It’s been remarkable to see the relativists head for the hills in light of the Penn State sex abuse scandal. The moral outrage has been loud and immense (and justified). I’ve heard no one appeal to diversity, multiculturalism, situational histories, or different ways of being. Every person I’ve talked to, every sports talk commentator I’ve heard, every article I’ve read—they’ve all said the same thing: the abuse was wrong, the cover-up was wrong, the priorities of the school were wrong. Shame on everyone.
Which has me wondering why some sins are so obviously scandalous in our culture and others are not. The difference, as best as I can figure it, has to do with victimization.
This week’s selections includes Dr. Sproul’s The Last Days According to Jesus teaching series (download), 1-2 Peter (eBook), and The Expository Genius of John Calvin by Steven Lawson (hardcover), among many other items. Sale ends at midnight (Eastern Time). By the way, Lawson’s book is still available for the Kindle for 99¢.
How can you know if you are making progress in your sanctification and how can you know how much progress you are making? Is sanctification something that can be measured?
Paul believed that sanctification has degrees. You can grow. He prays that “your love may abound more and more” (Phil. 1:9). He says the Thessalonians are pleasing God and tells them to “do so more and more” (1 Thess. 4:1). He tells the Corinthians that God will “increase the harvest of your righteousness” (2 Cor. 9:10). And prays, “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all” (1 Thess. 3:12).
But the New Testament does not quantify these degrees. “More and more” and “increasing” are discernible but not measurable. That is, while length is quantified in inches and feet. Holiness does not have similar measuring units.
Tullian Tchividjian, from his upcoming book, Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free:
“Good people get good stuff. Bad people get bad stuff.” Or as the Beatles sang with their last gasp on Abbey Road, “In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
Now I love John, Paul, George, and Ringo, but I take issue with them here, and I know I am in the minority. After all, the world runs on retribution. “This for that” comes as naturally to us as breathing. Moralists interpret misfortune as the karmic result of misbehavior. This for that. “You failed to obey God, so He gave your child an illness.” Such rule-based economies of punishment and reward may be the default mode of the fallen human heart, but that doesn’t make them any less brutal!