The Wide Banner of Forgiveness

“True Christian righteousness is faith and confidence in the son of God. . .this faith and confidence is credited to us as righteousness for Christ’s sake.  God accepts my imperfect faith as perfect righteousness for Christ’s sake, in whom I have begun to believe.  Because of this faith in Christ, God does not see my doubting of his goodwill toward me, my distrust, my heaviness of spirit, and other sins that are still in me.  But I am covered under the shadow of Christ’s wings, as the chicken is under the wing of the hen, and I live without fear under that wide banner of the forgiveness of sins that is spread over me.  Therefore, God covers and pardons the remnant of sin in me; that is, because of the faith with which I began to lay hold upon Christ, he accepts my imperfect righteousness as perfect righteousness and counts my sin as no sin, even though it is indeed sin.

So we shroud ourselves under the covering of Christ’s flesh.  He is our pillar of cloud by day and our pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21), lest God should see our sin.  And although we see our sin and feel the terrors of conscience because of it, we fly to Christ as our mediator and reconciler.  Through him we are made perfect, and we are thus sure and safe.

-Martin Luther Commentary on Galatians (3:6)

Into the Far Country

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From The Valley of Vision- a very short, but very sweet excerpt of a prayer I came across this morning:

I am always going into the far country, 

And always returning home as a prodigal

Always saying, Father, forgive me,

And thou art always bringing forth the best robe.”

 

 

Tocqueville Continued. . .

What good does it do me, after all, if an ever-watchful authority keeps an eye out to ensure that my pleasures will be tranquil and races ahead of me to ward off all danger, sparing me the need even to think about such things, if that authority, even as it removes the smallest thorns from my path, is also absolute master of my liberty and my life; if it monopolizes vitality and existence to such a degree that when it languishes, everything around it must also languish; when it sleeps, everything must also sleep; and when it dies, everything must also perish?”

Alexis De Tocqueville- Democracy in America

Tocqueville Continued. . .

A Tocqueville 2 for 1 deal.  Two ideas to ponder for the price of one post.

The way I see it, two opposing narratives are put forth regarding the most fundamental principle or virtue that guides America.  The first says she is founded on liberty, while the second argues that America’s chief virtue is equality.   And while both may be found within our founding charter- only one can reign supreme.  After all, all things are not equal.  Equality, therefore, will always require personal, private and invasive government intervention and can only be fully realized at the expense of individual freedom.

It is certain that despotism ruins men more by preventing them  from producing than by taking the fruits of production away from them. . . Freedom, on the contrary, begets a thousand times more goods than it destroys, and in the nations that know it, the resources of the people always grow more quickly than do taxes.”

In this second quote Tocqueville argues that “a time will come;” and yet that epoch he describes sounds so eerily akin to contemporary America that one must wonder if it already has.

When the taste for physical gratifications among them has grown more rapidly than their education . . . the time will come when men are carried away and lose all self-restraint . . . . It is not necessary to do violence to such a people in order to strip them of the rights they enjoy; they themselves willingly loosen their hold. . . . they neglect their chief business which is to remain their own masters.”

Tocqueville Continued. . .

Tocqueville, it appears, may very well have identified the spirit of our oppressive bureaucracy well before it was even conceived:

“Society will develop a new kind of servitude which covers the surface of society with a network of complicated rules, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate. It does not tyrannise but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.” Alexis De Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1835