Thursday, August 1, 2013

I'll Do Better Next Time

I recently finished reading Edward Welch's book Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave: Finding Hope in the Power of the Gospel (P & R, 2001).  I found it to be a really helpful guide to the fact that addictions--whatever biological and sociological components may be at play--are ultimately a worship disorder: We worship our own desires and cravings so much that they become our masters and enslave us.  Which, of course, means that there is hope for addicts of all kinds--not in AA, nor rehab, nor medicine, nor counseling, but in Jesus Christ, who died for us to break the power of sin over us, so that we would no longer be its slaves (see Romans 6:1-23).  Jesus sets us free to know and worship the true God.

Anyway, on page 282 amid some practical tips for remembering and applying the work of Christ to our daily battles, Welch paraphrases Martin Luther in offering this tough admonition:
Is Christ always in view when you talk about sin?  Commenting on Galatians 5:4, Luther asks, "What do you do when you are caught in some sin?  If your answer is, 'I'll do better next time,' then you have no need of Christ."  Luther then offers this alternative: "that you despair of your own righteousness and you trust boldly in Christ."

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