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Friday, June 28, 2002
- And that's the gospel of Christ -
It so happens that if you look for an answer, it can be found - sometimes very quickly. Last night at our discipleship training, we discussed and article by Tim Keller entitled "Gospel Centrality." The main point of the article is that we, as humans, have three ways of reacting to any given situation: moralistically, hedonistically, or by holding fast to the gospel. The first two are forms of idolatry, meaning that we either follow rules or seek pleasure because we feel that we must control our own lives. Though different in nature, they stem from the same root: a distorted view of God and a denial of sin.

In contrast, there is the gospel-centered reaction (the gospel defined as "You are more sinful than you ever dared to imagine. You are more loved that you ever dared to hope.) However, it is important to note that holding fast to the gospel does not mean trying to find a happy medium between moralism and hedonism. A gospel-centered reaction is rooted in our allowing Jesus to control our lives, trying neither to justify myself nor to decide what is best for me.

The second half of the article contained many examples of how these three approaches are used in a plethora of situations. I want to include one of them since I think this all makes more sense as it is applied.
1. Approach to discouragement. When a person is depressed, the moralist says, "you are breaking the rules - repent." On the other hand, the relativist [hedonist] says, "you just need to love and accept yourself." But (Assuming there is no physiological base of the depression!) the gospel leads us to examine ourselves and say, "something in my life has become more important than God, a pseudo-savior, a form of works-righteousness." The gospel leads us to repentance, but not merely setting our will against superficialities will be addressed instead of the heart. The moralist will work on behavior and the relativist will work on the emotions themselves.

Anyway, I though the article was well-worth the read. Let me know if you need help finding it.

posted by Jamie 4:31 PM

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Thursday, June 27, 2002
- Who will save me from this body of death? -
Recently I have been self-debating the line between grace and personally responsibility - not that I hope to ever find a definitive line, but I do hope to understand this better. Take something as common as impatience - am I to strive to become less impatient or am I to wait for God to make me impatient. I do know that, whatever I accomplish, it is done by God strengthening me to do so, however there is a passive and an active approach to this and I am not sure which is the better. Do I berate myself and try harder? Then it seems that I am hoping in my own strength - and I cannot berate God for he is good and my sin is not the fault of his. The best conclusion I can come to is that I confess my sin before the throne and recognize my creaturely status before the creature. Then I must plead that he would renew me so that I could put away such things as impatience especially because he has been so patient with me.

My debate has been what my focus should be after these. If my focus is on God's mercy, am I not forgetting his commands of obedience? If my focus is not to be impatient ever again, am I not setting obedience above grace? Perhaps there is a third option of focusing at once on both God's infinite mercies and my desire (and requirement) of being truly obedient, but how can we be equally reliant on both grace and obedience?

posted by Jamie 10:39 AM

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