When one is confronted with the pure, sweet truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, they immediately say, “Yeah (that’s all well and good)…but you can’t just live anyway you want.”
It’s been a while since we’ve discussed this phenomenon here at The Old Adam lives, but I think maybe it’s a good time to revisit the “Yeah…but” syndrome.
What is at the heart of a “yeah…but“?
I believe it is a biblicist’s view of scripture which awards the same value to every line of scripture; a total inability to distinguish the law from the gospel; an ignorance of the purposes of the law and that of the gospel; a desire to have some input into the salvation project; a failure to see that the gospel always trumps the law.
So when St. Paul says in Romans that to one who works, he will receive his reward based on those works, but the one who does not work will be justified by faith (paraphrased – I forgot to get my Bible out of the car), the “yeah… but”-er goes into a state of cognitive dissonance. A sort of Christian schizophrenia results. And since the law is written upon our hearts and ‘doing’ to justify ourselves is our default position, then the law side of the equation takes over.
What happens then is that you get one who knows what the gospel is, and pays lip service to it, but ultimately is still bound to the law as a way to justify themselves before God.
They will deny this all day long. But their actions, and what comes out of their mouths betray them to another reality.
The Word of God will actually ‘DO’ to people, that for which it intends.
So when a gospel message is preached, people are forgiven, liberated, and freed, all because of what the Lord Jesus has done for them. But when the law message is preached, people are put back into the slavery which the law brings; that of accusation and condemnation.
So this is not a little thing this “yeah…but” syndrome. It can be quite deadly and take over and drown out the gospel. St. Paul makes that painfully clear in his letter to the Galatians. One can “sever themselves from Christ.”
So, do we abandon the law? NO!
But we don’t try and harness it to our betterment in the eyes of the Lord.
Because of Christ Jesus, the Lord already loves us before we start the day!
We use the law for our creaturely obligations that we might live as well as we can on this earth together, and the law is used by God to expose us, to accuse us, and to condemn us, so that we can in no way rely upon ourselves and what we say, do, feel, or think, to make ourselves right with God.
And then…the “yeah… buts” come again!
Anybody want to refute that in any way? Anything to add?
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