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Archive for August 20th, 2018

The tragic rise and dominion of the “nominal saint.”

Posted by appolus on August 20, 2018

The tragedy of the State church that Luther gave birth to and the now tens of thousands of denominations that it splintered into, is that it became a hiding place for those who knew nothing of the new birth, nor did they have to within the walls of their institutions. Infant baptism, participation in communion and blind obedience to self-appointed authority was all that was required to sit unaware of your actual spiritual state. Couple that with a mere mental assent to a set of abstract truths and you have not only the State church and the denominations but also your typical church that is found on every street corner in the land today.

Let me be clear in what I mean by a mental assent to a set of abstract truths. If you can say that Christ is the Son of God, this is an assent to an abstract truth. If you can say that Christ died for our sins on Calvary, this is an assent to an abstract truth. If you can say that there is one God, this is an assent to an abstract truth. If you can say that outside of Jesus there is no salvation nor forgiveness of sin, this is an assent to an abstract truth. You know who believes all of these things and trembles? The devil himself. There is no salvation in giving your assent to a set of theological truths. Salvation comes in the surrendered life that is marked by great change. When a new life is actually born again, then the abstract becomes a living reality. Behold there is an actual new creature that has come forth and we know this by the works of the Spirit in their life. They are radically changed and the lives they now live testify to the reality of the Word of God and the Spirit that now resides within them.

Luther was well aware of this and it presented him with a great struggle. Could he establish a true “believers church?” As he began to dismiss this notion as impossible because there were so few who were actually born again, listen to his words of Luther as he struggles with the complexities of what we would call nominal Christianity ( I say there is no such thing) and genuine Christianity ( would to God we would all be so) …………………….

“If we look aright at what people now do who reckon themselves as Evangelical and know how to talk much about Christ, there is nothing behind it. Most of them deceive themselves. The number of those who began with us and had pleasure in our teaching was ten times greater, now not a tenth part of them remain steadfast. They learn indeed to speak words, as a parrot repeats what people say, but their hearts have never experienced them. They remain just as they are. They boast much of the gospel and at first seek it earnestly, yet afterwards nothing remains for they do what they like, follow their lusts and become worse than they were before and are much more undisciplined. Ah Lord, if we only practiced this doctrine alright, there shouldest see that where now a thousand go to the Sacrament, scarcely a hundred would go. Then at last we should come to be a Christian assembly, where now we are almost utter heathen with the name of Christian;then we could separate from ourselves those of whom we know by their works that they never believed and never had life, a thing that is now impossible to us.” (Luther)

This is an absolute tragedy that Luther is describing. He was now going down the path that twelve hundreds years previously, the church tragically went down. He married the emerging church to the State and its fate was sealed. The formation of the reformed church as a church state entity was no less tragic than the formation of the Catholic church when it threw it’s lot in with Rome. Out of a thousand, Luther could not even muster one hundred genuine saints and this was in the very throes of reformation. Has the proceeding centuries improved our lot in the established church? I would venture to say that now out of one thousand who call themselves by the name of Jesus, there would be even less than the one hundred that Luther despaired over.

Can any of us seriously think that God would take this old wine-skin and pour new wine into it? Be careful what you pray for saints. If revival actually came to what we now call Christendom it would sweep away the old completely, not one stone would be left un-turned. As the grand idol of our man-made temples came crashing to the ground hell would tremble and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. As Christendom came forth like Lazarus from the grave the world would marvel to see a royal priesthood walking in the power and the glory of our risen King. The Gospel would go forth and men would be stabbed in their hearts and would cry out and miracles would follow. The world. would gaze into the refining fire and look upon the saints and marvel and wonder who was with them and sustaining them. Then they would know that it was the Son who was sent by the Father as His love came flooding out and covered the world just as the waters cover the sea.

Posted in Christian, christian living, Christianity, church of scotland, end times, Jesus, pentecostal, revival, the crucified life, the deeper life, the remnant, the state of the church, theology | 7 Comments »