My iPod is more of a podcast player than a music player. Sure, I’ve got a ton of songs on it, but day to day, I’m listening to podcasts an overwhelming majority of the time.
I’ve recently been (slowly) making my way through a series of teachings called Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World by Edmund Clowney and Tim Keller. I recommend it, with the mention that I have a hard time listening to Clowney’s sections. They’re not bad regarding content, but I just can’t get around his style and presentation. Keller, however, is an excellent communicator and his sections are well worth your time.
On the way home tonight, Keller was speaking in Session 5 about justification and sanctification. He says, “We tell people, ‘You’re justified by faith’, but when it comes to sanctification, we essentially say, ‘Now you’ve got to get to work.’ ” His point is that we trust Christ, in faith, to save us, but that’s where faith stops. After the “sinner’s prayer” moment, the Christian life becomes something we must work and try hard to live out.
Instead, he correctly states that not only are we justified by faith, but we are sanctified by faith as well. In other words, we come to Christ in the first place because we are broken, helpless sinners. Then we continue to put our faith in Him to live our lives for Him. To remove Christ from the second part is to reduce our experience to moralism. Keller says, “A failure to live a holy life is not just due to a lack of commitment and a lack of hard work. (That doesn’t mean that commitment and hard work isn’t part of it.) The most fundamental root is I’m not living ‘as if’. I’m not living in faith that Christ is my savior.”
I’m not sure why this struck me so much, but there is great comfort in knowing that Jesus has already met the requirements and imparted that to me on the cross. My works didn’t save me and they don’t make me any holier after I’ve begun the journey. Christ is all from start to finish.