Monday, March 31, 2008

Don't use love

We can not use love to find out if we are a Christian. A couple of years ago, I read internet cousellors counselling anxious Christians to use their love for Jesus to assure them that they are Christians.

Well, we do not love Jesus the way we should.

John 14:15“If you love Me, keep My commandments.

The equivalent statement to this is -- if you do not keep the commandments of Jesus, then you do not love Jesus. In logic this is called the contra-position and equivalent way of saying the first.

We know how to evaluate that. Honestly, am I keeping the commandments of Jesus? No. Then I do not really love Jesus. I might have some emotional affection for him, but I do not really love him the way I know I should. So by this way we are toast. We can not use love.

Here is what Apology of Augsburg IV, says...
112] And yet we must not think on that account [love]that by confidence in this
love or on account of this love we receive the remission of sins and
reconciliation, just as we do not receive the remission of sins because of other
works that follow. But the remission of sins is received by faith alone, and,
indeed, by faith properly so called, because the promise cannot be received
except by faith. 113] But faith, properly so called, is that which assents to
the promise [is when my heart, and the Holy Ghost in the heart, says: The
promise of God is true and certain]. Of 114] this faith Scripture speaks. And
because it receives the remission of sins, and reconciles us to God, by this
faith we are [like Abraham] accounted righteous for Christ's sake before we love
and do the works of the Law, although love necessarily follows


(I like my Tappert translation better than this, but this is the best available in the internet).

14 comments:

Past Elder said...

Same old thing! It's what I'm doing (or feeling) over what God has done. Which ends up being just another of Man's endless parade of works-righteousness based religion over God's revealed religion of his works for us.

L P Cruz said...

P.E.

Such advices have thrown our evangelical brothers and sisters to despair and confusion. That is why I am writing about it hoping someone reading this might find comfort.

Oh right, yeah? Throw you back into yourself -- intra nos, for comfort.

I tellya it is a recipe for depression that is why many of our dear brethren are in that state, get pre-occupied with what is in ourselves.


LPC

Augustinian Successor said...

This is precisely the kind of recipe which is offered in much of the Reformed world - WCF or Three Form. Side by side with what may be a thoroughly orthodox understanding of JFBA (sans the death and resurrection 'proposal' of the Lutheran tradition) is a Pietist, Wesleyan, etc. notion of faith animated by love.

This is a typical confusion, a serious one at that, by many Reformed in equating OUR love with GOD's love for us. No, we love Jesus only because He loved us FIRST. The cause is always confused or mixed-up with the effect. Once that happens, it results in a mystical attitude towards the Christian life, and a further weakening of Reformation theology and piety.

This serious error continues to be promoted by modern-day heirs to the Puritans in the US, Britain. This is 'entire sanctification' by the back door. The simul is thrown off balance. The distinction between coram Deo and coram homnibus is lost. The result is that basing the Christian life on JFBA is regarded as antinomian. The flip side is a legalism existing uncomfortably with predestination.

At the end of the day, the bottom line is that instead of JFBA, it JFB Feelings! The work of the holy Spirit is referenced by feelings (intra nos) and not the Word and Sacraments (extra nos). Faith continues to collapse upon itself, curved inwards, curvatus in se, which is to say, it is always looking, searching, for full assurance. Hence, the quest for full assurance is a hallmark of this type of mentality.

Past Elder said...

It's also the same thing toward which our happy-clappy church growth wannabes are pushing us, at least here in the US.

It's so odd that they end up just like Rome, thinking they too teach faith alone, grace alone, and in fact do have the words in there, but in reality it mixes justification and sanctification and they simply cannot see it. Got into that again on Schuetz' blog recently re the Joint Declaration, worthless scrap that it is.

L P Cruz said...

curvatus in se, this is spot on. The thing bro is that it is usually propagated more so by untrained pastors, pastors who do not have skills in doing theology.

The Reformed have already the tendency to comply with the Roman notion of faith formed by love and when you throw the zeal without knowledge by the pastors, you get --curvatus in se.

There is something always appealing to our inner brat, to find hope within one's self. How disastrous it is, it needs to be fought as you said, a back door once again.


LPC

L P Cruz said...

BTW P.E.

Schuetzy said this...
It might surprise you to learn that the Catholic Church does teach that we are saved by grace alone, and through faith in Jesus Christ alone

I can not believe he said that, which Catholic Church is that? I must be missing something.

LPC

Augustinian Successor said...

He must be quibbling, he can only be quibbling over the term, FAITH. is faith an act, is faith obedience, something that we in *cooperation* with the Spirit? Or is faith a passive state of being acted upon? In other words, if faith trust or is faith trust plus something more?

Is faith a response to the unconditional promise of God or a conditional promise in which is case faith is a response to Law, not Gospel? Does faith receive grace as a *total* eschatological gift or grace as a ontological condition which is NEVER total or final notwithstanding the initial infusion because looks forward to the end, rather than the full disclosure of the end?

We can never agree with the Romans on the meaning of the terms. I love using medieval and Roman terminology, but that doesn't mean I attach the same meaning to these terms.

L P Cruz said...

A.S.
Ahh good point, you spotted something I missed. You are right, it must be play on the word FAITH, for I "faith alone" is something that has been traditionally denied by Rome. For him to say what he said - he must be using the term FAITH differently.

Bingo.

Past Elder said...

The Roman church does teach we are saved by faith alone by grace alone -- and means nothing at all like what we do by those terms.

That's in sum the whole reason why neither synod to which I have belonged signed -- that the Joint Declaration allows for various meanings to the terms faith, grace, and alone for that matter, thereby allowing two parties to say the same thing and mean different things, making the whole thing a farce and a sham and a dark day for Lutheranism.

It's not even a play on the word. They really do think they teach faith alone and grace alone! So they can't get it why we don't "come home". What a pile of crap.

L P Cruz said...

P.E.

I find it really funny at times when I think of the JDDJ. Do you notice who is so happy to use it to say that there are no more differences between Wittenberg and the Vatican? Not the Lutherites, it is more used by the RCs, and mainly RCs who used to be Lutherites.

LPC

Past Elder said...

Yeah, like our ruddy friend!

I see you jumped in over there again!

I think they think the Reformation has accomplished its goal and now the Roman church is fine.

My point on that blog was, the Roman church isn't even true to the Roman church any more, let alone embraced the Reformation other than cosmetically. So they ain't "fully" Lutheran and they ain't Catholic either, just lost in a Roman mist denser than the one before it.

What a pile of crap.

Oh, I ended my last post that way too! I'd comment on the Korean tele-novelas but we don't get them here, just the Mexican ones. Then again I get my Korean fix on Lost. Funny thing is, the role of the Korean wife who also speaks English is played by a Korean, and the role of the Korean husband who speaks mostly Korean and little English is played by a Korean-American who actually doesn't speak a lot of Korean. Or so I read. There's a bunch of Aussies in it too. It's the only current series I really like.

L P Cruz said...

P.E.

To quote Bud of Back To The Future III...

You are using some mighty big words there, fella

LOL.

I think you, and A.S. should come down you can try the misus' Runzas and Nasi Goreng real well. She has been cooking exotic international meals lately with her recipe books and that.

LPC

jim cronfel said...

It is all Latin to me.

L P Cruz said...

Jim C,

what, no gift of interpretation of tongues ;-)?

LPC