Here are the seven quotes for the week! Feel free to skip the long/boring ones. Read something, though, so that you can quote a grace-drunk theologian in every day life when someone is trying to make you feel ashamed, or like you haven’t done enough for God (or if you start getting overly confident in your own performance – before your little personal tower of Babel comes tumbling down – read these quotes!).
Relax, and feast!
1. Why condemn good works?
We do not then reject good works; nay, we embrace them and teach them in the highest degree. It is not on their own account that we condemn them, but on account of this impious addition to them and the perverse notion of seeking justification by them. These things cause them to be only good in outward show, but in reality not good, since by them men are deceived and deceive others, like ravening wolves in sheep’s clothing.
-Martin Luther, Concerning Christian Liberty
2. Law-Laden Performancism
. . . I hit a wall after years of performance Christianity where, among other things, I thought God’s opinion of me rested upon my progress as a Christian. God was pleased with me, so I thought, when I was getting better at the whole Christian life thing. Was I reading? Was I being hospitable? Was I improving as a dad and husband? Was I becoming a better pastor? Was I becoming a better counselor? Was I becoming a better teacher? Was I becoming better as a worship leader? Was I meeting regularly with other believers? Was I growing in my knowledge of God? And on and on the list goes. I, I, I, me, me, me. The Christian life became all about me and my supposed progress. I believed in grace alone thru faith alone in the finished work of Jesus alone but functionally, I was obsessed with my own behavior modification and the behavior and of those around me. That, my friends, is law-laden performancism.
-Mike Adams, from this post
3. Getting It
The truth of the gospel is so foolish that you have to get it rather than understand it. If you don’t get it, those who do seem crazy.
-Steve Brown, Three Free Sins
4. The Law Cannot Deliver
The law is good. God’s law is good perfectly and describes the ideal human social environment. What I am saying, and what the Bible teaches and demonstrates, is that the law cannot deliver what it promises.
-Paul Zahl, Grace in Practice
5. Sober to Sin but Drunk on Grace
Paul’s sober-mindedness shows itself when he says things like “I’m the chief of sinners” and “I’m the least of all the saints.” Ironically, Paul’s honest acknowledgement of how unsanctified he was demonstrated just how sanctified he was. In other words, theologians of the cross (as opposed to theologians of glory) recognize that sanctification consists of an increased realization of our weakness and just how much grace we need.
-Tullian Tchividjian, from this post
6. Q: How art thou righteous before God?
A: Only by true faith in Jesus Christ. That is: although my conscience accuse me, that I have grievously sinned against all the commandments of God, and have never kept any of them, and that I am still prone always to all evil, yet God, without any merit of mine, of mere grace, grants and imputes to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness and holiness of Christ, as if I had never committed nor had any sin, and had myself accomplished all the obedience which Christ has fulfilled for me, if only I accept such benefit with a believing heart.
–Heidelberg Catechism, Question #60 (Hat-Tip: @TheeRussellD)
7. The Lord’s Prayer is Odd
. . . The Lord’s Prayer . . . is exceedingly odd in its content, in its proportions, and in its adequacy as a response to a request for a religious formula. It begins, simply, “Father” — an opening that to me speaks not of someone with whom we will have a relationship after certain pious or ethical exercises but of the One to whom we are already related by sonship. More than that, it suggests that for both the disciples and us, the sonship we have is precisely Jesus’ own — that we stand before the Father in him (“in the beloved,” Eph. 1:6, to use the Pauline phraseology). We pray, in other words, not out of our own dubious supplicative competencies but in the power of his death and resurrection. Or to put it most correctly, he (and the Spirit as well) prays in us. Prayer is not really our work at all.
-Robert Farrar Capon, Kingdom, Grace, and Judgment