Right and Justified

No one, on his own, thinks he’s wrong. He may have been wrong in the past, but now – even if just now, just as you’ve convinced him to change his position – he’s enlightened and no longer wrong. Therefore he says ‘I was wrong,’ not ‘I am wrong.’ This is especially true of me: it’s alright to say I was wrong in that forsaken past, but it’s the hardest of things to say I am wrong. And in confession and seeking of forgiveness, no less: the temptation is to believe that by believing the right thing we’re already right, though we were wrong when we were indisposed to penitence. But then:

Not the labour of my hands
Can fulfil Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

The only hope I have is in God to appear before me and to show that, even here, even now, I am wrong in myself, and only he is right. The only hope I have is in God to illuminate me with the fire of Pentecost dwelling in me and thus make me part of the Light. The only hope I have is in God to make me a member of him, that in his being All-Knowing and All-Holy and All-Righteous I, too, may be found righteous.

Related post:
Restoration from Heresy’, on the inadequacy of believing the right propositions.


4 responses to “Right and Justified

  1. This is a really good post. Thank you.


  2. Pingback: Being Wrong and Having Been Wrong: the Practice « Cogito, Credo, Petam

  3. I just heard a sermon by Tim Keller where he talks about how the essence of Christianity is to be a justified sinner. We are sinners, but in Christ we are justified. That is the essence, and most everything else is the result of being a Christian.


    • That’s why this post was sort of a thing against triumphalism. It’s easy for children in particular to think after their perception of a conversion experience that they can really just never sin again. Obviously, this isn’t to say to just give in to sin, but instead ‘be a sinner and sin strongly, but more strongly have faith and rejoice in Christ.’


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