Welcome to Broken Saints and Healing Sinners
Welcome to Broken Saints and Healing Sinners a blog dedicated to manifesting Luther’s concept of “simul justus et peccator” in our lives today.
Martin Luther and the Lutheran reformers defined the reality of sin as a constant part of the believer’s life. This was in contrast to the Roman Catholic theology of Luther's day which confessed the truth of Original Sin BUT then stated that it was washed away in baptism and only remained evident in concupiscent sin, a "tendency" to sin but that is not real sin unless it is acted upon. In other words, you were still clean until you got down and dirty, physically sinning again. Instead of helping one in the daily struggle against sin this idea of concupiscent will only keep you up at night obsessing over dictionaries or the object of your sin.
Wait, that is one of the first things you will need to get used to here. I’m a typical northeasterner and can be given to the broad sarcasm of the northeast corridor from Philly to Boston. You may need to double check that the sarcasm early warning system on your computer is properly functioning and calibrated.
Anyway, Luther never bought into the whole "it is but it isn’t" argument. In his good German obsessiveness to detail it was either sin or it wasn’t, no room for the mamby pampy. Luther believed that thought and action were combined in a single reality called sin. Remember President Jimmy Carter interview in Playboy as he ran for office, he understood this when noting he had committed adultery by lusting in his heart. The Gospel of Matthew in chapter 5, verses 21ff teaches this belief which is where Luther got it, too. "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” To Luther sin was sin and it was real and he had the doubts and nightmares to prove it.
Luther found comfort and richness in Paul’s expressions of sin’s reality in believers' struggles in Romans chapters 7 & 8. Therefore if baptism was the very power of justification then it justified real sinners with real sins, not imaginary nor “kind of” sins. Real sins by real sinners like politicians, union members, hedge fund bankers, drug addicts, alcoholics, pastors and parishioners, everyone including the little old blue haired woman sitting in the next to the last pew, broken saints all, Jew and Gentile, Roman Catholic and Protestant, Islamacist and Buddhist all sinners justified by God’s grace. All healed by God’s grace in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, God healing sinners, “Broken saints and healing sinners.”
Christ justified broken saints, real sinners, in the very midst of the constant struggle to let go of Original Sin and our self-centeredness for God’s sweet embrace and vision of the possibilities of life and all of creation. Therefore one, that would be you and me and everyone as individuals, was constantly and irrevocably simultaneously both saint and sinner all in one not so neatly wrapped package. Being a sinner was to be the very person and reason that God had sent the Son, Jesus of Nazareth, into the world.
It is for Broken Saints and Healing Sinners that I start this blog. It is to tell our stories of brokenness and healing and to celebrate Jesus Christ who loves us simultaneously as saint and sinner. Feel free to share your stories or to ask questions in the comments.