Christians have to attend to the mastery of their sinful impulses so that they can serve their neighbors effectively. Luther approached the issue of sanctification with some reserve for fear that his generation, so recently weaned from the idea of good works as a means to grace rather than the fruit thereof, would fall back into the old patterns of thought.
One of the many practical effects of the Reformation was a change in how people viewed what are now called “spiritual disciplines.” In the context of the Reformation, most people believed that their good works contributed to their justification. They also believed that doing super-spiritual things like becoming a monk/nun would be rewarded by God. However, as the Reformers taught and preached the truths of Scripture, slowly but surely, people began to understand that their good works did not help in the matter of justification. Furthermore, they began to understand that super-spiritual things like monasticism were not found in Scripture and therefore could be abandoned. However, the Reformers noted that good works and biblical spirituality were still certainly part of the Christian life. Here’s a good summary of how Luther emphasized good works and the “spiritual discipline” of serving one’s neighbor.
You Might also like
By Corey Williams — 1 year ago
When we see evil, when we encounter it personally, when we hear about it on the news, when we see a sign in a hotel lobby that tells us to be aware of human trafficking, we should resist the temptation to wallow in the brokenness of the world. Instead, we must lift our eyes up, see the Lord, and pray as David prays in Psalm 34 “All my bones will say, ‘Lord, who is like You, who rescues the afflicted from one who is too strong for him, and the afflicted and the poor from one who robs him?’”
This past weekend, my wife and I went on a babymoon staycation. On our way to dinner Saturday night, we shared an elevator with a young boy—he looked to be 5 or 6 years old—and his father. From the moment we stepped into the elevator until we got off, the boy huddled in the corner, weeping and shaking. He seemed genuinely terrified. Having our own six-year old boy, we were unsettled by the boy’s tears. They didn’t seem like normal sadness or frustration for a kid that age. These tears seemed to come from a place of genuine fear. I assumed the boy was afraid of the elevator. My wife thought the boy’s fear might be something more, particularly when she saw a sign by the hotel entrance warning of human trafficking and encouraging hotel guests to notify the staff if they see anything strange or unsettling involving children. Since my wife couldn’t shake the feeling that something was not right with that boy and the adult with him, we went to the front desk and reported what we’d seen. The staff member took notes and promised the hotel security look into it. Thankfully, they did investigate. Later that night, that same staff member notified me that they’d confirmed the child was with his father and had been upset for a benign reason. My wife and I were obviously relieved, and happy to have misjudged the situation. Still, there was something unsettling about the incident, particularly when paired with the sign warning about human trafficking displayed prominently by the hotel entrance. Clearly that sign exists because that area has had issues with human trafficking. And this wasn’t a run-down part of town. It was a Hyatt hotel in a nice neighborhood a little south of Los Angeles.
Though the incident turned out not to be a case of human trafficking, it reminded me that truly heinous evil exists. Is there anything more wicked than the sexual exploitation of children? And tragically, it’s not rare. That kind of evil occurs every day, often close to where we live, work, and vacation. Reminded of that reality this weekend, I found myself asking the question: how should I respond to the world’s wickedness? Should I ignore it? Should I shrug my shoulders and tell myself there’s nothing I can do about it, so why bother? Or should I take the opposite approach? Should I invest every second of my life, every financial resource, and every ounce of my strength in confronting the world’s evil? More specifically, to combat human trafficking, do I need to financially support an organization that works to end it? Or do I have to quit my job and work for one of those organizations?
While that might be God’s will for your life, I don’t think it’s his will for everyone. Some of us are supposed to be on the front lines, fighting to blunt the impact of the world’s wickedness. Others are supposed to work in business, education, politics, food service, hospitality, and entertainment.
By admin — 2 years ago
Randomness can never be a scientific explanation, since we can never know that something is random. At best, saying something is random is shorthand for “we don’t know.” So, when scientists state the origin of something in our universe is random, they do not know the origin.
It is common in the sciences to claim aspects of our universe are random:
In evolution, mutations are random.
In quantum physics, the wave collapse is random.
In biology, much of the genome is random.
In business theory, organizational ecologists state new ideas are random.
There is a general idea that everything new has its origins in randomness. This is because within our current philosophy of science, the two fundamental causes in our universe boil down to randomness and necessity. Since necessity never creates anything new, then by process of elimination the source of newness must be randomness. Similar to how the ancient Greeks believed the universe originated from chaos.
By T. M. Suffield — 2 years ago
Written by T. M. Suffield |
Thursday, March 3, 2022
God has branded believers as his, putting his mark on us; made it clear that we’re the real deal, and guaranteed our protection in transit to the age to come. The Spirit is God’s maker’s mark on us. It shows us that he is committed to us, and that his promises are reliable. For this to be helpful, it has to be visible to both you and others that you have been sealed.
How do we know we’re in? How do we know that God loves us and will preserve us to the end?
It’s got nothing to do with Bourbon, before you get too excited.
There are three ways that we know that we know him. I’m talking about what we commonly call assurance, the certainty that you are a Christian, you do know Jesus, and that you’re in. That’s what you need when your back is against the wall and you desperately need to know that death is beaten, that sadness will wither, and that Jesus wins. You’ve been taught it, you’ve read it, you declare it, but you just need to know. That’s assurance.
The first way is what I would call ‘deductive’, what we typically call logic. This is when we read in the Bible that if we trust Jesus and follow him then God will not count our sins against us, and instead considers us as though we were his Son. We then think through whether or not we trust Jesus and are trying to follow him—”yes, as best I can, but a long way from perfectly.” Therefore, I must be one of Jesus’ followers and I can trust that God will be true to his word. We know with our heads that it’s true.
The second way I’d call ‘inductive’. This is where we infer things from what we observe. We see progress in our lives since we met Jesus and continue to see that progress. We keep changing for the better in ways that we couldn’t make happen ourselves. Sometimes this requires the long view, but this is proof that what we think is true is true. Therefore, we must be one of Jesus’ followers and God is already being true to his word. We know with our lives that it’s true.
The third way I’d call ‘direct’. It’s not based on logic, but on experience. It’s when we meet with God in a powerful way and know—just know—that he loves us, is for us, and counts us as his children. It proves that everything I’ve read that is true in general, and that everything I’ve seen that seems to be true in my life, is specifically, intimately, individually true for me. Therefore, God loves me, so he is true to his word. We know with our hearts that it’s true.
This direct assurance I’ve written on recently: the feeling of joy that proves the ‘knowing’ of hope to be true.
We need all three: the head, the life, the heart. Each one proves the others. The direct heart experience is the one that does the heaviest lifting in hard times. It’s the one that is most fitted to carrying us through life, but it needs the other two to authenticate it.
If you’re missing deductive assurance, then go back to the Bible, ask Jesus, do you really believe this stuff? If you’re missing inductive assurance, then go to Jesus in prayer—ask him to show you how your character is developing and your faithfulness increasing. Ask your church family too, our friends often see us clearer than we see ourselves.