Friday, January 07, 2011

The "Sin-Damning" Institution Called the Church

Why is the preaching of the law necessary in Christian churches? Here's Dale Bruner's response to that question, from the first volume of his magnificent two-volume commentary on Matthew:
The ministry of the law is being restored to our preaching -- not as a people-saving institution but, first of all, as a sin-damning institution. There has been too much "accept ourselves" (or "God-loves-us-as-we-are") preaching that ignores the tough notes of God's law and even of Jesus' gospel. We need John [the Baptizer]; we need the law of God. "For through the law," writes the great preacher of the gospel to the Gentiles, "comes the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20). Consequently, if Christians, too, are to experience salvation from sin, then we Christians must again and again allow ourselves to be addressed by the stinging indictment of God's law. This law has the cheek to tell us that we are the enemy, that the enemy is not primarily other people. The law warns us; it condemns both the spiritually serious and the socially sophisticated in the people of God, the religious right and the religious left. (pp 91-92)
When was the last time you heard the church referred to as a "sin-damning" institution?

It is important to emphasize that Bruner is not calling upon the church to squelch anything, but to unsquelch our preaching about sin. People who are by nature enemies of God must first become aware of the dreadfulness of their sin before they will ever be able to know the infinite worth of a Savior.

No comments:

Post a Comment