Post details: What a Pair of Travesties!


Permalink 01:45:15 am, Categories: By Trent, GraceHead thinking deeply, 474 words   English (US)

What a Pair of Travesties!

I read this today and was very impressed ... see if you agree.

From Living Inside Out by Tim Stevenson (his blog):

I believe Christian living in the Bible follows a specific logical order:

  1. God's love for us - the beginning of the gospel. "We love because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19).
  2. Our love for God - our motivation for living. "For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves bu for him who died for them and was raised again" (2 Cor. 5:14-15).
  3. Our dependency upon God - our source of power. "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).
  4. Our obedience to God - our willing response by God's power. "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says" (James 1:22).
  5. Application of wisdom and practical counsel - practical applications and "how-tos" of biblical truth.

Every church and Bible teacher wants Christians to live obedient lives. That's not where we differ. The difference is in how to get it! According to my observations, the vast majority of teaching and writing on the Christian life addresses points 4 and 5 above. It's always about obedience and practical applications. Except for God's love being taught in the context of evangelism, the experiences of points 1-3 are virtually ignored, with great consequences. Getting these things out of order creates chaos and failure. Apart from experiencing god's love and grace, our people will have no motivation for obedience other than abject fear or guilt. Apart from knowing how to live dependently, they will not have the power to live genuinely obedient lives. There will be much "Christian activity" but little genuine fruit - and this, I believe, describes the true state of affairs.

As a former church-goer, I have seen exactly what Tim is talking about ... first hand. I have felt the frustration personally ... as I tried and failed 4 and 5 because I was clueless about 1, 2, and 3.

Also, since I've embraced 1, 2, and 3 ... I have noticed another alternative phenomenon that Tim is NOT talking about in this excerpt. I've seen the other extreme do great violence to biblical teaching by ignoring 4 and 5 ... and even such extreme as to treat 4 and 5 as if the devil, himself, laid it upon our doorstep (usually you can lump 2 with 4 and 5 into the same alternative phenomenon.)

What a pair of travesties ... one, no worse than the other!

"Certainly, then, it does make an enormous difference whether our lives be right. If our doctrine be true, and our lives be wrong, how terrible is our sin! For then we have brought despite upon the truth itself."
- J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937) (from Christianity and Liberalism, chapter 1)

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Comment from: pam [Visitor]
Balance of the two can only be found in Jesus. We lose our balance often but He never does.
Permalink 03/17/08 @ 12:51

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