"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)


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  • « How To Deal With Church Members Attracted to False Teaching? | Main | On this Independence Day »

    How a Right Understanding of the Doctrine of the Fall Can Promote Love

    Jesus identifies with the needy such that whatever is done to or for them, He takes as having been done to Himself. Among other things, to be a disciple of Jesus means, by the grace of God, we must, not only consider this in theory, but do it. This standard is so high that we usually fall woefully short of it, especially when we fail to treat other people as we would have them treat us.

    A helpful doctrine to appeal to in this regard is the doctrine of the Fall. Martin Luther was well known for having said that redeemed Christians are "Simul Iustus et Peccator" or "At the same time righteous and a sinner". Although Christ has broken our bondage to sin, we are still susceptible to sins in which we don't treat others as we should. Gossip, as one example, misapprehends the reality that every day you and I (and everyone else), could easily have plenty of fodder that could be a matter of public gossip. Just consider many of the thoughts and desires you had this week, and what if they were to be projected on a screen for all to see? All of us would be ashamed. What if your family and neighbors could see everything you have thought? Why is this worth considering? Because every time we gossip and belittle, criticize and disparage others what we are doing is postulating that others have sin or weaknesses that you regard as not having in yourself. And when we do this are we taking our own sin seriously? We think ourselves too highly. The fact that we continually and desperately need the gospel as much as any other should therefore keep us humble as we consider any good gifts we have. Keeping this in mind, especially when you are communicating the gospel, will drive up your empathy to others, since we are a needy people.

    Related Resources
    Love or Die: Christ's Wake-up Call to the Church by Alexander Strauch
    The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God by D.A. Carson
    How to Love Difficult People: Receiving and Sharing God's Mercy (CCEF)

    Posted by John on July 3, 2009 01:40 PM


    great point, thanks for the reminder.

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