I love the doctrine of justification by faith. Understanding it aright saved my Christian life and I've been banging on about the importance of it in this blog for a while now. It was a breath of fresh air to this moralistic/legalistic evangelical. You see, I've always been attracted to Pharasaism. I loved the idea of beating people, especially at religion. So if I could out pray them, out fast them, out give to the poor them(!), etc I'd give it a right good try. The appeal of legalism from the outset of my faith-awakening was overpowering.
Soon after my conversion, I read "Why Revival Tarries" by Leonard Ravenhill. As he spoke of the church's "overstating the Sovereignty of God and blundering on in a state of stagnant dispensationalism" as a reason for revival tarrying, I was filled with incredible zeal. I resolved to pray for an hour every day and planned to make it to two hours eventually. Who knows, I might even get 'the anointing'. I smashed many of my non-Christian music CDs with a hammer (while looking down on those who didn't), quoted the KJV to my friends (I was 18) and stressed the importance of healing, signs and wonders. I genuinely thought I was some sort of prophetic witness to the church (could I be one of the two from Revelation?). In short, I was a tool.
It took a couple of years for the Lord to show me the error of my ways. Even when embracing a Calvinistic soteriology, I was still stuck in a pietist rut. I believed forgiveness came by faith, but God still needed 'stroked' by a weekly fast and daily devotions. Anyhow, my Reformed conversion taught me the error of my ways. There's only one sold-out victorious Christian and his name is Jesus. Only by resting in him through faith and hiding our pathetic lives in him will we be able to please God. Yet it is important to note that, as Ephesians 2 says, while we are not saved BY good works we are certainly saved FOR good works.
Over the next wee while I'm going to post on sanctification. A recent comment from Michael suggested I do this, and in a spirit of the fear of the Lord/Michael, I'm going for it! Posts will cover the different senses in which Scripture speaks of sanctification, our role and God's role in sanctification, apostasy, the antecedent necessity of justification, Christ-like motivation and maybe some other stuff too.