Monday, February 2, 2015

Let's Not Cut Christ to Pieces - (Horton)

Christianity Today published an article almost three years ago that is more relevant than ever: Let's Not Cut Christ to Pieces by Dr. Michael Horton (I gave it five stars back when it first came out. It's still all of that and more)

He writes about how the doctrine of sin and redemption is simple, but not simplistic and describes our sin nature this way:
"If sin were just a behavior, we could stop it. If we had done it a lot, we might need some help in stopping it, but eventually—if we tried hard enough—we could. However, sin is not just a behavior. Long before they made any choice about what to do with it, people were predisposed toward same-sex attractions. Affirming original sin, Christians don't have trouble accepting this. We reject the Pelagian reduction of sin to an action that one can overcome with enough will-power. We are depraved (warped) in every respect: spiritually, morally, intellectually, volitionally, and physically. Long before genetics became a flourishing field, Christians have spoken about sin as an inherited condition. Furthermore, we can inherit specific sins—or at least tendencies—of our fathers and mothers. Then add to that the ways in which people are sinned against by the attitudes and behaviors of others, especially in childhood. So even before we actually decide to take that first drink, place that first bet, unleash our first punch, or fool around with our best friend, we are already caught up in the tangled web of solidarity in sin. At the same time, we are responsible for our choices, which reinforce or counter the specific sins toward which we are especially disposed."
He goes on to provide some key insights into the nature of sin and redemption:
"The gospel frees us to confess our sins without fear of condemnation. Looking to Christ alone for our justification and holiness, we can finally declare war on our indwelling sin because we have peace with God... If there is no biblical basis for greater condemnation, there is also no scriptural basis for greater laxity in God's judgment of this sin."
"Unwilling to embrace the paradox of being 'simultaneously justified and sinful,' we reject either justification or sanctification. However, a simplistic view of sin as acts requires as its solution nothing more than red-faced threats or smiling therapies for getting our act together. 'Just stop doing it,' says the simplistic anti-gay position. 'Just embrace it,' says the simplistic pro-gay position." 
(more recently, the pro-gay position is a bit more disguised: Wheaton's gay-Christian counselor)
"Conformity to Christ's image can only be driven by the gospel. And yet it is directed by the specific commands and exhortations of God's word."
"We are all under church discipline: that is, the obligation to mutual accountability in the body of Christ. This is exercised, by Christ's own appointment, through pastors and elders."
"We dare not try to cut Christ in pieces, as if we could receive him deliverer from sin's guilt but not from its dominion, or as Savior but not as Lord. Nor can we cut ourselves in pieces, severing our body from our soul—as if we could give our heart to Jesus and keep the title deed to our body."
He also references 1 Cor. 6:13-20, where Paul draws the analogy of sexual immorality as uniting the body of Christ to that of a prostitute. 
"You are not your own, for you were bought with a priceSo glorify God in your body." (1 Cor. 6:20).

In my next post, I hope to follow-up by continuing with more thoughts beyond Dr. Horton's fine article here.


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