I’ve got lots of posts written but have felt woefully lacking in tone–
In any case, I’ll share a little of what has been rolling around in my head. Hopefully I can keep my tone under control.
We seem to need a more robust (i.e., biblical) idea of sanctification. That’s safe, isn’t it? We can all grow in our understanding of sanctification.
Lately, I’ve been disturbed by this fad of addressing all our failures by lamenting the need for more gospel-centered this or that. I’m not opposed to being gospel centered! But I am opposed to making gospel centered be a required part of every conversation. (It feels like a grammarian banning pronouns. I’m not sure if this makes sense to anyone but me.) The gospel-centered people don’t want me to feel guilty when I sin. They are especially worried about legalism (a term that should be excised from our Christian vocabulary– we have better Bible words that are far more precise and useful). Remembering the gospel is almost a panacea for overcoming sin. When God’s commands are discussed, in order to be “gospel centered,” every exhortation must contain “gospel centered” language. Otherwise, it’s obviously not gospel centered. Of course. I’d like to be friends with the gospel-centered people, but I don’t think I’m on the approved list.
Peter says it this way:but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. (II Peter 3:18)
Paul (ehem, the writer of Hebrews) says it this way: For everyone who partakes only of milk isunskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is,those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:13)
Growing in patience or wisdom or discipline takes a lot of time. A lot of practice. Sigh. If I could master patience in a year, anger in eleven months, love (since its so basic) in a month or two, and so on, I’d be perfect by the time I was forty. What fun! I’d love to be perfect for a few decades. Seriously, I do need to serious about sin. I need to be diligent to add a whole lot of things to my faith. But I can take heart in knowing that growth (i.e., failure and success) is an expected and blessed part of life. Can God be pleased with my life when I’m full of failing? Not just seeing Christ’s righteousness, but actually pleased with me?
I think how we answer that question reveals a lot about whether we really possess the joy of the Lord.