Christians love to talk about how you can read a scripture a hundred times and miss the point, and then all of a sudden, BOOM! God throws His revelation smack-down on you, and you, in awesome wonder try to understand why you never saw it before. Some will cite that God all of a sudden “deposited truth in your spirit”, as if you didn’t have this ability to comprehend what was there before. But that doesn’t jibe for me. There are plenty of unbelieving scholars and professors, hollow and empty of God, that grasp those things and simply don’t believe them. Continue reading “Understanding Scripture ”
What was your reaction to The Gospel when you first heard it? I mean, REALLY heard it and grasped it? When did you realize forgiveness was not just some abstract thought or idea Christians talked about, but came to understand that it was real, it was true, and it was very personally for you? Continue reading “The Gospel and White Noise”
I am a Sinner!
I know that phrase, according to some, is thrown around a bit too much as of late. It’s said that maybe the people who like to use it, like me, look at it almost as if it’s a rite of passage, or a badge to proudly wear. Maybe the reason people don’t like it is because they think we’re making excuses for our sinful natures, and not really letting the Gospel drive us from our sins. I think the terminology for this concern is called antinomianism. The idea that we are not regulated or governed by God’s law anymore because of grace that covers our sins. This allows us to live lawless, sin-rich lives without so much of a care. It’s all a bit too ridiculous how quickly people get labeled an antinomian. I’m not a theologian by any stretch of the word, and that makes me more surprised when I see those that are so heavily studied, quick to call another of their learned brethren a heretic. These seminary alumni would have the most richest sense of what these words mean and should be hesitant to throw any label on someone’s teachings until the most careful of studies. In a bit of irony, you might even say what they’re doing is sinful. Bare false witness lately anyone? Anyone? Continue reading “I Am A Sinner”
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 1 CORINTHIANS 2:1-5
What does it mean to know nothing but Christ and him crucified? The “bare-bones” of all of Scripture is summed up in Christ’s person and work, which rescues us from sin and death. To preach Christ and him crucified is to keep the message simple and accessible.
Continue reading “Simply Christ and Him Crucified”
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. -Psalm 1
Is it really that simple? I know the running joke in Sunday school is that the answer is always Jesus, but sometimes it really is! Continue reading “That’s Jesus?!? (Psalm 1)”
So, with all the chapters complete in Vieth’s book, The Spirituality of The Cross, all that was left to get through were the appendices. The first was an article the author wrote awhile back(1998) on the position of Lutheranism and how it contrasts with other Christian traditions. Though not written for the purpose of this book, the article seem to fit perfectly, especially after this fine treatment on the theology of the Lutheran faith. Continue reading “An Article & A Final Word”
So, here I am, jumping right back into The Spirituality Of The Cross and I must say that the first chapter had me excited to read on and the second didn’t disappoint. I’m eager to move forward and I’m already finding myself wanting to re-read this book, possibly on a semi-regular basis. I’m not the best reader, but I recognize when I have something good in front of me and I already feel a sad sense of finality to know the book will eventually come to an end. Can anyone else relate?
Umm is anyone reading this?
Continue reading “Means Of Grace: The Word Of God”
Today, I read through the first chapter of Gene Edward Veith Jr.’s The Spirituality Of The Cross. He(Veith) says that an important mark of Lutheran spirituality is facing up to our imperfection. Whether in conduct, intellect or our “seeking” after God, it all falls short. This was in the second paragraph of the first chapter and I had to physically search for a highlighter to mark it for future reference.(forgive me as this is the first non-kindle book I’ve read in quite a while)
While this may not be an exclusively Lutheran thought, I appreciated how the author deals with it right out of the gate. He goes on to talk about the two poles of lutheran spirituality, human sin and God’s Grace and does so in a simple and easy manner. He quickly fleshed out the problems of moralism(doing good deeds), speculation(trying to grasp God simply with our intellect) and mysticism(the idea that you can draw nearer to God in some experiential way outside of His Word)
By the end of the chapter he’s firmly established all these attempts of ours are nothing more than filthy rags and cites Romans 3:10-11 as the death knell for all three attempts to draw near to God on our own abilities.
This is the set up for the Gospel. The beautiful work of Christ on the cross. When we began to truly recognize there is no hope in ourselves and our own abilities, how much more wonderful does this awesome act of God’s Grace become right before our eyes. This Grace poured out for our benefit. Calling us to daily recognize ourselves as sinful, always needing the Savior, who is ever interceding on our behalf.
This is where I think Lutheran theology may differ from other churches or denominations. It appears that Lutherans embrace this tug of war between sinner and saint for the believer, while others make a point of
holding fast to the saintly aspect while tossing aside the sinner(because, you know, that’s what we “used to be”). Churches now like to reconcile that distinction by stating that you’re a saint who sometimes slips, falls or trips into sin or you’ve made a mistake.
I don’t know where the idea of that first started, but if Paul can call himself the chief sinner, there’s no reason why we cannot acknowledge our sin all the more, so that we might recognize even GREATER His Grace poured out for us..
It is indeed a mystery to be both sinner and saint.. To always fight against these two natures as Paul and others have and even at times, lose(which might be considered more of “me” winning) I am thankful that Christ came to rescue SINNERS.. Simply speaking, if I’m not one, then how could he have come for me?
For the longest time I have hidden within me the label of sinner because of the stigma of using that title in certain churches and around certain people. In the past, it has made me feel shame, guilt and hopelessness because it seemed at times, I was the only “sinner” in the room. Lutheran theology is showing me something more. The Preaching of Law and Gospel is showing me something greater.
I feel a sense of freedom to know I am a sinner, but one that by the faith placed in me by my Father in Heaven, has been rescued and redeemed.
I look forward to sharing more thoughts as I read on. I also ask your forgiveness if I fail in my words to adequately explain anything I’ve spoken on. Consider me two steps BELOW a laymen speaking on these things.
A while back, I drove past my neighbor’s house and right there in the street with the rest of the garbage were several golden trophies nearly half my height and still looking quite shiny and new. For curiosity’s sake, I wish had taken the time to see how old they were. It didn’t take long before my thoughts drifted to Matthew 6:19-20:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal.”
Source: From Trash To Treasure