jesus for he will save his people from their sins.” That’s the Jesus we are looking for the one who saves us from our sins. If (you think to yourself) you don’t have any sins you don’t need any saviour of course and if you have no sins, then you have no need for him and you then can answer for your own sins and then you will try to find some other sort of a god. I was just reading in the wise heathen philosopher Cicero, many people who learn Latin read a bit of Cicero, and he said, “You know that god is being most like god when he is giving you orders and prohibitions.” And so when you’ve got a god like that you’ve got a god whose really doing it the way you would expect god to be. Then I was reading 1 Kings 8, you remember when Solomon dedicated the Temple and this was his prayer. He recognized that God is not some kind of God that we can box in and say get control of, “Will God indeed dwell on earth? Behold heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain Thee. How much less this house that I have built. Yet have regard to the prayer of Thy servant and his supplication O’ Lord my God, harkening to the cry and to the prayer that Thy servant prays before Thee this day. May Thy eyes ever be both night and day toward this house, the PLACE, for which Thou has said, ‘MY NAME SHALL BE THERE’, that Thou mayest harken to the prayer that Thy servant prays toward this place and harken Thou to this supplication of Thy servant and Thy people Israel when they pray toward this place YEA hear Thou in heaven in Thy dwelling place and when Thou hearest FORGIVE.”

    The best thing that God can do for you, the one that makes ALL the difference is a God who FORGIVES. Not the god who you know he is being god when he’s bossing you about and giving you commands and prohibitions, BUT the One Who forgives your sins. And that’s the One Whose name is Jesus. And when Solomon prayed the prayer of the Temple he acknowledged that the Temple was the place where the Lord (not Solomon or man) put His NAME. Where the LORD PUTS His name, THERE is where the Lord is for you. And you remember in the NT we are told that we are Temples of God. How come you are a Temple of God? Well, HE put his name on you with the water of Baptism His name went on you (God did so via the hands of the pastor). And that’s where He is at, where He puts His name. And when He puts His name on you where your life is going on is where He has put His name and from that name you can draw the resources of all that is in His name for you. Most of all, His name “Jesus”, for He will save His people from their sins.

    Yours,

    Larry

  54. Oh – one more thing…

    Howard N,

    If you have ever been to my site, you will see that I am an outspoken critic of Evangelicalism, thought I count myself firmly as an Evangelical. The term is almost meaningless anymore, and that is where a lot of difficulty comes in.

    If I were to be more concise, it is more or less Reformed theology I am defending. I use “Evangelicalism” in a rather general and simplistic way. So like you, I am something of an “Evangelical refugee”.

    My essential perspective tends to be Baptistic/Reformed/Calvinistic in nature, though some time ago I decided to let systematic theology serve my rather than the other way around. I have recognized for some time that no theological “syatem” can capture all of the Bible or God. There will always be a little mystery. Theology is by nature an inexact science, so one must learn to live with a little “messiness”.

    Nonetheless, I unequivocally oppose the Emergent idea that “the only thing we can know for sure about God is that we can’t know anything for sure about God” (my paraphrase of Emergent nonsense).

    God wants us to know Him. He revealed Himself in nature and much more so in Scripture. In human language. Systematic theology serves us when it helps us understand a very big book. It works against us when we become bound to the system, failing to recognize that any systematic theology is a human construct and subject to human flaws.

    This is why I wish to be humble about my Evangelical (Reformed/Baptistic/Calvinistic) theology. I believe it is very accurate and the essential tenets are right on, but it is not my god. I really do wish to remain teachable – by the Holy Spirit.

  55. Larry,

    You said, “And that when it comes to us (Christians) versus them (truly outside the faith, secular society, Islam, etc…), that you and I, Steve, Ike, Josh, Howard, Nancy, and all other brothers and sisters in Christ will indeed be there for each other”

    Amen. Thank you, brother. You make me nuts but I love you, and I hope my statements are edifying.

    BTW – “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, humility is not thinking anything of yourself at all.” is originally a C.S. Lewis quote 🙂

  56. Steve,
    Thanks for your reply and the heads up about your blog – I confess I haven’t viewed it as yet, so I’ll take a peek this weekend.

    Looking at what you say, we have actually trod many of the same paths (I get the sense that Larry and others here have as well), and I certainly agree with you re: the vague approach of the Emergent view.

    Reformation (as opposed to what is usually termed Reformed) theology is now my own framework, married with a good dose of the crucial aspects of what may be termed creational and redemptive truth, so strongly affirmed (in opposition to Gnosticism) for example, by Irenaeus. It’s taken me quite a journey to find solace amidst the ‘many winds of doctrine’, but I finally think that I’m gaining the beginnings of understanding – the furnishing of His table in the wilderness.

    As I noted earlier, this forum has certainly allowed many of us ‘strangers and pilgrims’ a halt of respite and reflection in a day of whirling and bizarre notions, so it’s great to be able to pull up a chair and share together, Steve.

    Many thanks for your insights and contributions – I look forward to more of the same.

  57. Steve L.,

    Thanks much, your comments are edifying trust me.

    And thanks for the CS Lewis clarification. I didn’t know that I just heard without reference. I love Lewis!

    L

  58. I tend to be a free but not cheap kind of guy! The problem is when we try to quantify what “not cheap” means you have mans economy trying to qualify Gods economy…. they just dont mix!

    Although I think Christian obedience needs to be discussed… as Christians we ALWAYS put the cart before the horse. Youir right… instead of finding yourself in Christ we get on the religious project. Instead of “being” in Christ we “do” for god (little g since we are really doing for our religious ourselves).

    I recommend Yanceys book whats so amazing about grace!

  59. BTW Steve, There are a few BLOGS I just do not go too anymore. Way too many spiritual projects to stop them all. However, its good to see people like you on wordpress because we are found on search engines.

    🙂

  60. Hi Steve,

    you said:

    There is no stopping from sinning. And there is no Christian progress from a life focused on the reduction of the amount of sin you commit.

    I would say you and I agree that the MO (mode of operation) that most Christians engage in sanctification is VERY misled. Its pious and 99.9999% self righteouss works based righteoussness — which is the default mode of the heart. We almost cant help ourselves.

    However, at the same time scripture does ask us to “move our feet” to our faith. It needs to be done in view of the cross and in view of Gods Mercy or you will get on a self-slavation project.

    The problem we run into is the Lutheresque proper distinction between LAW and GOSPEL is not being championed anymore. I praise God for Tim Keller bringing this Lutheresque view back in what I think is the appropriate form.

    Since works based righteoussness is the default mode of the heart you have many people exchanging worldly idols for religious, pharasaical idols while calling it “maturing” in their Christianity.

  61. Jon,

    Thanks for hanging in tough with ‘The Old Adam’s’ blog!

    You make this a better blog with your input and insight into the Christian faith.

    The “moving our feet to our faith” part is the part that I am still working on.

    That God is in charge of this project (it is His project not ours) is a given for me, but as you say Jon there are certain things that we ought do such as worship Him, thank Him, obey Him.

    We ought be baptised and receive His Supper (He commanded that we do so).

    And I guess doing all that helps to ‘keep us in His faith’.

    When and if we don’t do those those things, will we fall from faith? Can we fall from faith altogether? Will He be merciful and do whatever he will do in our lives to keep our feet moving for us?

    Sounds like another blog post! 😀

  62. I dont like to go too much past the idea of “moving our feet”. But I kind of like that terminology. We have to draw our spot in the sand at some point. :-).

    I think Romans 12:1-3 tells us how best to move our feet…. In view of Gods Mercy and the Cross.

    The other question you pose is tough. I know “in Chist” I have complete assurance of my salvation no matter what I do or did, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

    🙂

  63. Jon,

    ” I think Romans 12:1-3 tells us how best to move our feet…. In view of Gods Mercy and the Cross.”

    That is a good one, Jon. I Iike it as well.

    Thanks!

  64. “moving our feet to our faith”

    There are two huge problems with the “moving our feet to our faith” part is how it is sold. And I’m not saying that is how it is meant here, but how it can be perceived or often meant other than here. If we’d concentrate less on “moving our feet to our faith”, we might just find that we are “moving our feet to our faith”.

    First, it erroneously assumes that “feet don’t move ANYWAY”, which is IMPOSSIBLE for faith. So it goes back to the law as law. To many Christians today are like cheerleaders trying to get the crowd going. And the leaders of the cheers always think they know the “feet moving list” best, its their own little personal list of feet moving usually connected with their sect of Christianity. So if its homeschooling (which I’m for and do) then that’s the “moving our feet to our faith” law pushed there, if its so called evangelism so then that is done to the loss of the evangel. Or whatever social effort the local/denomination is tied into. The “moving our feet to our faith” M.O. ultimately denies the efficacious power of the Gospel that CAUSES the faith THAT CANNOT BUT help to work quite naturally flowing from the new creature.

    Second, it simply returns to the law as M.O. and does not understand that THAT is never of faith. For the obedience that naturally exudes from the new man freed by the Gospel is only that true fruit of faith. And that fruit is a fruit that exudes and radiates precisely naturally from faith from a free heart. What the “moving our feet to our faith” fails to see is that is exactly unbelief because the Law desires to be done spontaneously from a freed heart and done without the Law as Law but a return to the relationships restored. One must never ever forget that if one has to be told “move your feet ” one has already fallen into egregious sin and that is never the fruit of faith it pretends to be, but only more sin. The Law points to something greater than its office to which the Gospel gives. Such that the true fruit of faith is a freed and natural heart.

    This is why Paul expresses the fruits of the Spirit in terms of “love, peace, joy, etc…” And the fruits of unbelief as strife, envy, etc… So that “moving our feet to our faith” is just the opposite and “moving our feet to our unbelief”. “Envy, strife, etc… can be occurring while the greatest external works of the hands are occurring and thus no matter how good the works are outwardly they are as Paul says fruits of unbelief. Yet, love, peace, joy, etc…can be occurring at the simplest of works in the day to day vocation and these are ignored by unbelief as fruits of the faith, yet in reality to God are the treasures of heaven, the fruit of a living breathing faith. And both of these could be vice versa. The point being not the work external but the heart internal is the issue. While on a week day night certain church yard busy bodies are busying themselves up doing things and slips of the tongue here there and yonder, or even thoughts think, “Boy look at what I’m doing that so and so is not”, these are “envy, strife, etc…” fruits of unbelief. Yet, a mother is at home dutifully washing the dishes and the father mowing the lawn and it is “love, peace, joy, etc…” or fruits of true living faith. To false faith or unbelief, though, these are not “moving our feet to our faith” as many can use the term (and that may not be how it is being used here – I’m speaking of how it could be perceived only). Now the two examples above could be flip flopped because again its not the outward work that matters but inward state of the heart either bound by law or freed by Gospel.

    Leaning more on the Holy Spirit is not this oft Gnostic idea of power I extract as to “how I don’t sell drugs like a drug dealer”. What do we mean, really, when we say “lean more on the Holy Spirit”? Oftener than not we don’t even have clue in hell what we mean when we say that we just say it because we’ve heard it and it sounds pious and religious, “Bob, how do you not commit adultery in temptation or not rob liquor stores like somebody else?” “Well Fred I lean more on the Holy Spirit for that.” “What do you mean by that exactly Bob?” “You know Fred, LEAN on the Holy Spirit more, see what I mean?” “Not exactly Bob could you peal that apart a bit for me”. . It could be that the biggest reason one doesn’t do the worst of sins as we perceive them is simple fear of punishment or hope of reward – I really don’t want to go to jail. The test for saving faith would be if you DID do them, like king David, would you still believe? Because a lot of times when we pull out these “worse case scenarios of sins” (which vary from age to age and culture to culture, each has its own “worse case”) we are doing nothing more than praying like the Pharisee, “I thank you God (because I’m leaning on the Holy Spirit) I am not like…”.

    If we cannot laugh at our selves on our pious sounding foolishness then we have bigger problems. I said the same thing many of times only to wonder quietly to myself, “I hope he doesn’t ask me what I mean”.

    So what does it mean if it is to be anything other than a nice religious sounding but in reality Gnostic nonsense? It means what Paul says it means if we are to understand it correctly, to lean on the office of the Holy Spirit and that is of course the delivery of the Gospel, yet AGAIN, to you for you in Word and Sacrament. In short it is that tired old drum “getting use to your unconditional justification”.

    So if we want to use the term “moving our feet to our faith” correctly, capture it to Christ just like Luther turned venial and mortal sin terminology to the Gospel against Rome’s usage then we’d say, “moving our feet to our faith” means “getting use to our unconditional justification”. Whereby faith is faith and all that it does is fruit because it comes from the good tree. That’s the point Jesus was making of fruit only coming from a good tree, its made a good tree, by divine declaration.

    Thus, “moving our feet to our faith” can be like a lot of things Law driven or Gospel driven.

    L

  65. Exactly Larry… Its all in the persons MO or a persons mode of operation. The motives of the heart become obvious. Steve once said “the devil is in the details”. I liked that phraseology.

    The scripture in Romans 12:1 says Brothers, I encourage you, IN VIEW OF GODS MERCY, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices holy and pleasing to God”

    We tend to jump too easily over the words IN VIEW OF GODS MERCY as we seek to establish our own righteoussness.

    Luther called this the imputed righteousness of Christ because its given to us and not something we can attain…. so noone can use this to feed their own irreligious or religious ego. We can not boast in anything except our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    Larry, unfortunately… I need short paragraphs due to my ADD.

    I really liked what you wrote below:
    If we cannot laugh at our selves on our pious sounding foolishness then we have bigger problems. I said the same thing many of times only to wonder quietly to myself, “I hope he doesn’t ask me what I mean”.

    :-).

  66. my only cooperation is surrender.

  67. I want to compliment you on a very insightful blog entry.

    So many times I have witnessed this too.

    It is the evil spirit of RELIGION in the name of Jesus.

    To reinterate, it is for freedom that Christ has set us FREE…don’t go and get yourself tangled up in the blues of religion, but walk in the new life and stay in the new life, and don’t go back to religion, for you will make Christ of NO EFFECT!!!! — then you really will have to do it all on YOUR OWN…like religious people do. Man made Jesus is not the same as the real Jesus. So get used to it, ‘Jesus is NOT a RELIGION’

  68. I just realized I misspelled self salvation to self slavation.

    The holy spirit must have been working….. because they are synonyms.

  69. Graceshaker,

    Surrender is good. Even if it’s only temporary!

  70. Broapocalypse,

    Thank you, Sir!

    Jesus is not a RELiGION! TRUE STORY! HE IS A PERSON who desires us to be in a relationship to Himself built upon faith in what HE HAS DONE!!!

  71. Jon,

    I too engage is self Salavation EVERY NOW AND THEN!! 😀

  72. Larry,

    “So if we want to use the term “moving our feet to our faith” correctly, capture it to Christ just like Luther turned venial and mortal sin terminology to the Gospel against Rome’s usage then we’d say, “moving our feet to our faith” means “getting use to our unconditional justification”. ”

    I like that explanation the best of any.

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: