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quod pro nobis traditum est

Friday, December 07, 2012

living by faith

An interesting experience is the daily experience of getting in trouble because of one's own confirmation verse. Not really getting in trouble and maybe not even daily, yet almost an ongoing misunderstanding, not with those one might expect - secularists, those of other religions or even those of other church bodies, but with those of one's own church body. It is not that there are those who are opposed to the verse per se, it is more like they are on a hunt.

First, I do not believe that my good works merit anything before God. Everything depends on His mercy. This is due to God's holiness and my sin. God is merciful and forgiving in Christ, forgiving through faith and repentance. On the other hand I do believe that there is such thing as "good" works and that God is pleased with someone who does such good works, even pleased with the works themselves. These works are done by God's grace through faith in Christ. I do not believe those who do good works by God's grace through faith in Christ ought to be labeled as seeking to merit anything. They ought to be free to do good works. Besides, only God knows the heart. Anti-nomianism seems to agree with the sinfulness of man and the mercy of God in Christ. After that, it seems anything and everything's game (literally) and this means that good works are suspect. That is, if anyone does any good work or works, even the believer, they are seeking to merit something or they have some secret desire to live under the law. This is a false understanding and can be called a mis-understanding.

Fortunately, this is not the only topic in Scripture or theology so one need not get defensive or dwell on it too long. Nor do I need to try and explain what my confirmation verse means, it seems clear enough:

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." - Galatians 2:20

Elsewhere Scripture adds that Christ does good works in us. Maybe the misunderstanding, where it exists in the minds of some, is not with good works per se but with Christ Himself. Christ is free to do whatever good works He pleases.

And yet, because of our sin, I am sure the hunt is not over . . .