Inauthentic Faith and Social Relations

INxJs can smell insincerity a half mile away. The trouble for them is, they tend to demand pure sincerity if something’s to be authentic.

但是,給別人看的是什麼? What we do in relation to God may reveal some things. If praising God is a duty (as it is, given our position before our Creator), shall we not praise him if we don’t self-consciously feel anything authentic? – though we’ll also give our complaints in prayer, just as the psalms do. If confession of sin is something we must do, will we have to wait until we can be truly, truly sorry for the sin itself and not from fear of hell, and be motivated purely by love for God? If this isn’t what happens, is it all just inauthentic politeness talk, a stifling civil/social code that finally destroys our true selves?

Perhaps the INxJ is tempted to say that all is hypocrisy and all is so much posturing until the heart’s right. Shall I resort to quoting Albus Dumbledore and say your choices make you who you are? No one’s faith is so perfectly pure that the authenticity of that faith ensures salvation: if this were the stipulation, we would all die right now. On our own end – on my own end – I see my own fakeness. What fakeness exactly? Sin itself, whereby even my repentance is as filthy rags except for what God makes of it. But then, justification is not a lie, and that mustard-seed bit of faith, mingled with so much wickedness in the heart, we acknowledge to be from God, and God honours it as well.

And then we let go of that guilt. The forensic imputation of purity is not a legal fiction. We can be free because we know, even though we’re so wicked, that God’s word, not wholly fulfilled now, will come to fulness when his Kingdom is consummated in the world and in our hearts: we hang our destiny, our entire truth and troth, upon YHWH’s faithfulness. Now, C. S. Lewis:

On the whole, God’s love for us is a much safer subject to think about than our love for Him. Nobody can always have devout feelings: and even if we could, feelings are not what God principally cares about. Christian Love, either towards God or towards man, is an affair of the will. If we are trying to do His will we are obeying the commandment, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.’ He will give us feelings of love if he pleases.

Back to human relations, now. Can we demand what God doesn’t? Or can we instead vow to hang the authenticity upon God’s no matter how hypocritical we see ourselves to be, and no matter how hypocritical we see others to be? My rhetoric, taken by itself, is fake and powerless: Adam’s fallen flesh is weak and powerless. But if God’s rhetoric stands behind it (let there be light), what God says becomes real in our hearts and finally in our flesh (and the Word became flesh), and then even Pinocchio becomes a real boy.

Worry no more about your own faith: Christ has set us truly free.

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