Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Wrong-headed question

When I find myself wondering whether my allegiance is enough, I am forced to remind myself that this is to ask the wrong question. Indeed, those who are concerned enough to ask it are probably those who are in the least danger of a lack of allegiance—although they may be drawing nigh to a risky legalism. To seek to quantify or develop a set of hard and fast rules by which one could measure sufficient loyalty is antithetical to the gospel—indeed, it is precisely this rule—based approach that causes Paul so much consternatlon in his polemic against works of law. Enacted loyalty is required as the Holy Spirit empowers us, and this enacted loyalty means a settled intention and truly changed bodily behavior. But a personalized description of how much loyalty is necessary for me or for you is not only impossible; it is wrongheaded.

Allegiance cannot be quantified or enumerated. How would you feel if you were getting married and your spouse wanted a list of rules issued in advance describing how far he or she could go sexually in a relationship with another before it would be considered cheating? Or what, if you were a soldier during wartime, would your general think if you wanted a list defining how much military aid you could give to the opponent before it would be considered treason? The desire for an enumerated list is often indicative of one of two things: either a failure to know and trust the goodness of Jesus the king or a what—can-I-get—away—with orientation.—Matthew Bates in Salvation by Allegiance Alone, 124

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