Sunday, June 07, 2009

Three Big Words, One Very Big Gospel

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I put a very high value on Clarity, and so I appreciate it when
I come across big concepts that can be compacted into a few choice words.
Accordingly, the entire Gospel of the Christian faith can be compacted
into these three big -- weighty, meaningful, profound -- words that the
theologians and seminary students often use with great dexterity:

Justifcation
This is the explosion in the carburetor of faith that puts the whole
engine in motion (if you'll pardon a forced metaphor); it was accomplished
by Christ's humility, obedience, and ultimate power over even Death, and
is freely given to anyone who will accept Him. A sunday-school rendering
says that Justification means "Just-as-if-I'd never sinned", which is a
very good utility for the concept; a more complete exposition is available
in this article...

Sanctification
This is the very long, arduous process of "working out one's salvation"
as God Himself is at work in us, and this is where Christians spend most
of their journey in this life. To force another metaphor, becoming a
world-class hockey player (such as Pavel Datsyuk, of the Red Wings) is
not something that happens over night; Pavel has spent YEARS in training
of all sorts, developing the physical and mental habits that have made him
a champion. God slowly changes us, over time, from the inside out, as we
practice obedience and the spiritual disciplines, to make us into the
Saints that He created each of us to become, for His glory. You can read
Ezekiel 36 to get an idea of God's perspective on Sanctification, and there
is a good summary of the concept here...

Glorification
Sometimes I hear a preacher (or another Blogger) say something like,
"It's not about US, it's about HIM"... I know what they mean, but that
comes dangerously close to heresy, if you ask me: The most famous verse
in all the Bible tells the story of God's perspective on mankind (John 3:16);
apparently redeeming us IS such a high priority with God that He
sacrificed His own dear Son to win us back to Himself, to FILL us with
Himself the way a mirror is full of light. We will, someday, finally be
glorified; God's work will be perfected, finished, in us, and we will
spend eternity offering back to the Father the glory that is Himself.
If you've never read C.S. Lewis' sermon, "Weight of Glory", you absolutely
must download a copy, here, and read it over and over...
Peter Kreeft summarizes it pretty well, too, here...

I love a great movie, one that has a definite beginning, middle and end;
the Gospel of Jesus Christ is no mere movie, but the only thing in this life
that has any real eternal value.

What a great concept.
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1 comment:

Dennis said...

Greg, I especially like your explanation of glorification. I've heard that as well. But God loves us and does care who we are and what we do. It's about Him but since He cares about us, it is also about us.