Friday, September 1, 2017

39 Articles—Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude (5)

Article 13 of the Thirty-Nine Articles is one of the three consecutive articles that set out human works in their relation to salvation in Christ. We saw last time how Article 12 deals with the significance of good works of believing Christians in light of the gospel. Article 13 continues now in the condemnation of a way of thinking of human status and capability before God. And Article 14 discusses Roman Catholic "works of supererogation."
The language of article 13 and 14 may seem alien to us when they speak of “the School-authors,” “grace of congruity,” and “works of supererogation” (try saying, “supererogation” 5x fast!). But they are, in fact, the articles you hear each time you present the gospel to the unconverted: “But I am a good enough person, and God is a God of love. I am sure he will accept me” or “My grandma is up there, she’ll make sure I get in.” It is referenced in the brief eulogies we’ve all heard at their funeral and memorial services. A minister or a family member talks of how good the deceased was. Then they trail off vaguely into how they are “in God’s love now” or "in a better place." Conclusion: the gospel is about weighing up the good and bad in your life. And being more good than bad makes you fit for heaven and being extra good or very religious (my grandma went to Mass every day!) will somehow or in some way see you through too.

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