Practical universalism isn’t very practical. It doesn’t help people become godly, anymore than hiring blind umpires makes baseball more exciting. The umpire can’t grade on a curve. He has to decide if the runner arrived before the ball, or the ball before the runner. But if the runner never arrives, he doesn’t have to decide anything. The answer is obvious. It doesn’t matter how fast a baseball player ran from second to third, it doesn’t matter how sincerely. If he doesn’t make it to home plate, he doesn’t score. It doesn’t count. If you never become the kind of person who wants to spend eternity praising God, it doesn’t matter how close you got to it. You won’t be forced to spend eternity praising God.
Archive for January, 2005
“[There must be] that kind of genuine and deep conviction which breaks the sinner and the backslider right down, and makes him unutterably ashamed and confounded before the Lord, until he is not only stripped of every excuse, but driven to go all lengths in justifying God and condemning himself.”
— Charles Finney
“That is what we mean by cheap grace, the grace which amounts to the justification of sin without the justification of the repentant sinner who departs from sin and from whom sins departs. ”
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
My grandmother’s first language is German, and she began speaking English when the world was very different than it is today. Here are some expressions she uses:
Well, I better hyphenate in my room and get out of your hair.
Hand me a bobbing pin, will you?
I think it’s good to be interesting in what’s happening in the world.
There you are, my little fuddy-duddle, my little cat.
“Be sober, therefore, and awake, and open the eyes of your understanding, and see against whom you fight, that it is not against man, but against God.”
— Hans van Overdam, Martyrs Mirror
“The true convert prefers obedience for its own sake; he actually chooses it, and does it. The other purposes to be holy, because he knows that is the only way to be happy. The true saint chooses holiness for its own sake, and he is holy.”
— Charles Spurgeon, True and False Conversion
First of all, hypocrisy is indefensible. Jesus criticized hypocrites, he didn’t criticize sinners. But we’re all hypocrites in one sense. We don’t live up to our ideals.
However, some ways of dealing with our hypocrisy are better than others. One way is to stop claiming to believe what we don’t practice. As in, I ain’t no hypocrite, I know I’m a sinner.
But something’s lacking there. The other way of dealing with our hypocrisy, much harder, is to stop practicing what we claim we don’t believe. Until I can do that, I’d rather be a hypocrite.
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can.”
– John Wesley