Chapter 5 – The Insanity of Luther
Quotable Sproul: “But we are unjust, and therein lies our dilemma. Luther’s legal mind was haunted by the question, How can an unjust person survive in the presence of a Just God? Where everyone else was at ease in the matter, Luther was in agony.”
Allowing God's holiness to touch our lives - 4 questions
1) “When you look into the mirror of God’s holiness, what do you see? What do you learn about yourself and about God?”
The reflection is not very attractive. Scriptural authors emphasize the futility of comparing ourselves with ourselves – others like us. Instead, we ought to compare ourselves to the Almighty. When I compare myself with others, I look pretty good. I’m usually a nice guy, usually polite, I don’t abuse my wife. But when I look at myself with God’s perspective, I see dirty rags. But of course, that’s when I look at myself if I were not covered by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I’m not perfect and never will be. Instead, I’m sinfully dirty inside. That is why Christ’s sacrifice was so necessary, because I’ll never be able to perfect myself to meet God’s holy standard. Jesus perfects what is ugly and sinful.
2) “What do you do with your guilt about your sin?”
Guilt is a double-edged sword. Satan would love for us to live perpetually under the burden of sin’s guilt. Guilt has a way of oppressing us when used improperly. But, God has sanctified guilt through Jesus Christ and permits it to impact us so we will use it as a tool to gauge our lives. If I feel guilt, it most likely is due to unresolved sin in my life. Sometimes, however, it is much easier said than done to deal with my guilt and beg God for His forgiveness. Oh, how Satan would love for us to believe God would never invite us back to Him after we’ve sinned.
3) “What does ‘the just shall live by faith’ mean to you personally?”
In my job, we have official orders that tell us what we CAN do and what we SHALL do. The SHALL’s are not to be diobeyed; the CAN’s can, because they are more permissive. As the SHALL’s tell me as a professional what I must or must not do, I think the same is true of this passage. But not in the way many think. Because of Christ, I have been justified. Therefore, I am just. The holiness of God has proven that I am filthy, and unable to cleanse myself. And, therefore, I need God to cleanse me. I have faith, because I am justified, that it is only Jesus Christ who justifies me and makes me clean. Therefore, I have eternal life because I have faith in Christ to justify me, since, after all, I cannot do it myself.
4) “How can you worship God for justifying you?”
I can worship God for justifying me because his mercy and justice are simultaneously proven in my salvation. His mercy, because I don’t deserve it; His justice, because it’s justice I deserve, but He has pierced Jesus Christ with the penalty of His righteous justice due to none other than me.