Monday, October 15, 2012

orthodoxy v. orthopraxy

1 Timothy 4:16

16 Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.

In this corner, weighing in with fruit and proof of repentance: good works.
In this corner, weighing in with proof of God’s promises fulfilled: Good News.

You may be prone to see the Christian world divided into those who love Doctrine and those who love people. This may be an accurate assessment of the reality of most of what regularly constitutes those claiming the name of Christ (or at least the name of His church whether He is welcomed inside or not). But it is a false dichotomy. There is no war between right thinking and right living. In fact and perhaps to your surprise, these are not jockeying for position, but rather the most humble of partners. It takes two to tango and when reduced to one you are just dancing by yourself. Don’t mess with the cha cha.

You cannot live rightly if you do not know what rightly is. You cannot claim to have cornered the market on right knowing and not act on that knowledge. One who claims to know the Gospel must live in light of it or he does not yet understand what he claims to know. One who claims to "live the Gospel" must learn that this is a nonsensical thing to say, conforming neither to grammar or logic. It’s like saying, “I live the Headline.” Granted, I think I know what you mean when you say that, but I also think I know what some mean when they say that: They think they are the Gospel or that their life is the Gospel. You cannot live the Gospel anymore than you can live the tractor. The Gospel is a thing. It is a noun. Good News more specifically. You can ride a tractor and believe the tractor will get your where you are wanting to go. You can even believe in the tractor. But you cannot be the tractor. You are not a tractor. You are not the Good News.

So diatribe aside, one who desires to live in light of the Gospel must know and be familiar with what the Gospel teaches.  They must be restored, confirmed, strengthened, and established in the Gospel message. One who desires to know the Gospel and study it’s doctrinal significance and truest essence, must in concert be about doing and acting in response to said Gospel. Matt Chandler said it this way,

It flows out of rest and out of delight in the reconciling work of Christ. Not, "Let me do in order to be," but, "Because I am, let me do."

I want you to live lives worthy of the Gospel. I want you to saturate your mind in the Gospel. I want your thoughts to motivate your actions and that the more you dwell on the Gospel the more your actions would be found reflecting a right responsive love to God’s perfect initiating love.

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