Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Just Things...

This entry is sort of different from my others in that it doesn't have a real topic or purpose. But oh well. I just wanted to get a few things off my chest that have been spinning around in my head. So here goes...

1. Theological hedges. I posted about this a while back, and I see it coming back to bite me often -especially lately. I came to a very simple conclusion: if I can't directly, and I mean directly through exegesis of Scripture, see that something is wrong, I will keep silent. Sometimes I feel like I go around looking for things to pick on and expose. Yes, there are literally countless problems in the "modern church", as I always call it, but sometimes I think it is very counterproductive to be one who only seeks to dig up the bad (and there is no shortage of that, amen?) So, if I really need to build my arguments 10-levels deep, and it cannot be directly and simply proven by Scripture, then chances are it is something that I am wasting my time with and only leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of the saints -not to mention Christ.

2. With all my musings about moralism and the like, I can really fly off into areas that really have no profit value. What am I saying, Biblically, that can be said in one paragraph of text? Well, I think I have come up with a few things: a) whatever is done out of fear of punishment or pride is idolatry, and b) if the Law is replaced for an easier version and the requirements are lessened, then Christ is obscured and the whole Christian life is sent spinning off course. Anything I say should really be an expansion upon that. This is the beauty of trying to graciously and lovingly teach unheard of doctrines to others who, well, like all of us are in resistance to them even as Christians. It really starts to expose where you perhaps have an unhealthy dependence upon tradition. Sure, maybe the view you espouse is correct, but is it derived from Scripture in your conscience and could you simply defend it as such?

3. Thinking back about my own conversion -whenever that was (about 6-7 years ago)- I am seeing how it fits into my view upon conversion now. I guess its easy to forget some things, too. First of all, we Reformation types likes to stress that we were "crushed by the Law" and embraced Christ. I believe it is true still. I think, experientially, this can happen in a giant heap, but it can also happen over time -and does. I remember reading one writer who said something like, "and I praise God that He did not reveal to me the full depths of my sin completely that day... I could not have survived if He did." What do I remember? I remember seeing my sin, really, for the first time as being really ugly. It was shameful. I was shameful. I remember praying and praying, asking Christ to save me. There was a lot that I didn't know, but I remember one of the first things I was taught was that, essentially, "by works of the Law no man is justified." This was in direct contrast to what I thought and was actually a shock. It was in direct contrast to the Roman Catholicism I grew up with, too, and hated at that point. And lets be real, all of you Roman Catholic apologists, you may try to hide the fact that you believe in a Gospel that resides upon human merit and cooperation (works-righteousness), but the average layperson sees only that. Anyway, I began reading the Bible and was not sure what to do with all of those passages in Scripture that made me uncomfortable with myself. Was I supposed to emulate them? How? I usually tried to overlook them or somehow explain them away, but I couldn't. Looking back, I remember a few occasions where I really saw my inability, and it was a rude awakening. I was told, and believed, that I was unable to merit God's favor (heaven, as I knew it then). But coming to see it was something that happened at some point later. I did come to know my inability to control matters pretty early on. I remember praying for God's sovereign hand to take matters and do what He would with them. I remember praying that God would intervene and help me, because I knew I had no power to make things happen. So anyway, I really don't remember if there was such a dramatic instantaneous moment as I usually invision nowadays. Maybe that wasn't when I was converted. I don't know. The Lord was certainly at work. I guess I am saying that I don't want to have a narrow and formulaic view of conversion -only as narrow as Scripture teaches, and only as broad, as well.

4. I have a post in draft form dealing with the Christian life. Its really based on Romans 7, mostly. One thing that I see as being so important, for a little sneak peak, is the necessity of a living faith in Christ. Yes, conversion is a one-time thing, but faith is a life-time thing. It may be nearly extinguished at times, but it lasts til the end, by God's grace. I also notice that "believing" in Christ is, when I usually see it, a verb that indicates continuous action. Even John 3:16 says this. "all the ones believing in Him..." Also, in Galatians 2 Paul says how the life he "now lives" he lives by faith in the Son of God who loved him and died for him. Lastly, I believe this is the same faith -not a different faith. It is not as thought we believe upon Christ for justification, and then switch over once we are Christians to believe Christ will help us live the "victorious Christian life" -though it is Him who works in us to will and to do His good pleasure. Romans 7 ends with a picture of the true Christian life -blemishes and all. We don't do the things we want, even though we love the Law and agree it is good, and the things we want to do are the things we don't do. And we conclude that we, even as Christians, are "wretched" people. But the solution? It is Christ, and in Him there is "no condemnation". As it says in 1 Cor (chapter 15 I think) "in Adam all die, but in Christ all live". In Phil 3:9, Paul reminds us of the same sentiment where he says that his goal is to be found not having a righteousness of his own but the righteousness that is ours through faith. Point being: the Christian life is about living upon, continuously, the righteousness of Christ as our own righteousness. It is a constant reliance upon Him (for righteousness still!) that should not lessen, but only increase, as we grow in Christ.

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