The Calvinist, or as they prefer to be called, Reformed, branch of the Christian family likes to harp on no one being righteous. They love to quote Isaiah
(Isaiah 64:6 KJV) But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.They ignore other passages in Isaiah such as,
(Isaiah 3:10 KJV) Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.They ignore how we are constantly called on to be righteous and we are called righteous. This creates a cognitive dissonance in me. When I do a simple word search on “righteous” and “righteousness” in the Bible I find clear teaching that it is not only possible, it is required.
Think of the process of producing stainless steel. It starts as red or orange dirt or rock. The valuable iron is separated from the dirt and dross. Then the refining really begins. When you refine iron into steel and make it into stainless steel it becomes an alloy that really resists rust. That is our condition when we have been sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Stainless steel is mainly the element iron, but it has added elements to transform it and change its response to water. In the same way our inner core has been transformed. We now have a natural resistance to rust, or in spiritual terms, sin. Does that mean that stainless steel will not rust? No. It can still happen if you abuse it enough but it means that it will resist rust. Does that mean that the righteous cannot sin? Same answer.
Don’t settle for less than resistant to corruption. Don’t worry if you are not perfect in all ways. God works with real, live people in real, live situations. He has the patience and love to melt, mold or wait depending on what is needed.
This might be a good place to remind you about the verses of the Christmas carols that are often skipped. Here is the third verse of “Joy to the World.”
No more let sin and sorrow grow,As Robin might say to Batman, “Holy Righteousness!”
Nor thorns infest the ground.
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as the curse is found.
homo unius libri
I think the problem comes from people choosing the two extremes, either pretending to be sinless, or else incapable of resistance. I once told a younger fellow Christian that anywhere two verses of scripture seemed to disagree, it was usually the result of imperfect understanding, but that the truth for the average person often lays somewhere in the middle. He then smiled and asked if that meant that I was a "middle of the road" Christian. I replied "only when that's where the truth is."ReplyDelete
Good response. Sometimes the middle of the road is the best place to stay out of the ditch.ReplyDelete
No matter which understanding you have of this issue the person who is following Jesus will be okay. It is a family squabble, or it should be.
Grace and peace.