"The Correct 'Grammar' of Faith"
August 29, 2005Email to a FriendPrint
Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the Gospel of Christ. Galatians 1:7
A mother wanted to teach her son the correct use of the verb "see" when used in the past tense. She said he could either say "I saw" or "I have seen." But the boy didn't get it. He was next heard to say, "I have saw."
Some people have trouble with the "grammar" of Christian teaching. They fail to distinguish between salvation by faith and salvation by good works. They try to combine the two, like the boy did with "have saw." They end up with salvation by faith and good works. This mistake was once for all corrected by Saint Paul: "It is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). But then he goes on in the next verse to say that God wants us to do good works, not to be saved but because we are saved. God works are the fruit of faith.
Another case of mixed-up doctrinal "grammar" pertains to the nature of Christ's kingdom. Is it temporal-social-political or is it spiritual? Even the apostles had trouble with this, asking Jesus shortly before His ascension, "Lord, are You at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6). Thanks to the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, the apostles correctly understood that the kingdom Jesus came to establish by His death and resurrection was basically spiritual; it dealt with the forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life.
Already in the first century some people got the articles of faith mixed up mostly because they had not studied God's Word. So the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews tells his readers that they "are slow to learn." He goes on, "Though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's Word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!" (Hebrews 5:11-12).
When we diligently study the Scriptures and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth, we will have the correct "grammar" of the Christian religion.
PRAYER: Holy Spirit, lead me into all truth so that I may grow closer to Christ. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)