Back on Reformation Day, aka Halloween, aka October 31st, the Washington Post hosted a Live Web Chat with Michael Horton (White Horse Inn, Modern Reformation) helping to promote the release of his new book, Christless Christianity. The title of this book was also the focus of the programs during the past year on the White Horse Inn radio show. Horton attained a bit of media attention because of his recent statements critical of Joel Osteen’s theology, who serves as a good poster boy for what Horton calls “Christless Christianity,” but his book and the topic is far more extensive than a mere attempt to pull Osteen off of his pedastal. According to Horton, we all have the natural bent toward some form of Christless Christianity. We all tend to some degree to focus on ourselves and what we do at the expense of God and what he does for us in Christ. But to paraphrase the emphasis of Horton both on the radio and in his book(s), the grace and faith and love to serve Christ comes from the same source as the grace and faith and love that moved us to receive Christ in the first place: the good news of the sinless life, sacrifical death, glorious resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our problem is, we keep falling back on focusing on the Law of God or the various commands of Scripture, to such a degree that we forget it’s primary use is to expose our sin while its secondary use is to only guide believing obedience. It doesn’t impart the grace and faith and love to obey, it merely charts out for the believer what obedience ought to look like. The grace and faith and love to obey, again, comes from the gospel. So any exposition of Scripture that never gets around to the Person and Work of Christ, won’t convey to us the power to live the Christian life by the Spirit.