Thursday, June 21, 2007

Truth #6

6 - Praise never brings comfort.

This is one that we need to remember as a distinction between Law and Gospel. Praise has to do with what we do. Fundamentally it deals in the realm of the Law. That doesn't mean praise is bad (there are times for it - this is done well, excellent job) - it just means it works in the relam of Law, deals with what one should do or shouldn't do.

Because of this, praise can never bring comfort. Why? When a person is desiring comfort, it is precisely because all that which they have done isn't good enough. It doesn't matter if you are a good farmer and did everything you could - the crop still failed. What good is it telling me I farmed as best I could. That might elievate some false guilt - but it won't comfort. Grandma was such a nice person - true, but she's still dead, and more over, I've lost in terms of day to day living that nice person. Praise doesn't bring comfort. It might be true, it may be something that should be said for context or understanding, but it doesn't bring comfort.

Comfort, true comfort, only comes from the Gospel. Comfort, comfort ye my people can only be said when pointing not to my actions or your actions, but what God has done. I may be a good man, but I'm not bigger than my problems. You may be well deserving of praise, but that doesn't change the hard facts of wickedness and evil in this life.

That is only done by Christ. Christ is the one who trumps, who triumphs over sin, death, and the devil - over all aspects of sin, death, and the devil - whether it is something small, or something huge. As in all things, the person being comforted needs Jesus. They don't need you, and they don't need themselves (and praise simply points the person back to themselves) - they need Jesus. Comfort only comes from the Gospel.

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