Friday, January 30, 2009

The Good News

In Christ,

You are perfect and complete.

You are fully accepted and loved. You don't need to be better, more beautiful, funnier, smarter. You are utterly accepted in Christ.

You don't need to succeed. Christ has succeeded for you.

It doesn't matter if you fail. You're failures have been swallowed up in Christ's success. You may, in fact, be better off failing, so you're not tempted to trust yourself and instead can only place you're hope in Christ's success.

You don't need to be strong (you're not strong enough anyway for what is required, which is to be perfect as God is perfect); Christ is strong for you. You're better off weak, so you never forget only Christ is strong.

You don't need to do anything else. Christ has done everything for you.
Which came first?

If you obey my commands, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. – John 8:31

This brings to mind Bonhoeffer's statement that 'we cannot believe with obeying; we cannot obey without believing.' There is a chicken and egg element to this. Fortunately, the chicken, the egg, and our faith all come from God.

Christian life runs on the fuel of faith, but faith is inextricably bound up with works. And, perhaps counterintuitively, if our faith is suffering, obeying may help.

Understanding this also helps address the tension between James and Paul, in which Paul claims we're justified by faith, and James says we're justified by works.

Faith must precede works, but works must follow and will produce additional knowledge of the truth and greater faith.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy...

Psalm 37:14

Obama to end abortion funds ban