Sunday, August 06, 2006

Thomas a Kempis

What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you displease the Trinity? Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous life makes him pleasing to God. I would rather feel contrition than know how to define it. For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God? Vanity of vanities and all is vanity, except to love God and serve Him alone.
-- Thomas a Kempis

Is there a greater danger for the Christian than mistaking our learning about God for knowing Him better? I know I must be prayerful, not only that I should not imagine that my little knowledge equals wisdom (that is quickly dispelled, I only have to remember how much more my teachers know than I do) but even more that I should never mistake my little learning for increased godliness. knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Though I learn my smattering of Greek and Hebrew, and can write essays on the intricacies of justification or argue my beliefs on the Trinity so what? It is all worthless vanity, dust and ashes, so long as there remains in my heart any pride in my own self-righteousness or any disdain towards a fellow human being. Increasing my theological vocabulary is a waste of time if it does not make me more eager to get down on my knees to serve and pray. Grace not works is not a formula, but the only real life there is ..

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