Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Future side of righteousness

I was reading St. Paul on Galatians 4, when this verse struck me:

4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

I have read the NT several times but as the old adage goes, it is like a treasure box, you go back to it and there is always something that it teaches you even though you might have read it countless times.

The Word of God assures us that for Christ's sake, God reckons us the righteousness of Christ upon faith in his atoning work, and not before. There is also the future aspect of this reckoning which the Word of God is assuring us - as St. Paul says, through the Holy Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. This future aspect of God's promise happened to Abraham too, he already believed God when he was promised, but there was an aspect of waiting for the fruition of that promise.

Is it not good to hear that it did not say "For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness according to works"?

If God's Word is not capable of assuring us, nothing will do. We will just be chasing our tails with no relief. I struggle with doubts from time to time and I am tempted many times to look away from where I can find peace - God's Word.

I remember a gentleman sometime ago who told me that God was already treating Abraham righteous even before Abraham believed. I objected to this, I quoted Gen 15: 6 And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

He pointed out to me that the fact that God was speaking with Abraham, God was already treating him as righteous. Now, you will search high and low from Scripture and you will not find what this gentleman claims he believes God was doing prior to Gen 15:6. What he means is that God treats people as righteous even though they are unbelievers. Now this is a different category and all we need to do is look at John 3:16. God makes his sun shine on the just and the unjust; the fact that God's sun is shining on the unbeliever does not imply that he is treating the unbeliever no longer condemned and no longer under his wrath. IMHO, to conclude such a thing is a great blunder in logic.

The said gentleman was not arguing from Scripture, he was arguing from reason, rationalizing what could not be sustained.

To the point: It is then the Holy Spirit who helps us wait for this hope of righteousness, such a hope is created by the Holy Spirit once again, through His Word.

God be praised for he supplies what we do not have but we need - hope and righteousness.

God bless.


Steve Martin said...

"If God's Word is not capable of assuring us, nothing will do."

Ain't that the truth!

But people will surely try mightily to muster up their assurance on their own.

L P said...

Anything less than God's Word is building a house on sand.

This continues to be a lesson to be learned and re-learn.


acroamaticus said...

That's an interesting discussion you had, Lito. Without giving anything away, was the gentleman concerned LCA? If so, I'm curious as to where he learned this.

L P said...

Pr. M,

No, he is not from LCA.

The gentleman is from LC-MS.

He obviously is convinced of UOJ.


acroamaticus said...

OK. Thanks L.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the words from Scripture. The Bible certainly is a treasure. This post needs to be seent to the group leading the UOJ platform at the April WELS SCD conference. I have read your blog before, but this is my first commnent.

In Christ,
from WELS church lady/visiting from ichabod

L P said...

Dear WELS church lady,

Thanks for your comments and the linking in.

The more I observe Christian life, the more I become certain that faith is illusive that indeed it is not something that we can cook up. Thank God that He gave us his Word, the Means of Grace where our faith might be formed, hope might arise and be certain again, that Jesus is our Immanuel, God with us. His Word does that.