Soap Opera

Some Protestants (notably the Reformed) say that no man does good: that even the seemingly good things done by Christians are tainted by selfishness or other stain, so that all we do is sin, sin, sin. This does not appear to be the point of view held by St. Paul.

Since these promises have been made to us, my dear friends, we should wash ourselves clean of everything that pollutes either body or spirit, bringing our sanctification to completion in the fear of God. (2 Cor. 7:1, NJB)

In St. Paul’s eyes, it is possible to “bring our sanctification to completion.” Whatever we may say about his exact meaning here, one thing is certain: he does not hold that literally no one does good! To the contrary, he encourages the Corinthians to bring their sanctification to completion. This sounds a lot less like “sinner till death” and a lot more like “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” God does not command the impossible—not without giving us the help to do it. We could not be punished for our sins if it is impossible for us to do anything except sin. It would be unjust. God is not unjust.

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Posted in Apologetics, Calvinism, Obedience, Protestantism, Sin, Veritatis Splendor
2 comments on “Soap Opera
  1. It seems to me that some reformed have a strange view of holiness, or more correctly, a strange view of God. When they way things like “We can’t even think of God without blaspheming him.” I have to wonder how on earth they can have a relationship with such a God. Everything becomes about God’s glory and his love doesn’t seem to be in the picture.
    Being raised in a holiness church, I have also seen the other side of the coin, where some turn holiness into something that is very legalistic and has little to do with the heart. Jesus always starts with the heart and our actions flow from the changes he makes there.

  2. aquinasetc says:

    Thanks for commenting!

    I think what motivates them is a distorted idea of God’s glory: as though it suffers in some way if anyone does any good thing in relation to Him, even if they do it only with the help of God’s grace. I used to share their view, so I understand it, but I can’t agree with it anymore and I think that it lacks Scriptural support (as this post suggests) :-)

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