Is There Room at the Cross for Christians?
Christ Died For The Sins Of Christians Too - This is a GREAT article reminding the reader about what the gospel is, and who it's for! There's a helpful (and needed, I think) splash of church history / historical theology to boot. I commend it's reading!
A few highlights (boldface mine):
"The whole gospel is outside of us."
"This 'alien' nature of the gospel is a primary theme in the New Testament: Christ's death was outside of me and for me. It is not primarily something that changes me. After one has been declared righteous by grace through faith, this grace will begin to change us (sanctification). Nevertheless, its changing us is certainly not what justifies us. In Roman Catholicism, and in some forms of American Evangelicalism (like John Wesley's work), however, the accent falls on actual moral transformation. In other words, what makes us acceptable to God is not his external declaration of justification, but his internal work of renovation within our hearts and lives. Thus, through the influence of Arminianism and Wesleyanism, the situation in many evangelical churches is almost indistinguishable on these points from medieval Rome. Some of the preaching in Evangelicalism-certainly some of the Sunday school material and some of the addresses by retreat speakers and Christian leaders-tends to reinforce that old intuition that morally good people are the ones who are saved and that those who are not so good are the ones who are lost."
"The bellwether test as to where a person stands on this issue is what he or she does with Romans 7, particularly passages such as, 'For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?' (vv. 19, 24). Often, those who are not grounded in the Reformation say that this was Paul's experience before he met the Lord. Those of us from a Reformation perspective, however, would probably say there is no better description of the Christian life in the entire Bible than Romans 7. The reformers really believed that the Christian life was a matter of being simul iustus et peccator-simultaneously justified and sinful-and that we would remain in this tension until death."
"...the death of Christ was in fact a death even for Christian failure. Christ's death saves even Christians from sin. There is always room at the cross for unbelievers, it seems. But we ought also to be telling people that there is room at the cross for Christians, too."
"I used to tell my students at an evangelical Christian college that they had never heard real preaching, with the exception of a few sound evangelistic appeals. Their weekly diet in the congregation was often a moral exhortation to be like Jesus... They were constantly peppered with the question, "What are you doing for Jesus?" The preaching was not, as it should have been, a proclamation of God's grace to them because of the finished and atoning death of Christ-God's grace for them as Christians."