Playing Fast and Loose with the “L” Word

Over the last few months I have written a number of posts (e.g., here and here) dealing with a tendency I have observed in some Reformed circles to downplay the moral commands of Scripture.  The motivating factor behind this tendency is often positive, namely a desire to make sure that people remember that salvation is by grace alone and not by works.   In other words, the downplaying of moral commands is designed to preserve the integrity of the gospel.

However, such attempts to preserve the gospel (while well-intended) can have negative side effects. One such side effect is that those who pursue serious obedience to God’s law are sometimes …

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Is Anyone More Holy Than Anyone Else? The Missing Category of the ‘Righteous Man’

“No one is more holy than anyone else.”   That was the statement I heard in a recent sermon.  At first, I thought I must have misheard it.  But, I had not.  The point being made to the congregation was clear: abandon your ‘self-righteousness’ and recognize that you are no holier than the person in the pew next to you.

Now, statements like that sound compelling at first.  Humble, even.  After all, we are trained to go after those Pharisees among us (usually defined as anyone who appears to be holier than we are!).  Moreover, we have the reformed doctrine of total depravity entrenched in our minds, reminding us that our …

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