Monday, February 22, 2010

Some thoughts on the Christian life...

Although Christians, trusting in Christ's merit alone for their justification, may sin less than before conversion, yet never are they any less a sinner.

And although Christians, recipients of a regenerate heart through the Holy Spirit, may by His grace in thankful obedience to Christ's commands exhibit the fruit of godliness on many occasions, yet never within themselves do they own inherent godliness.

Godliness and salvation are in Christ alone, received and held through faith in Christ alone by God's efficacious work of grace in our hearts. No work of merit on our part secures them nor maintains them.


  1. Amen, brother. I was just listening to a sermon written by R.L.Dabney on the fallacy of the Wesleyan doctrine of sinless perfection. The truth is, we are sinners and will be until we go home to be with the Lord. His propitiation for our sins, past, present, and future is what causes us not to want to continue in sin. His great gift of salvation by grace alone is what lifts all burdens off our shoulders. He is perfect, and God sees Him when He looks at us who believe. Good news, indeed!

  2. Roxylee,

    I just read your comment on the blog to my wife. She then ask me to read again. She was saying, "Wow, how great is this!" Then she got on the phone, called my daughter to read it to her. My daughter's husband is a Reformed Pres. pastor and he read your comments and jokingly asked Carrie, "Is Roxylee your Mother?" LOL! Then Barb said, "No, but she's my best friend!" Traveling the same road on the same wave length...

  3. Yes, and not only best friends,but instant family when we belong to Jesus, and we will be, throughout eternity.:-)

  4. I think my thoughts about grace and good works are well expressed in the last half of a poem I wrote...

    Touched again by a foreigner's sacrifice.
    Made complete by new blood,
    nourished by new bread
    Made joyous by new song.

    Your love is in those I touch:
    In my neighbor, in my enemy,
    in those on the fringe, in those on the edge,
    in those wrapped in self, in those unraveling.

    You are in the infant caressed,
    in the student being understood,
    in the stranger receiving my last coin.
    You are the Master asking for my all.

    Providers needing grain, replenished.
    Mourners seeking consolation, comforted.
    Children gone astray, led back.
    Those who were silenced, again singing.

    Now wind inflates my breast,
    water begins cleansing.
    I am floating, warm, calm,
    on a current of unconditional love.

    Where there was protest is now thanks
    for the opening of my eyes
    to the life and love around me.
    I thank you for the treasure that is already mine.

    It was never mine to question.
    It was never yours to answer.
    We are enmeshed in a symphony of waves,
    all past, present and future encircling.

    There is no Father who yearns like you.
    No Son who teaches so well.
    No Spirit that excites so wildly.
    No Transcendence so involved with lesser mites.

    I have heeded your generous invitation
    to the mystery of creation.
    I am no longer hungry for heaven.
    You have poured heaven on me.

    [From draft 1 of lyrics for a joint project with David Gómez Sanz called Hungry For Heaven]

  5. More stream-of-consciousness thoughts on Jack's opening remarks. Forgive me if I am taking up too much real estate on this page but the subject deserves it....

    I agree with your fine words, Sir. However, as a lifelong Catholic, I must say that the doctrine of justification through grace alone just doesn't dance on our tongues very often.

    True, there is anxiety about personal sinfulness as well as the aggregate sinfulness of mankind. We do rest easy in the knowledge that Jesus Christ walked among us, taught us how to be good disciples, and purchased our salvation by His death on the cross. Jesus ascended into heaven as "the Word among us" was supplemented by the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and legions of disciples spread the Good News far and wide. The miracle of new birth in Christ did not happen on its own like some benign virus. It required toil and sacrifice and witnessing, even in the face of death.

    What I endeavor to do is lead a good life. My hours on Earth are about 40% action, 10% passive media consumption, 10% indwelling (contemplation) and 40% sleeping/dreaming/drifting. I may be out of balance. Not sure. I do what I have to do to support my large nuclear family.

    Often, I fail to fulfill the mission of Christianity in my moments of laziness, despair, doubt, jealousy and self indulgence. But I have an abiding faith that I am in a "right relationship with God and creation." This is what I have been taught and that is what I accept: that I should embrace any planned or happenstance opportunity for spreading the love of God, as if my life depended on corporal works of charity, justice and mercy. Fulfilling the Word of God in thought and in action does help one become the ideal.

    I attend Mass every weekend and help to lead song. This "habit" of gathering with like-minded faithful is a way to help keep core values front and center in one's life. Prayer also helps to keep things in balance – but I admit I don't pray enough. Without the centering that the Spirit provides, we may end up trudging through our days on Earth as a lost soul.

    Some of us barely have enough time to pray, attend worship services or do acts of kindness to others. We make excuses.

    "If I don't work 70 hours a week, I'll lose the house or the boat."

    "I can't afford to give $25 to that charity."

    "Prayer doesn't do anything for me."

    "That worship service is boring and I don't like the style of preaching."

    "I can't risk going to Haiti to help victims of an earthquake."

    "My kids need me more than God needs me."

    Understood. Sometimes God is a hard sell.