Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Simple, Complicated, Sometimes Unanswerable

Internet Monk wrote a post about dying with unconfessed sin, what it means to many Christians, and how the typical person answers questions about it. I left a comment, not specifically about the issue, but in response to his reply about salvation being "by simple faith alone in Jesus Christ alone". I don't disagree with that statement. I do think that the further along one goes in their faith journey, the more one tries to fully understand the "simple" answers to the big questions.

People are uncomfortable with the concept of unconfessed sin partly because some denominations teach that faith plus works is what you gets you through Heaven's gates--saying you believe counts for nothing if you live like a heathen. For others it's a question of reconciling the act of God's work through Jesus' death and resurrection, with verses that warn of God's judgment, making our election sure, and warning about not falling away. Those are uncomfortable verses to read. Throw in a parable about goats and sheep or Jesus telling others they never knew Him, and you have yourself some nice little conundrums to work through.

Of course, there are lots of people and preachers who like to give out the canned, pat answers they learned in Seminary or from the church they attended in junior high in response to someone's heartfelt wondering. That can be very frustrating. It's along the lines of the "just pray more" answer, or the "don't think about it" answer. It may work for a few months, but it will inevitably pop up again as you try to make sense of your own life and the experiences you have in the church and in the world.

Truth has to be felt and understood at the core of your being before you'll ever really be comfortable with it. It has to make sense to us. That doesn't mean that we can reshape God's truth to suit us, but it does mean that we can't rely on someone else's confident answer. We have to earn that confidence ourselves by wrestling through what the Scriptures mean, how we incorporate them into our lives, and the impact it has upon our spirits.

Maybe I'll take a crack at elaborating on some of those things sometime this week.

1 comment:

Your Hubby said...

I, for one, would love to hear your thoughts.