Friday, May 24, 2013
I had no idea. . .
The problem with this is that the New Testament is replete with the words on holy living. If it were automatic, why would so much of the New Testament be filled with exhortations to and encouragments for holy life, conversation, and works?
Just because the goal is unattainable as long as we wear this mortal flesh, this side of glory, does that mean that we should not speak of, speak to, and direct the people of God to strive for all things good, holy, true, beautiful, virtuous, and pure? I am not sure what to think of the sudden dust up over sanctification and its preaching or lack thereof. Lutherans are neither antinomians nor are they creatures only of the law. It is true that sometimes we speak with forked tongue when it comes to this subject. Statements can be found in the Confessions which speak clearly of our cooperation with God in producing the good works that befit those of the Kingdom of God and this third use of the Law as guide... AND words that say that the law only kills and only the Gospel gives life. But it seems that we have forgotten the context of these.
In speaking to those not yet of the Kingdom of God, the law only kills, only points out our sins, and drives us as a cruel slave until Christ in His grace sets us free. But to those within the Kingdom of God, love is the fulfilling of the law and love is both of Christ and the vocation and goal of Christian living. In this context the law provides the checklist for love -- what it looks like and sounds like as it is lived out in daily life. It is still the Gospel that is the power (the love) and it is still Christ whose glory it is (since by baptism we have died and been made new in Christ so that Christ in us defines us). But we are not passive nor do we leave it all to Christ without the regenerate will working for that which Christ has set us free to be and to do. We cannot boast except in Christ because we do not exist outside of Christ and His mercy and the good works that we do are a reflection of Christ at work in us and not an attempt for us to satisfy or impress Him.
So just maybe Smashing Pumpkins have a following among Lutherans who believe also that if we cannot do it, we need not try it, and if we need not try it, we need not speak of it... The "it" being growth in grace and in the righteousness of Christ...
Just another reminded of the tension that permeates our faith as we live in but not of the world, living out in these mortal bodies the immortal values of the Kingdom in which death has no power... There is a deep and profound difference between approaching all of life from the vantage point of salvation and approaching all of life because of the salvation we have in Christ. Good works do not supplement or even compete with the saving work of Christ through His suffering, death, and resurrection. But good works are the very things He lived, suffered. died, and rose that we might do -- His the glory and His the power at work in us and through us...