‘Tis strange how self righteousness thrives at the foot of the cross. “Tis not surprising where the devil plays.Read the rest.
I am no blog-monger nor tweet afficionado, but it seems there is a web-buzzing about “Gospel” these days. It’s all about justification and sanctification (is there a hole in our holiness?), about law and grace, about gospel motivation, about depravity and regeneration, about feeding on our justification and the danger of self-righteousness.
I read all this and wonder. I wonder if, from my limited perspective, we are experiencing the work of the devil. I wonder if Satan, the master of jiu jitsu of the soul, is not doing what he always does — pushing us to extremes. I wonder if he is not going about stirring up strife between people who are gospel-focused, and pushing them to think they are the most consistent, the most careful, the most grace motivated. I wonder if he is not at work to make us think we are “more gospel centered than thou.” Really.
Let me be clear. I am grateful for the working of God to renew Gospel focus across so many denominations and churches. It was just not so 30 years ago. The Gospel was the entry message for the Christian life, and after that, it was all law. I preached that way for the first ten years of ministry, until God sent a messenger to correct me. Now it seems every day a new book is published applying the Gospel to another area of life!
But, in all this debating about Gospel motivation, have we been drawn into something that is a rat’s nest?
So, let me ask some questions...
- First, are we making the Scriptures harder to understand than they are?
- Second, I ask, are we confusing the internal function of the Gospel with the objective truth of the Gospel?
- Third, have we created both a new law and a perfectionism?
- Fourth, have we changed the “involuntary” working of God into a voluntary and conscious activity of the believer. Have we allowed our therapeutic, self-aware, constantly-checking-out-the-state-of-our-heart culture to shape our doctrine?