“Even though we have been transported from the dominion of darkness to the kingdom of light, as believers we are still citizens in need of help. We do not want to minimize the significance of our rescue from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of God’s Son, but this deliverance is not the end of Christ’s work of salvation, it is the beginning. Once he has broken the dominion of darkness over us, he then begins to remove all the darkness within us so that we may be holy as he is holy.”
War of Words: Getting to the Heart of Your Communication Struggles ~ Paul David Tripp
Having spent many years of my Christian life in communities that emphasize “salvation by grace through faith,” I have often found myself a bit confused about the place of “works of righteousness” in my daily life . . . . not about whether or not I should do the right thing (when I can figure out what that is!), but about how all of that fits into a theology of “once saved, always saved.” Well, after deciding several years ago to return to college to take as many Bible courses as I could, and then pursue a master’s degree in historical theology, I am still wondering why many of us seem to say one thing and do a whole bunch of other stuff.
When Scripture is “used” to prove a point (meaning, “I am right, and everyone else is wrong!”), we tend to focus on one concept to the exclusion of others. After listening to hundreds (perhaps thousands) of discussions, lectures, arguments, diatribes, disagreeable and downright nasty proclamations about any number of Biblical topics, I realized that there is Truth (with a capital “T”), but probably neither one of us has all of it. At least in this earthly life. God’s ways are higher than our ways; God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts . . . .
Along the way from where I was and where I am now, I have learned a great deal just from experience. When I filter my experiences through the grid of knowledge that I acquired from my academic journey, I have come to the conclusion that I alone am responsible for my own response to God’s Word and His calling in my life, and I do not need to enter into every theological discussion that passes through the popular Christian culture of our day.
I seek His truth in His Word, and then move forward based on the guidance that comes from His Holy Spirit. Moving beyond the moment of salvation to a life in which I strive, with His grace and power, to live a life of holiness. Do I fail? Every day! But think about it . . . . . if I could be “perfect” on my own, I wouldn’t need a Savior. So, perhaps it is time to emphasize in our communities (you know, all that “one body” stuff we hear about so often) that we do have a calling to live a life that honors God – that we would be holy as He is holy; but that we would also give a little grace to those around us who are not “perfect” yet. Because none of us is perfect – “there is none righteous, no, not one,” – and then we might all move closer to our desire to move beyond redemption to holiness. But it is only in His power that we can ever make that move.
If you would like to join us this week for “In Other Words,” please leave a link to your post on this quote so we can stop by your blog and read your thoughts. Then, please take a minute to visit the other participants in this week’s “In Other Words.”