“Protestants say we’re saved by faith while Catholics say we’re saved by good works. But what does Scripture say? The Bible is clear – it’s neither. And it’s both. At the very same time.” Marcellino D’ambrosio
I don’t think I was born with a Reformation sized hole in my soul. To be honest, I don’t think anyone is.
God’s word makes us stable and fruitful (cf. Psalm 1). The word of God is alive and powerful and completely true (cf. Hebrew 4:12; II Tim 3:16). Receiving God’s life is the point of life. If I have an end game, like Paul its eternal life (cf. Romans 6). When it comes to spiritual things, I’m in tune with Neil Diamond’s “I’m a Believer.”
However, the word of God is not the only thing that is alive and powerful. The cloud of witnesses shows off eternal life. Asking for the prayers of Joseph, Mary and all of Jesus’ right-hand men and women is as natural as asking my wife to pass the carton of milk. We are surrounded, right (cf. Hebrews 13)?
God changes us into Saints in the here and now as He turns bread and wine into His body and blood. As John 15 states, we literally obtain a transfusion of Holiness into our being as we drink of the vine. Because of His overflowing grace, people, places, and things become sources of His grace.
Like any relationship, it’s not a slam dunk. God gives us an option clause until our final hour.
In Luke 12:35-38, Jesus offers a snapshot of those who stay true all the way to the final out of life’s grand game. However, in Luke 12:39-48, Jesus promises disciples a place with the unfaithful if a disciple fails to persevere. The apostle Paul agrees with Jesus. In Romans 6 he writes, “Brothers and sisters: Sin must not reign over your mortal bodies so that you obey their desires.” Paul’s goal for us is to become slaves of righteousness but Jesus informs us the way is narrow and those who endure are few. When it comes to Jesus words I’m a literalist. He knows the number of hairs on my head but He never forces His will on mine.
I was born with a God-shaped hole but it wasn’t something Martin Luther concocted.
Protestants have too little mystery and too much legal fiction. We’d sing Austin Myles, “For there’s a new name written down in glory, And it’s mine, O yes, it’s mine! With my sins forgiven I am bound for Heaven, Never more to roam” and instead of being pumped, it saddened me. Someone from the pulpit shouted, “Do you know that you know that you are saved.” The best I could muster was, “I hope, that I hope that I hope.” This feeling wasn’t a lack of faith but the Holy Spirit guiding me to the truth of the Gospel.
When Martin Luther removed the grey from eternal life, he deprived millions from the truth of God’s life.
Blaise Pascal, in Penses, wrote something a bit more enduring than “Born this Way” by Lady Gaga: “What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself”