What is the Power of the Christian Life?

For Christians who believe God’s Word, the Holy Scriptures and who confess the Reformed faith there can be no question whether we ought to live the Christian life. The question is, however, how do we live the Christian life? From where do we find the strength or better, what instrument does God the Spirit use to empower sinners to die to self and to live to Christ? Is it the law or is it the gospel. Tullian Tchividjian gave an interview yesterday to Justin Taylor about his new book, Surprised By Grace.

In the interview Tullian argued that the gospel of Christ is sufficient not only for justification but also for sanctification: “The more Jesus is held up as being sufficient for our justification and sanctification, the more we begin to die to ourselves and live to God. Those who end up obeying more are those who increasingly understand that their standing with God is not based on their obedience, but Christ’s.”

It’s a provocative (in the best sense of “makes one think”) interview and book. What is the mystery of sanctification? According to Walter Marshall, the mystery is that God the Spirit works freely and sovereignly through the gospel to make dead sinners alive, to grant them faith and through that faith alone to justify them, to unite them to Christ and to renew and empower them to live in conformity to his holy will revealed in the moral law.

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  1. The analogy of the law being like train tracks is a beautiful one. I think I will use this analogy often. There is so much misunderstanding in christianity today about the right use of the law, also among many people in Reformed circles. I often point out Q & A 115 of LD 44 and that it is stated in the last part of the triade: misery, redemption and gratefulness. How rich is the HC in its understanding of law and gospel, but I am afraid that also the Heidelberger is much misunderstood in this regard. I remember many professing members in Reformed and Presbyterian churches complaining about too much preaching on law and sin. “I want to hear about grace (gospel), I don’t want to hear every week that I am a sinner, because I know that by now.” That was a ruling elder who said to agree with all of the HC! And is not that the case with too many?

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