Thursday, April 4, 2013

I am a Simulist

Simul Justus et Peccator - Simultaneously Just and Sinner.

I am not an Antinomian.  I am not a Legalist.  I am not a "Softy".  I am not a "Liberal" - nor am I a Conservative.

I am a Simulist.

Luther's famous adage is that we are at the same time sinner and saint, and this I hold to be true, and this shapes how I view everything in the Christian faith, everything in the Christian life.

I know those who think that I disdain the Law.  No.  I know the Law.  I see and feel the Law, and I'd argue I do so better.  Because I know, from the Word of God, that I am a sinner.


In everything I do.

No, seriously - that's the point.  Everything I do is sinful, is full of sin, full of vice.  My righteous deeds are but filthy rags.  I always have ulterior motives. Nothing about *me* myself is pure.

And I see this truth all the time - no matter how nice my outward actions may look.  And thus, I am frustrated when I see the so called preachers of the "law" basically thunder on about some issue of the day that attempts merely to make people behave "nice" rather than dealing with the blunt truth of the Law - that you are a sinner, always, and that you will die as the due wages of your sin.  Anything less than that is just telling people to be "nice" - it's telling people to wash their hands (or make their outward actions look nice) neglecting that is it what comes out of the heart that defiles (you know, your sinful heart is the problem - always, no matter how nice you look).

And this applies to me always - even when I write these, even when I preach.  Luther was wise when he would have pastors pray, "and not to my glory or the praise of men, but grant that I might dillegently learn [Thy Word]".  Even now.  Even when I sleep.

I am a sinner.  And will be all my days. 

This is true.

At the same time, there is another wondrous truth.  Christ Jesus has died for the sins of the world and risen to restore us unto life.  This is what He has done for me.  The Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, given me faith, given me Christ who now lives in me -- indeed, it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives within me.

This is true.

Both are true - at the same time.  Totally and completely, without reservation.

Even as I am utterly sinful, God works good in me and through me, because I am His redeemed child and His Spirit gives me life - indeed, gives me Christ who lives no more to die.

Don't tell me what I must do in order to be "good" - because I am not doing anything that is good.  Why would you tell me how to be good - do you not know that only God is good?  No - tell me that I am a sinner through and through, and then tell me who Christ is and what He does for me.  For what He does for me, He actually does.  You don't have to coax or cajole it.  He forgives, He gives life, and I am a new creation.

Granted, until I die, I'm going to see both - I'm going to be simul - both saint and sinner.  I will need to have my flesh beat down, I will need my sin revealed -- no appearance of "goodness" will benefit me, nor will pride in my better understanding of morals.  I am still a sinner, I am still terminal - who cares if I cough less than others.  Show me my sin.

Then show me Christ, give me Christ, that in Him I may have life and have it abundantly.

For did you not know that I only have life in Christ -- not in your advice, not in your plans, not in your tossing of plans and breaking of mores.  Nope - just in Christ -- and in Him I do have life.  Even now.  And I long to see it in full come the Last Day.  I long for when I will no longer be simul but only Just, with Christ my all and all.

But both are true -- and that is where I live.  Show me sin, show me Christ -- these are the two realities of my life.  Give me nothing else.


Nathan Rinne said...


I wonder what you might think of this post I did:


Rev. Eric J Brown said...

There is a point - while I know that I will sin, that doesn't mean I shrug and sin more. I am at war with my flesh, for I am a new creation.

Simul. Both.

Conceding to sin destroys the simul.

Nathan said...

Thanks for the thoughts Pastor Brown.