Here's a little follow-up on the entry on 1 John 3:16-18 that I wrote yesterday-
When I was in college, The History of Modern Philosophy was a difficult but fun class. The best thing to come out of Doc Meyer's Philosophy class was the revelation that most of philosophy was about philosophers using big, flowery words. Gaining the skills necessarily to analyze and scrutinize such "thick" language was immeasurably valuable for all the other classes we'd eventually take in college, not to mention deciphering all the fine print and legal copy on ads and contracts you're confronted with as a grown-up.
One of the ways we made fun of all the jargon was by greeting each other with one philosopher's challenge (sorry, I don't remember which philosopher it was) we'd see each other and say "Are you fulfilling your 'predicate' today?" A layman's version might be something along the lines of, "are you fulfilling your purpose today?" or maybe, "are you being who you're meant to be?"
A core Bible verse for Lutherans is what we call the Sedes doctrinae, the seat or base of much of our doctrine, Ephesians 2:8-9. Luther emphasized that salvation comes only through faith in Jesus, not by being good enough or by not breaking the commandments because every single human being is imperfect, we're all going to be selfish or stupid sometime. Grace through faith. If you attended a Lutheran school, you had that drilled into you. Grace alone, Faith alone, Scripture alone. Beautiful.
Just like I said yesterday that John 3:16-18 is about "justification" (God's work FOR you) and that 1 John 3:16-18 is about "sanctification (God working THROUGH you), Ephesians 2:8-9 is about justification, and the very next verse, Ephesians 2:10 is all about sanctification.
For 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. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. ~Ephesians 2:8-10Evangelical speaker and author Chuck Swindoll once explained sanctification as setting something aside for it's original intended purpose. On the one hand, I sanctify a keyboard by typing with it and we sanctify a cup everytime we drink coffee from it. We are sanctified whenever we let God set us aside to do what He created us to do.
Ephesians 2:10 makes clear that God made us to do good. 1 John 3:16-18 tell us that our purpose is to be like Jesus, servants sacrificing for others. Not in order to get into Heaven, not to save ourselves. And not because we SHOULD or OUGHT TO now that Jesus has saved us and we get to go to Heaven, but because that's our predicate, that's what God created us for, to be like His Son. Loving, forgiving, healing, feeding, clothing, comforting, helping, teaching, humbly doing what He does in His ministry of reconcilliation. It's not about the law, its not even in loving response to the Gospel, it just doing what we were meant to do, being who we were created to be.