Wednesday, January 1, 2014

True humility

If only...right?
     It is the greatest joy to watch an endeavour bear fruit both praiseworthy and good, something you have taken ownership of and invested in at high personal cost, and then say "I wish I could take the credit... but it's all God!"  I believe this joy is only available through the humility of an authentic grasp of the sovereignty of God and the working of His Spirit in us to "will and to work His good pleasure" (Php 2:13).  Or to put it another way, only Calvinists know that "every good gift and every perfect gift comes from above, from the Father of lights..."
     We are so quick to take the credit, aren't we?  The only thing we do faster is shift the blame!  Can you imagine the scene in Eden if eating the fruit did what Eve thought it would?  She would be vindicated as humanity's first feminist, and she would have herself to thank for it (with a shout-out on award night to the serpent!).  But instead, Eden is the prototypical horror story about what happens when we presume to supplement God's wisdom, to esteem our own judgment above His, and when we just want a little bit of the spotlight, darnit!  And that's exactly what a synergistic view of salvation does:  God gets most of the glory... He sent Jesus and all that, but when it came time to walk down to the altar and pray the prayer (or insert your own desired evangelical ritual), that was all me, man!
     No, it really wasn't;  when God irresistibly calls His elect and they first exercise the faith and repentance given to them, they really do choose God... because He chose them first (1 Jn 4:10, 19).  So everything of worth in us, from conversion to glory, has its origin and empowerment from God, and we just ride shotgun, where we occasionally get to pick the radio station.
     Along with this tidbit, I also have a heartbreaking episode to relate:  we were headed home from
"Is the dark side stronger?"  "I've got something strong in my diaper..."
church a couple weeks ago, and we had just finished reviewing my daughter's lesson.  I had returned my full attention to the road (who doesn't multitask?) when I heard from the back seat:  "Dad?  Do you sin?"  I don't think I had grappled with my depravity yet that day (ignorance is bliss, right?), so her question hit me hard:  who doesn't want to be the virtuous paragon of righteousness for their kids?  Isn't it "quicker, easier, more seductive" to set yourself up as their role model;  that way, you get the credit for their successes!   But I gave my little darling the only answer I could:  "Yes honey, I sin... that's why I need Jesus.  I need to be forgiven for my sin, so I repent and believe that Jesus died for me."  That's the best we can do for our kids:  tell them the truth that the only answer to the conflagration of God's judgment is the pressurized, fire-retardant foam of the grace of Jesus Christ.  Luther said to sin boldly, and a big chunk of his main idea was that only sinners can be forgiven, while the self-righteous openly mock the idea they need a Saviour (Mark 2:17).  The most seasoned, mature saints must affirm this...precisely the reason why they're mature!  So sit back on the first day of 2014, and relax in the fact that your moral effort (and subsequent failure) has nothing to do with your standing before God (Heb 4:10):  Christ has done it all and gets all the credit.

Photos courtesy of Biblestuff, chaines106

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