The fact that we’re saved by grace should keep us from being too culturally narrow. Legalism and insecurity, thinking we have to earn our salvation, leads people to take hold of cultural forms and turn them into principles. We really want to be assured we’re right with God so we add rules that aren’t in the Bible so we can do something to assure ourselves that our salvation is secure. The gospel frees us from that. At the same time, just as we are saved by faith alone, we’re saved for holiness. There’s a new desire to please God. You don’t just live any way you want. That balance between legalism and antinomianism has implications for how we do ministry. It should lead us to be both flexible in the way in which ministry is shaped—not rigid, not too traditional—but at the same time still very afraid of offending God, of grieving and dishonoring the One who saved us. It leads us to be more careful, to honor the past. It prevents us from being either too institutional or anti-institutional. It keeps us from being too contextualized or under-contextualized. The gospel brings a wonderful balance.
Our problem is this: we usually discover him within some denominational or Christian ghetto. We meet him in a province and, having caught some little view, we paint him in smaller strokes. The Lion of Judah is reduced to something kittenish because our understanding cannot, at first, write larger definitions.
RIP – Calvin Miller
For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”
“Citizenship in a Republic,”
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910