What are some popular phrases regarding "effort" in the Christian life?

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by Semper Fidelis, Jul 7, 2014.

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  1. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Only if it is the sort of affliction Christ imposed on himself (e.g., fasting, watching in prayer, and neither done so much as to unfit us for other labors). God can take care of afflicting us as we need; we lack the wisdom to do that properly.
  2. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    I'm going to be dropping out of the conversation for a while because I'm spending today at church and fellowshipping with believers, and then Monday morning I start a week of Bible camp teaching at a remote site with no connectivity. So although I appreciate the interaction here, I'll be mostly off the grid, and I will really need to focus on the job at hand anyway. Thirty-some 9- and 10-year-olds. Many have never been to church.
  3. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    We pray that God's Word to them will be implanted in their hearts and will bear fruit.

    Sent from my HTC Wildfire using Tapatalk 2
  4. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    "gospel-driven" is a shibboleth. It's like saying "born again" Christianity. It adds no content. It's a pet peeve of mine that we keep adding new phrases because we think "missional" actually means something.

    What's frustrating is that someone is apt to simply read your post and conclude: Why in the world would Rich ever avoid having people remembering what Christ has done?

    Have I not written sufficiently to avoid that concern? It goes to Derek's point that a faithful minister can be placarding Christ in worship and Word regularly but unless he qualifies rebuke and reproof with what others consider real Gospel content then he's not preaching the Gospel. If Paul can write Romans 12-16 without having to re-state everything he just wrote then I think we can too.

    When God intends for His discipline to be really painful to us for a holy end then the preacher needs to let the text loose on that point. He does not need to hold back the arm of the Father (read: not punitive Judge) on the fear that the Father really doesn't understand that His Word might be construed as a bit hard-hitting. No correction seems pleasant and it's not our job to make it seem so. What we do is give context to the discipline so the hearer recognizes its benefit. Consequently, I want men and women to understand that their children first before they start hearing what the Lord will say to them as children when He is addressing them as children.

    I don't hang around many Pentecostals or Word of Faith or many Pelagian folk. My context is legitimate ministry. I've preached the Word and been the man through whom some dear friends first heard the Gospel after decades in Pentecostal circles. That said, I think I can safely say that the broad context of American Christianity is allergic to the pursuit of holiness. Even those who put on the show of true holiness by prohibiting smoking, drinking, and the like are in decline in some of the bastions of those places. There's so much more than getting a balance in content correct for some Christian communities. The entire system needs to be uprooted and replaced.
  5. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    After this evening's worship, from Judges, the story of the sometimes fearful Gideon, this thought came to mind.

    What is missing in the discussion of "balance" between legalism and grace is teaching of the holiness of God, and His commandment that His people be Holy. That gets lost in the way the discussion about contemporary grace is being framed.

    The avoiding legalism side (and of course legalism is a real and serious biblical error) does not present the holiness of God in a way relevant to the life of the believer.

  6. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    I certainly hope they don't. I don't think that of you, and I wouldn't want anyone else to. I was just responding to one of my pet peeves: the accusation that teachers who make a point of always mentioning God's love in Christ must be doing so because they wish to soften the Bible's warnings and/or commands. Maybe some do it for that reason, but it's surely not why I mention God's love in Christ. I think speaking of God's love only makes the warnings and commands sharper and more potent and urgent.

    Again, I hate to post and run. It seems unfair to comment and then leave for a week. But it seemed like maybe I owed it to you to state that in no way would I ever mean to suggest that you want to avoid having people remember God's goodness in Christ. Clearly you do. Of course.
  7. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    These kinds of choices depend largely on the audience. A preacher who preaches mostly to the same audience week after week, and is systematically going through Romans might make different choices than a preacher who preaches mainly to the unchurched.
  8. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor


    But so does His Holiness.

    And both are spoken of in great length in Scripture and we have no right to represent otherwise.
  9. mvdm

    mvdm Puritan Board Junior

    In Derek Thomas' recent address (which I had linked on another thread), he recommended Kevin DeYoung's book "A Hole in our Holiness" which outlined at least fifty (50) scriptural motivations for holiness.
  10. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Thanks. I think I heard him mention 50 but I was also multi-tasking when I was listening to it.
  11. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Agreed. Let's just say that if I had an opportunity to preach to people in an IFB or Pentecostal or otherwise Pelagian context, I would begin with justification. We need to lay a foundation upon which a person can properly understand justification and sanctification.

    "Believe upon Christ and you will be saved" can actually be a "work" if a person is actually convinced that he is the author of his own faith.

    Incidentally, with our TE on vacation, I preached on Hebrews 12:1-13 yesterday. Since we were not in that text, I spent some time in some foundation building. It's not that the minister fails to preach the Gospel but that I'm jumping into Hebrews 12 and I needed to provide some context.
  12. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    I'd be interested in hearing your sermon on "effort" when it is all said and done, Rich.
  13. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Thomas Boston put his finger on the problem (Works, 3:536):

  14. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

  15. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    :up: Love it!
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