Saturday, April 24, 2010

Growing in Grace

2 Peter 3:14-18 (ESV)
Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. [15] And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, [16] as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. [17] You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. [18] But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
“But grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.” I like this. There is a growth in Christians. I don’t like when this is called sanctification, even if the BOC sometimes talks about sanctification this way. Why? Because it is too sloppy. Anytime you have to start getting into conversations about wide and narrow senses etc. And the other reason is that discussion is always linked to law, and how it is properly used, or not used, and second or third use. And you could quite frankly bore me to death with that language. And you’re not going to do anyone any favors with it. There is also the problem that in the American context of neo evangelicalism, Wesley screwed it up for us royally. The false doctrine that that man promulgated has so invaded the psyche of the American people that you almost have to avoid the word sanctification all together. Why? Because it is a buzzword that now conjures up buckets of legalism in the minds of everyone, unless you are firm to say that sanctification is by grace and grace alone and leave it at that. Don’t describe the in working of the Holy Spirit as sanctification, it will just make people think that their faith depends on what they do, and how they do it, and that they need to earn their salvation. No Lutheran pastor should ever enter a pulpit without knowing this.
But we do grow, and it is in Grace. We grow in Grace and knowledge. And that is a wonderful thing. It isn’t a legalistic thing, it is something that happens to us as our faith is fed by the work of the Holy Spirit coming to us in the word, through baptism, and in the Lord’s Supper. It is his work not ours. We grow in grace and knowledge, faith even, of our Lord Jesus Christ, becoming firmer and firmer in our faith, we then lead others to Christ also, faith is contagious that way.

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