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Confession: I am narrowminded

13 Jul

And contrary to the words in this first picture, that is a good thing.  Confession not as in “mea culpa” but as in “believe, teach, and confess”.

What do I mean specifically?  Well, not that pursuing knowledge in areas such as modern science, the liberal arts, or philosophy is a bad thing (otherwise I would not have this blog, neglected though it is) – these are of the things mentioned in Philippians 4:8.

I mean this: narrow gates (Matt 7:14) require appropriately narrow minds.

These minds know this by faith: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

I.e. Jesus, the most inclusive yet exclusive man who ever existed – the God-Man and Savior of the whole world.

Not only this, but I’ve noticed something in some of my blog conversations with others who claim Christ.  With Luther, they are more than eager to call themselves sinners when it comes to their original sin, or sin nature.  From the Smalcald Articles:

36]This repentance is not piecemeal [partial] and beggarly [fragmentary], like that which does penance for actual sins, nor is it uncertain like that. For it does not debate what is or is not sin, but hurls everything on a heap, and says: All in us is nothing but sin [affirms that, with respect to us, all is simply sin (and there is nothing in us that is not sin and guilt)]. What is the use of [For why do we wish] investigating, dividing, or distinguishing a long time? For this reason, too, this contrition is not [doubtful or] uncertain. For there is nothing left with which we can think of any good thing to pay for sin, but there is only a sure despairing concerning all that we are, think, speak, or do [all hope must be cast aside in respect of everything], etc.

37] In like manner confession, too, cannot be false, uncertain, or piecemeal [mutilated or fragmentary]. For he who confesses that all in him is nothing but sin comprehends all sins, excludes none, forgets none. 38] Neither can the satisfaction be uncertain, because it is not our uncertain, sinful work, but it is the suffering and blood of the [spotless and] innocent Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world.

39] Of this repentance John preaches, and afterwards Christ in the Gospel, and we also. By this [preaching of] repentance we dash to the ground the Pope and everything that is built upon our good works. For all is built upon a rotten and vain foundation, which is called a good work or law, even though no good work is there, but only wicked works, and no one does the Law (as Christ, John 7:19, says), but all transgress it. Therefore the building [that is raised upon it] is nothing but falsehood and hypocrisy, even [in the part] where it is most holy and beautiful.

All well and good.  But note what directly follows:

40] And in Christians this repentance continues until death, because, through the entire life it contends with sin remaining in the flesh, as Paul, Rom. 7:14-25, [shows] testifies that he wars with the law in his members, etc.; and that, not by his own powers, but by the gift of the Holy Ghost that follows the remission of sins. This gift daily cleanses and sweeps out the remaining sins, and works so as to render man truly pure and holy.

This part dealing with actual sins evidently does not grab them so much (this part is actually quoted in full in the Formula of Concord as well: Solid Declaration, part 2, On Free Will)

The Apostle Paul, as we might recall, had quite grave things to say in relation to this (see Gal. 5:19-21, I Cor. 6:9-11, and Eph. 5:3-7).  Do not be deceived indeed!  If God makes you aware of these sins in your life, agree with and believe His word – and do so with His forgiveness even more! (or, hopefully, you will be loved enough for this to happen!)

Finally, this is how Luther closes this part of the Smalcald Articles (Part III, Article III, Penitence):

43] It is, accordingly, necessary to know and to teach that when holy men, still having and feeling original sin, also daily repenting of and striving with it, happen to fall into manifest sins, as David into adultery, murder, and blasphemy, that then faith and the Holy Ghost has departed from them [they cast out faith and the Holy Ghost]. For the Holy Ghost does not permit sin to have dominion, to gain the upper hand so as to be accomplished, but represses and restrains it so that it must not do what it wishes. But if it does what it wishes, the Holy Ghost and faith are [certainly] not present. For St. John says, 1 John 3:9: Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin, … and he cannot sin. And yet it is also the truth when the same St. John says, 1:8: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

Deliver us from our sin and sins, O Christ.  If we fail, may this (see #69) be true of us.

Make our minds narrow in You.

Amen.

(for more narrowmindedness as regards the Law of God, see here, here, and here)

Image credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/90417577@N00/3082337794 and http://www.flickr.com/photos/85016786@N00/260579134

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Posted by on July 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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