From Sermon 44: Original Sin
“Ye know that the great end of religion is, to renew our hearts in the image of God, to repair that total loss of righteousness and true holiness which we sustained by the sin of our first parent.”
I was recently telling someone that Calvinism and Arminianism are not theologies as much as they are perspectives. Calvinism views theology from above, that is from God’s vantage point. Arminianism views theology from below from humanity’s vantage point. So for the Calvinism the chief end of man is to glorify God. This is true. For the Arminian (as represented by Wesley), the chief goal is our renewal, our transformation into God’s image. I think they are both right. I think God is glorified when we are transformed into his image, the image of his Son.
Theodore Runyon in THE NEW CREATION: THE WESLEYAN DISTINCTIVE notes that Wesley had a relational and real change in his understand of salvation. In justification, there is a relational change, whereby our relationship is restored. In sanctification, there is a real change whereby the Holy Spirit renews us into the image of God. Runyon points out that this is more Trinitarian than the typical reformed Christ-centeredness.
I was thrilled to discover this in Wesley’s theology, because it fits with my own Trinitarian view of spiritual transformation as the Spirit’s work in transforming us into the image of Son for the Father’s joy. We need a renewed relationship with God, but we equally need a renewed heart that looks more like Jesus. We need not only the forgivness of our sins in a legal sense, but we need the Spirit to renew our sin-ridden hearts into the image of Jesus.
Have a Merry Christmas!
If you are in the Americus area join us Sunday morning at 10:30am. The kids will be singing and I preach a message entitled “He Made a Way in a Manger.” Come and hear the connections between Superman and the baby Jesus. Also don’t miss the candlelight worship service at 6:30 pm that night. See you then…