“Missing the Mark”
This is glorious:
God uses questions to force us to confront our own hearts. He questions us not because He needs to know and understand something about what’s going on, but because He wants us to know and understand the truth of what’s going on. Through questions, God forces us to turn our gaze on ourselves, our hearts, and our motivations. He makes us look deeply into ourselves, knowing that He already knows, and then own up to that which we have either been unable or unwilling to see previously.
But as Christians, we must remember that change is really at the heart of what it means to be a Christian. When we believe the gospel, we accept the truth that we need to change. We know we are broken people whom God is making new through Christ. Not only us as individuals, but we believe that God is going to make all things new. There is also a cosmic change coming.
It is worth exploring, then, how closely related opposite character traits or behavioral characteristics may actually be. The following list of leadership characteristics contains 4 sets of 2 contrasting signs, all of which — counterintuitive though it may seem — reveal insecurity.
But there was perhaps no greater boost for religious choice than the advent of the mass-produced automobile in the 1910s. With an automobile, people could realistically and routinely choose to go to a church somewhat distant from their home, going across town or even to another town to attend a congregation of their liking. Trueman notes that this development made effective church discipline nearly impossible. Even if someone was disfellowshipped, they could just move on to the next church “down the road,” often one of the same denomination.
A moment’s reflection explains why. If justification is not by faith alone, in Christ alone, by grace alone — if faith needs to be completed by works; if Christ’s work is somehow repeated; if grace is not free and sovereign, then something always needs to be done, to be “added” for final justification to be ours. That is exactly the problem. If final justification is dependent on something we have to complete it is not possible to enjoy assurance of salvation. For then, theologically, final justification is contingent and uncertain, and it is impossible for anyone (apart from special revelation, Rome conceded) to be sure of salvation. But if Christ has done everything, if justification is by grace, without contributory works; it is received by faith’s empty hands — then assurance, even “full assurance” is possible for every believer.
A favorite from the archives:
I’ve spent a bunch of time talking with my kids about matters of the faith and theology. My most frequent question to them is, “Did what I say make sense?” Thankfully, they sometimes say yes, which is appreciated. Where they’re confused, we talk through the points of confusion, or we save it for a later time (particularly if a concept is just too big for them).
I’m glad that my kids are willing to ask these questions. I’m glad that they also put up with me sometimes talking over their heads and are willing to talk about where they’re confused. But I also know there’s a danger in going too far the other way. That is, offering answers that are unsatisfying.
Of being simplistic, rather than simple.