Tuesday, April 26, 2005


A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' He answered, 'I will not'; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, 'I go, sir'; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?”
The meaning of this parable couldn't be clearer. Jesus asks, "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord' but don't do what I say?"

I think this is the biggest challenge that faces Christians. We're very good about talking the talk of the Christian life, but our record is much spottier when it comes to walking the walk.

I read somewhere (maybe it was Kurt Vonnegut) that men build churches to protect themselves from God. I think there's more truth to that than we'd like to admit, especially for Protestants. We Protestants cling to "the sweetness of the Gospel". It's our shelter, our comfort. It shields us from the pain of looking at the state of our souls.

But I noticed something a few years back. Catholics talk about "the Gospel" as if it included obeying Jesus' commandments too. Of course, as a good Lutheran I would shake my head disapproving and mutter something about them not properly dividing Law and Gospel.

Yet the more I read writers like Soren Kierkeaard and Dietrich Bonhoeffer and George Macdonald and Matthew and James and Paul (yes, Paul), I wonder if maybe it isn't we comfortably orthodox Lutherans who are missing something.

We talk a lot about faith and salvation. What does that salvation look like? My Lutheran blogging friend LutheranChik likes to ask "Saved for what?" That's a very important question, but I think we also need to ask "What's it like to be saved?" And I think the point of both questions is the same.

I'm not talking about morality. I'm not talking about a life free of sin. But I think there's a sweetness to obeying the call of Christ that is nothing less than the sweetness of the Gospel. And obeying that call is nothing less than faith.

1 comment:

LutheranChik said...

I'm blushing at your link.;-)

Actually, it's a line I've borrowed from one of my campus-parish pastors long ago. (Thanks, Jim! It took me 20 years, but I finally got it!)