Saturday, April 1, 2017

schaeffer on spiritual life

I have been studying Romans 8:1-4 and thinking through the Apostle Paul's teaching on the spiritual life.  In the past, and now again, I have been helped by Francis Schaeffer's insights into the Christian life. Below are some excerpts, first from True Spirituality, and then from his Letters...

"Justification is once for all. At one moment my guilt is declared gone forever, but this [spiritual life] is not once for all. This is a moment-by-moment thing—a moment-by-moment being dead to all else and alive to God, a moment-by-moment stepping back by faith into the present world as though we had been raised from the dead."

"If we are to bring forth fruit in the Christian life, or rather, if Christ is to bring forth this fruit through us by the agency of the Holy Spirit, there must be a constant act of faith, of thinking, 'Upon the basis of your promises I am looking for you to fulfill them, O my Jesus Christ; bring forth your fruit through me into this poor world.'"

"[Salvation] is a single piece, and yet a flowing stream.  I became a Christian once for all upon the basis of the finished work of Christ through faith; that is justification.  The Christian life, sanctification, operates on the same basis, but moment by moment.  There is the same base (Christ's work) and the same instrument (faith); the only difference is that one is once for all and the other is moment by moment.  The whole unity of biblical teaching stands solid at this place.  If we try to live the Christian life in our own strength we will have sorrow, but if we live in this way, we will not only serve the Lord, but in place of sorrow, he will be our song.  That is the difference.  The 'how' of the Christian life is the power of the crucified and risen Lord, through the agency of the indwelling Holy Spirit, by faith moment by moment."  (Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality, p. 79)

"Doctrinal rightness and rightness of ecclesiastical position are important, but only as a starting-point to go on into a living relationship - and not 
as ends in themselves." (Letters of Francis Schaeffer, p. 46) 

"If we would only allow the Agent of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, to lead each individual instead of living in the areas of rules which are man-made and quite apart from the absolutes laid down in scripture."  (Letters, 76) 

"Reality does not just come as a mystical feeling.  It comes rather in the whole man knowing the objective truth of what is, [and knowing this] to be the existence of God and his character of holiness and love. Then, knowing that this is truth and having accepted Christ as Savior once for all, it is necessary to practice the meaning of the work of Christ as a present reality in our daily lives.  This means two things: first of all, claiming the work of Christ for forgiveness for those specific sins we know we have committed; and then--through faith, on the basis of the finished work of Christ, and in the power of the Holy Spirit--looking to Christ, moment by moment, to bear His fruit through us."  (Letters, 98)

"Thus, we cannot start with our human reasoning autonomously and have it come out right. But with the open Bible before us, we do not have to park our reason outside the door. Emotion in Christianity can be right or it can be wrong. We should have emotion as a result of knowing how much God loves us and knowing we belong to him. But the emotion can never be the basis of our faith. The basis of our faith is the content of the Bible; the emotion should be a natural result." (Letters, 124)