Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Two Kinds of Righteousness

"We set forth two worlds, as it were, one of them heavenly and the other earthly.  Into these we place these two kinds of righteousness, which are distinct and separated from each other.  The righteousness of the law is earthly and deals with earthly things; by it we perform good works ... But the righteousness (of the gospel) is heavenly and passive.  We do not have it of ourselves; we receive it from heaven.  We do not perform it; we accept it by faith, through which we ascend beyond all laws and works."  Luther, "Lectures on Galatians"

"This is our theology, by which we teach a precise distinction between these two kinds of righteousness, the active and the passive, so that morality and faith, works and grace, secular society and religion may not be confused.  Both are necessary, but both must be kept within their limits."  Luther, "Lectures on Galatians"

Thank you, Luther, for clearing away some cobwebs for this reader.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Ex Fear Factor

"You can't believe that!  That is not true!  I thought you were smarter than that!"

Have you ever been afraid of telling others your beliefs?  Holding your tongue for fear of the reaction you will receive?  There was a time in my life when I would hold back on telling others what I believe about God.  My fear of their reaction kept my tongue paralyzed.  How did that change?  How did I get over the fear factor of what others will say?  Let me share with you what I have learned.

There is this call in protestantism of "Sola Scriptura!"  It's a famous call from a famous era in church history.  Some define sola scriptura thusly:  Scripture has the final say-so, over custom, tradition, opinions.  Sounds reasonable, doesn't it?   Here's the problem with it:  most who talk about it, do not do it.

There are descendants of the reformation that proclaim they are sola scriptura, yet they make requirements of scripture.  The demand placed upon the bible is logic.  It is a form of doubt.  It is humanism disguised as godly interpretation.  It is saying, in essence, our finite brains can understand the infinite wisdom of God.  It is not sola scriptura to require scripture to fit into our understanding.  It is prideful.

"Let God be true though every one were a liar."  Read that again and let it sink in.  It is from Romans 3.  That, in essence, is Sola Scriptura.  When the bible tells us baptism doth now save you, it does.  Shocking?  Read that bit from Romans 3 again.  When you come to a passage of scripture that someone has told you is not true, turn to Romans 3.  When you come to a passage of scripture that you find shocking, read Romans 3.

This is sola scriptura.  It does not take away God's word by tradition, opinion, custom, or logic.  It receives God's word by faith, even if it is not understood right now, today. It is true because God tells us it is true.  That is how I removed the fear factor when talking to others of shocking topics. It is shocking that I can believe that baptism saves because the God of the universe tells me it is true.