Thursday, February 22, 2007

ashamed at Christ's second coming?

1 Corinthians 3: 12-15 says:
"Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire."

I was always taught to dread the final judgement, not that I'd be lost in Hell, but because I didn't obey Christ with pure and perfect motives. This kind of teaching is scary because it removes a Christians's joy and replaces it with guilt and dread. It's kind of like waiting for Daddy to come home because you know you're in trouble and he's going to spank you. Ironically, this teaching stems from a fundamenatalism that isn't too far from the teachings of Rome. You end up with a kind of "protestant purgatory". Think I'm exaggerating? Charles Stanley teaches something that sounds eerily familiar to this Read More.

It's interesting also, that the passage in 1 Cor. dealing with the "fire" which purges is used by Rome to further the doctrine of purgatory see Calvin's commentary.

Calvin speaks of this passage as distinguishing correct vs. false doctrine in the church (right doctrine taught = gold, silver, jewels / false doctrine = wood, hay and stubble).

The term "works" in the passage is referring to teachings, and not so much "doings" by the congregation. This is a revelation to me, coming from a background that always stressed the Christian's works as though we had something to be ashamed of at the final judgement! This is why I love reformed theology! The doctrine of Christ's imputation should fill me with anticipation and great hope/relief at His return. Why? Because I'm accounted by God as if I had the perfection of Christ Himself! I no more deserve rewards after justification than before.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

"It is begun." VS. "it is finished."

R. Scott Clark, over at The Heidelblog has written yet another great entry about what our only comfort is. Here's a little of it:

"...has fully satisfied for all my sins..."

"In order to understand our confession we need to know a little about the history of the medieval church before the Reformation. Rome taught (and teaches) that Christ died to make salvation possible (by the way, does this sound familiar? Don't lots of evangelicals speak just this way about salvation?) The Reformed way of speaking about salvation is to say that Jesus accomplished salvation for us and applies it to us by his Spirit. According to Rome, however, Jesus' death makes it possible and the Spirit begins the process of sanctification and eventual justification in baptism. In the Roman scheme, our duty is to cooperate with grace toward eventual , final justification. When we sin, according to Rome, we are obligated to do penance.

... Not so in the Heidelberg Catechism. According to the Protestant view, Jesus has propitiated God's wrath and expiated our sins. He has satisfied for "all my sins." He has reconciled God to me and all believers. Rome says, "It is begun." Jesus says: "It is finished." He has redeemed me from all the power of the devil. It isn't just "underway." It's done. God is not propitiated, he is not reconciled, and I am not redeemed in any way by anything the Spirit does within me or anything I do in cooperation with grace. It's done for me. The only "condition," (instrument really) is this: "if only I accept such benefit with a believing heart" (HC 60). The whole Reformation can be said to have turned on the difference between two prepositions. When it comes to being right before God the Roman preposition is "in" and the Protestant preposition is "for." Thank God for that little preposition "for!" "

Friday, February 09, 2007

the bondage of the will

'Martin Luther and the Bondage of the Will' by Wellington Protestant Reformed Fellowship (WPRF)

A great audio teaching on the background of Luther and his influential work.