02 May 2009

Our Primary Goal

I don't want to be obnoxious about this (and if this is old hat to you thanks for your patience--though if it feels old hat, that itself is probably indicative of your need for the very truth I'm mentioning here), but I'm going to keep mentioning things that are currently helping me, and right now I'm working through this question of the intersection of the startling freeness of the gospel and Christian holiness.

How would you fill in the blank? "It ought to be the primary goal of every Christian to ________________."

Pursue personal holiness? Lead others to Christ? Serve others in love? Cultivate the spiritual disciplines?

Here's Luther's answer: "It ought to be the primary goal of every Christian to put aside confidence in works and grow stronger in the belief that we are saved by faith alone" (The Freedom of a Christian [trans. M. Tranvik; Fortress 2008], 55). The primary goal of every Christian.


ErinOrtlund said...

Interesting! I think that is so freeing to truly realize it's not about what we do.

I think if I had to fill in your blank, I'd choose "to love God with our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our neighbors as ourselves." But maybe that's two things! :)

Dane Ortlund said...

Thanks Erin. Good comment. It's interesting, Luther here and elsewhere discusses love but only in the context of the freeness of the gospel. This is b/c he largely equates justif by faith and loving God/not committing idolatry. He says 'A god is the term for that to which we are to look for all good and in which we are to find refuge in all need. Therefore to have a god is nothing else than to trust and believe in that one w/ your whole heart.' In other words the deeper resource for loving God and others is the gospel of free grace.

ErinOrtlund said...

Yes--that makes a lot of sense--I like that quote and it rings true. There's a book called Grace Based Parenting that talks about how even with our children, we are more better able to show grace and love when we realize just how much God has lavished grace and love on us.

Dane Ortlund said...

sounds like a bk written for me

ErinOrtlund said...


Review of the book on the Between Two Worlds blog.