Thursday, April 23, 2009

Faith as pressure.

Back in Manila, there are lots of people without means. You either go down under or you believe God pulls you up and over. There is no such thing as social welfare there. Unlike in here, we have Medicare. A few years back, I had a procedure done and I spent 4 days in hospital and I paid no cent for the whole incident. My eldest son was child patient of Royal Children's Hospital, they looked after him from age 10 to age 21, they gave him reconstructive surgery and plastic surgery, and did I pay any cent for this? Not a cent. When I got here it used to be free university education. Ok now that is not the case, but it is still good because today uni students do pay but they pay by way of a tax deduction when they get a job. This is a kinda, study now at the government's expense, then pay later. Another thing, Where will you find a country who will give its citizens money if they do a PhD? You can count with your fingers the number of countries that will do that.

Anyway, back home if you do not use your faith, you either starve or die. There is no such thing as a dole. Dole? you gotta be kidding me. Ask the government for some money? You joking? In general politicians get money from you, rather than the otherway around, unless they want some exchange. So consequently preachers promise if you believe and use your faith, your life will be ok.

So guess which verse they often use to whip up faith in you?

Romans 1:17b
“The just shall live by faith.”


My then Pastor interpreted this to mean that if you were righteous then you would live by faith. So how did this play up? Well, if you are sick, you'd better be believing God for your healing. So it kinda made me nervous one time that I was even thinking of consulting or running to the the doctor. So if you are short of cash, it will make you feel guilty that you are toying of using your Visa card. Your faith is in your Visa not in God. So if you have some need like a wish for a better life, you'd better be finding your joy in the things of God or he will curse you. You shouldn't be having such an ambition. Don't get me wrong but there is some truth and not so true misuse of this Scripture.

Pressure. That was all I could remember and it brought condemnation to my soul.
Faith got turned to a work, a result of the Law rather than the Gospel.

Little did I know that the verse was saying something else. I hate it when some minister mishandles the Scripture and I was stupid enough to believe him. I feel short changed.

Today when I see that verse, I take 'faith' not as a generic principle but very specific faith. I take that verse now to mean that the just shall live his life in faith in the Gospel. Daily life is in the state of repentance, that he sees himself a loss doomed sinner but he wishes only to be forgiven for the sake of Christ, his atoning sacrifice for his sins.

5 comments:

Acroamaticus said...

Good point, Lito.
That's why Lutheran pastors still study the original Biblical languages in seminary, at least to the point of having a working knowledge of them - we don't want to shortchange our people. Handling the Word of God is an awesome responsibility.

L P said...

Pr. M.

I learned a lot from my pastor most of them false, the bad thing is I passed them on. The blog is an attempt to undo and be my repentance.

Like he hammered on us to be all for Jesus, then I learned, actually it is the reverse, I now see Jesus being all for me.

Lutherans pastors are the most careful ministers I have seen, so thank you for the serious handling of God's word.

LPC

Steve Martin said...

LPC,

The airwaves here in the U.S. are flled with that kind of baloney from "preachers".

Self-focused idolatry seems to be the norm here.

I guess it is the norm just about everywhere.

And when I am at my worst, I can easily fall back into it also.

Good Law/gospel preaching by pastors is hard to find. But it is what we truly need.

Doorman-Priest said...

It is an awesome responsibility.

L P said...

Correct.

James 3:1[ The Untamable Tongue ] My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.