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Confessional & Functional Knowledge

May 23, 2014 | by: Mike Law | 0 Comments

There is a difference between confessional knowledge and functional knowledge. There are truths that we know in our hearts and confess with our mouths (that’s confessional knowledge) and then there are truths which we know in our hearts and live out in our lives (that’s functional knowledge). Too often, there’s a gap between the two. Lately I’ve been thinking about this as it relates humility and our capacity to sin. Having been born again into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are able to see sin in our lives and fight it. This we know in our hearts and confess with our mouths and yet too often that truth is not lived out in our lives. Functionally, sometimes we don’t fight sin or even suspect ourselves as being capable of sin. There’s a gap between our confessional and functional knowledge, and when there is a gap we slow in our pursuit of holiness and sanctification.

This is where I think that humility will be a great aid to us in following Christ, for humility helps to bridge the gap between our confessional and functional knowledge. If we humbly recognize our capacity for sin, and recognize that we have been redeemed and are being renewed in the image of God, then such humility will have a profound impact on our attitudes and actions. Such humility will encourage sympathy for those who are in the wrong, for we know that we too have been wrong (and will almost certainly be wrong again soon). Such humility will drive us to prayer, pleading for God’s mercy. Such humility will help us to be on guard against sin. Such humility will encourage us to fight sin. Ultimately, such humility will drive us to Christ and he is who we need to bridge the gap.

Christ was the one whom we needed to bridge the gap between us and the Father (justification), and he is the one whom we need to bridge the gap between our confessional and functional theology (sanctification). As many have said, “the strength of faith and faithfulness is not found in us, but in the object of our faith, Christ.”

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