Oct 22, 2010
Hermeneutiucs and Sanctification
This is a longish quote, but one I think worth considering.
"If hermeneutics is an aspect of our minds being conformed to the mind of Christ, it must be engaged through the gospel. Any aspect of sanctification, or growth in holiness, is clouded by our ongoing sinfulness and ignorance of the truth, yet we remain secure in the knowledge of our free justification on the grounds of Christ's righteousness for us. This justification does not, as it is sometimes represented, relieve us of the motive or responsibihty to strive for holiness. Indeed, our free justification provides the only legitimate grounds and the most powerful motive for such striving. Likewise, the gospel presents us with the righteousness of Jesus Christ, who, in his earthly life, perfectly interpreted the word of hs Father. In so doing he justified the fallible attempts of his people to interpret the word. The justification of our hermeneutics by the perfect hermeneutics of Christ is the motivation for us to strive for hermeneutical sanctification. We are not saved by good works, but we will not be saved without good works (Eph. 2:8–10). In the same way, we are not saved by the purity of our hermeneutics, but we will not be saved without some measure of hermeneutical sanctification taking place. The ordinary Bible-reader may be completely unreflective about this, but every effort to understand the Bible aright is a striving for hermeneutical sanctification. At the grass roots, hermeneutical conversion takes place when one becomes a believer. The Bible will never be the same again to us because we, as believers, have made a quantum shift from unbelief and rejection of God’s word to faith and trust in that word, and submission to it. There are clear biblical grounds for the importance of exposing false teachings and behaviour patterns that are inconsistent with the gospel.
. . .
"The need to specify a gospel-centred, evangelical approach to hermeneutics arises from the distinctive beliefs of evangelicalism. As difficult as these may be to pin down, we must endeavour to understand them and to test them for their consistency and validity. If Christ truly is our Lord and Saviour, then he is the Lord and Saviour of our hermeneutics."
Graeme Goldsworthy, Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics: Foundations and Principles of Evangelical Biblical Interpretation (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2006), 18–19.