Sometimes I cannot stop my mind from racing. It seems to scurry about jumping from thought to thought – attempting to make connections. Trying to bring harmony to ideas or congruence to theories that seem to be incongruous. I like to think it’s the lost art of “pondering”, but it may simply be the inability to grasp complex ideas! 🙂
In some sense, ironically it was the lack of this that prevented me from being a good student, I think. It was hard for me to process ideas; to think about what I was reading or hearing – I was too focused on getting done with what I was reading or moving on from what was being said to really process it or integrate it. Now it seems that I can’t stop.
Then reason I’m pointing this out is to some how justify why I am approaching this Psalm the way I am.
Once the writer praises God as the creator he goes on to ask for all intents and purposes, one question; “who can stand in God’s holy place?” Followed by the obligatory answer, only those who are “pure” and upright in character.
Reading that, my mind jumped immediately to an article I had read earlier this week in the Internet version of Christianity Today, one on “Justification”. The editor who wrote the article, speaks to the issue of good works as they relate to the doctrine of justification. The crux of what he talks hinges on what he posits as “justification by faith…..(and)…we don’t even contribute faith”. In other words, we are void of anything to do with the process, but, and it’s a big but, once that faith is consummated, it is to be exercised through good works.
Now that whole argument caused me great concern primarily because I believe its wrong number one and deceptive number two.
There is a big difference between these two phrases:
Justified by grace through faith in Christ
Justified by faith in Christ through grace
In the first, I have nothing to do with the “grace” but contribute mightily in the decision of faith. Once that faith-commitment is made I have been “…created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life”. (Eph 2.10)
In the second, I bring nothing to the relationship not even the “faith”. Yet, I have a responsibility to do good whenever and wherever I can because that is what being a part of the corporate body of Christ is about. After all, “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26)
It may be moot to some, but the first thought is active, the second is passive. I don’t believe there is anything about our relationship to God, in Christ, that is passive except for His Grace and even that took the action of the Cross!
Does it matter – perhaps not to you, but it does to me. That is why I am here. If it were simply a matter of “faith” once for all and I contributed nothing than I could rest on the blessed assurance and be content. But since it is by grace, through faith, my heart yearns for that relationship to be fulfilled in abundance and worked out to His glory.
There in lies the paradox. I do nothing to earn it, but through faith give my all to bring glory to the ONE who provided it!
“Who shall ascend….who shall stand?”
Father Spirit, it is only by your grace that I can acknowledge your presence or even begin to think in terms of being in your presence. I deserve nothing yet give my all.
Father, I am especially concerned about my speech right now; Which is a direct reflection of what’s in my mind, so I pray for a cleansing there, that what issues from my mouth might be pleasing to your ears.
May it be.