Monday, December 08, 2008

The Gospel and Struggles

The Gospel is the answer to our struggles, and not just by way of ultimate forgiveness of our failures. Tim Keller offers an example: He knows God requires truthfulness, but he struggles with lying and cannot make himself be honest. The reason he lies is because he is afraid of what people think of him. In Christ, however, he's been accepted and approved of by God; believing this, he can let go of his need for man's approval. He is now more able to tell the truth.

This lesson has a four-part structure: 1) the requirement of God; 2) the person's inability to meet the requirement; 3) the Gospel that Christ has met the requirement for us; 4) because of the Gospel, the improved ability to meet the requirement.

I really love several things about this. It magnifies God and the Gospel. Obedience is really primarily about faith in the accomplished work of Christ. It minimizes our "effort" in achieving righteousness while not letting us off the hook for living godly. It offers a route to sanctification for those of us who have, sadly, proved to ourselves that we are truly completely unable to live the way we aspire to as Christians.

I'm going to try to do a series of posts, applying this framework to many different areas of struggle in life. Feel free to suggest topics.

1 comment:

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

I don't know who Tim Keller is, but what you have written in the first paragraph by way of example, in the second paragraph by way of analysis (flow charting), and in the third paragraph recapping the effect of the principles, is completely right on. In a way, I wish this fourfold scheme would replace the "traditional" evangelistic "bad news/good news" paradigm usually called "The Four Spiritual Laws," because really, I think they're saying the same things, but in a form that both Evangelicals and Orthodox could agree on (and perhaps Catholics as well).