Sunday, June 7, 2009

Who is Spiritual (Part 4)

(Continuing the discussion based on Philippians 3:2-14. Here are links to Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.)

In verses 8-11 Paul expands on step two to being spiritual: learning to “glory in Christ Jesus.” Paul learned, as he described in Romans 7, that no matter how hard he tried he could not keep the inner spirit of the law of God. Even if his outward actions were correct, his own heart betrayed him. He then got the revelation of the Gospel, the same thing Luther learned from Paul. As Paul said in Romans 1:16-17, God’s righteousness is not His righteous judgement of us, but instead it is His making us righteous in and through Christ

Martin Luther saw that the proper evangelical use of the Law is to drive us to desperation (Romans 3:19-20) so as to drive us to the Cross. At the cross we can get the revelation that God's righteousness is not our condemnation, but our justification. This is true because by His grace He is both "Just and our Justifier" (Romans 3:26): i.e. He makes us righteous by taking our punishment (penal substitution) and giving us His righteousness.

If you get this revelation and understanding of what Jesus has done for you, then you truly will glory in Him - He will be the center of your life forever.

If the basic principle of all man based religion and forms of spirituality is “If I, then God, as we said yesterday, then the basic principle of Gospel spirituality is “God has, therefore I.” The Gospel is about response to grace apart from human initiative. This is an exact opposite to all human spiritualities and religions that focus on men taking the initiative to reach out to and influence the supernatural.

The Gospel is always about response, not initiation. The initiative is always with God; He stays in control. We respond to His gracious initiative. We do not control Him, we respond to his love. How humbling! God the Divine Spirit is neither male not female. But in a sense, as C. S. Lewis said, He is so masculine that we are all female in response.