Friday, July 27, 2012

Neo-evangelicalism gone mad?

I came across this quote from a well-known preacher today, and wonder what my readers might think of it?  I'll not mention names at the moment, but he said

'Nothing can separate us [from Jesus] even if we are sexually filthy, and worse, a thousand times a day.'

Is it somewhat worrying?  Is it neo-evangelicalism gone mad?

The well-known preacher I quoted is Martin Luther; and I changed his quote only slightly to avoid giving anything away by archaic language - but you may regard it as simply a better translation of the German, if you wish.  The whole quote is found in Michael Reeves' book 'TheUnquenchable flame' (page 49) which I am thoroughly enjoying as the best entry-level book on the Reformation I've ever read.  It's clear, it's theological, it's funny.  A longer version of the quote goes like this: 

'Be a sinner and sin boldly, but rejoice in Christ even more boldly... No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day.  Do you think that the purchase price that was paid for the redemption of our sins by so great a Lamb is too small?'

And I confess freely that, though I (by grace alone) have committed neither fornication nor murder, not even once, when I read this quote this morning it was exactly what I needed to hear and my poor heart leapt with joy that God should bring this quote to me today of all days, when the weight of sin was heavy on me.  

To quote Luther further, 'My temptation [was and] is this, that I think I don't have a gracious God.’

' Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing!’


Wayne Rowley said...

Wow - the quote of a man with a deep understanding of the grace of God.

I must confess to originally falling into the pattern of thinking 'surely not' after reading the quote, but before fully reading the article. But of course Martin Luther is not saying that it is good to "commit fornication and murder a thousand a day"! Too often it seems I will say to myself, 'how can I be converted and do/think something like that'. As much as I may hate my own sin (though in truth perhaps not nearly enough), worse still is how the devil uses it to taunt me - to keep me from prayer and the works that God may have prepared for me to do.

But worse still (perhaps) is not truly remembering that when Christ died for my sin it was all of my sin - all that I have done and will commit in my time on earth. He knows how bad I really am and nothing that I can think, or say or do or fail to do is a surprise to him!

Of course that doesn't make it okay to sin, but God has promised that I will be free from sin 'when I see Him as he is' - not right this minute. And this same God has promised that I am justified - that my sin is as far a way as the east is from the west! How dare I not believe him!

"Be a sinner and sin boldly, but rejoice in Christ even more boldly..." Yes I think Martin Luther was spot on! All the glory, honour and praise to our Lord Jesus Christ. For he has done it!

Paula said...

I love the quote. I am, however dear brother, surprised that you have never lusted nor hated! For as you well know, the mere thought of fornication or murder renders you guilty of them in your heart. From what I know of Luther's struggles, he may well have committed such sins thousands of times daily in his heart - and the grace of God is big enough to forgive each of us such thousands of sins daily; for which I am extremely thankful.