Faith And Works In The Christian Life (And My Diagrams To Explain Them)

My speaking slides and helpful diagrams I designed to understand the interplay of faith and works in the Christian life.

I normally post anything and everything about my speaking on if I post about it at all, but this one seems a bit too obviously evangelical for what I’m doing with that blog right now. Ha!

So in fitting with the theme of this Elasson site, here, I’ll break down a bit of my thoughts and developments on this as well as simply share the slides and the ideology behind it.

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The discouraging, damaging lie of “working out a muscle” of “spiritual discipline”

I’m not looking to pick a fight, but I will fight on this if I must. I believe the ideology, and more aptly put, theology, of needing to “work out a muscle” of a so-called “spiritual discipline” is a very destructive thing to believe or to teach people.

What do I mean by this?

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What does it mean to “work out your salvation”?

When Paul told his spiritual children that made up the Philippian church to continue to obey (Phil 2:12), with the added charge to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling…”, he was speaking from a plane of spiritual understanding most of us don’t operate in.

I cannot pretend to understand fully what this charge means — at least not yet. I do know some of what it means though, and even more of what it does not mean.

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Pondering the existence of emotions and the implications of calling them what they actually are

If we are what we believe we are as Christians—intrinsically intertwined physical and spiritual beings—then we must deal with what emotions are as well: spiritual and physical interworkings (and often, problems).

It’s been a few minutes since I’ve posted because I’ve been pretty focused on my work with and in nearly every second of time that hasn’t gone to merely staying alive. For that matter, I have many thoughts I need to work out in relation to both that would fit nicely on this blog roll.

Yet, today, I have an almost seemingly random idea — or perhaps, question — that doesn’t relate to anything but personal development and understanding. This thought has been brought on by ministry, in part, but also by simply contemplating my own personal health and observing the “health”, or lack thereof, of those in close relations around me.

Now by “health” I must, for now at least, state that I’m really only pondering a specific aspect of our health, as we popularly understand it, and that would be: “emotional health”.

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A few of the most vital topics currently being largely ignored by church leaders

This morning I woke up to do some writing for different blogs and purposes but couldn’t shake a few thoughts. When something is lingering like this, I tend to suppose it needs dealt with, and so, in my case, I need to write it down if I’m to move forward. I was and am feeling burdened and frustrated about what I feel are blind eyes and silent mouths by church leaders to a few very practical and key topics in our society.

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Timothy Keller on the difference between ministry and marketplace work and what the gospel does to both

First, if religious works were crucial to achieving a good standing with God, then there would always be a fundamental difference between those in church ministry and everyone else. But if religious work did absolutely nothing to earn favor with God, it could no longer be seen as superior to other forms of labor.

The gospel of salvation through sheer grace holds a second implication for work. While ancient monks may have sought salvation through religious works, many modern people seek a kind of salvation—self-esteem and self-worth—from career success. This leads us to seek only high-paying, high-status jobs, and to ‘worship’ them in perverse ways. But the gospel frees us from the relentless pressure of having to prove ourselves and secure our identity through work, for we are already proven and secure. It also frees us from a condescending attitude towards less sophisticated labor and from envy over more exalted work. All work now becomes a way to love the God who saved us freely; and by extension, a way to love our neighbor.

– Timothy Keller, Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work To God’s Work