Friday, July 17, 2015
That Sinner Over There.
“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’
(Luke 18:10-13 ESV)
"God hates the sin but loves the sinner."
The above statement is constantly contradicted by some Believers in Jesus. Although it is treated as a cliche' and to excuse sinners of guilt one must be careful in contradicting it. It is a common misconception that a Believer in Jesus has somehow became a better person than his or her unbelieving neighbor. How does one explain easily besetting sin if this is the case.
This is a return to the Roman Catholic Doctrine of Infused Grace.
Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, thus accepting forgiveness and righteousness from on high. "Justification is not only the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man.*
This teaching understands Grace as a spiritual steroid which will enlighten the mind and strengthen the will to do good and avoid evil. This is treating the Christian life as if the Reformation never happened. One can almost come away with the idea that one needs Jesus less and less as time goes on.
Grace in its proper understanding is the attitude God has where he is willing, and through the Sacrifice of Jesus, look upon a sinner as his holy child and co heir with Jesus. As a loving child of Our Heavenly Father we certainly will seek to battle sin in our lives and seek to please him. However, we will fail miserably because we are not any better than the run of the mill unbeliever who is trying to live life as a good citizen, spouse, parent, etc.
Infused Grace is not Good News. The previous mentioned idea that over time one does not need Jesus as much as time goes on may lead to impenitence and ultimate casting aside of the faith. Also it may lead one living in doubt to the place where one may also fall into impenitence and reject the faith.
Rather than to fall victim to this fiction we must boldly confess that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves. The good news is that Our Father is overjoyed at forgiving us our sin and cleansing us from all unrighteousness for the sake of the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus. Trust this good news and live in its peace. Amen. †
*Council of Trent (1547): DS 1528.