The Passionate Human Response that God’s Grace Deserves

cower

When I first read Radical by David Platt I thought “YES, THIS GUYS NAILS IT.” And in many places he does make some very good points and provides as a jolt to the system for our need for Christ.  But I am hoping I am not the only one who tried to do the radical challenge and ended up feeling like a failure.  I couldn’t successfully do the radical challenge and quite honestly got burned out by it.

I believe I may have mentioned this in an earlier post but I wanted to revisit something that haunted me for some time.  I am free of the story I am about to give, and all has been forgiven  but I believe that my experience may help someone else who has, is currently, or will go through something like this.  I pray that God will use this to help you in however way He chooses.

I had to write a review of “Radical” in school and I explained in the review that I submitted how God’s grace has set me free from the feeling that I “need” to live a radical life for Christ because He offers me His radical life through the gift of God’s grace.

Quick Disclaimer:  I admire the work of my professor.  He has done wonderful things in teaching the word of the Lord.  This is not a bash on him and it is not my intent to cast judgment on him.  This is not what this post is about.  End of disclaimer.

In the class there seemed to be an underlying theme different than what I had recently discovered, devoured  in the teachings of that Liberate Crowd.  You know, people like Tullian Tchividjian, Steve Brown, Elyse Fitzpatrick and so many others.  I received an A on my paper, but when reading the comments on what I had submitted, a lump in my throat formed and I felt cold all over as I read these words:

“Your paper is well-written with careful critical analysis . . . as I have come to expect from you.  I am glad that on your personal journey you have come to experience God’s grace rather than be caught up in trying to somehow please God.  But, perhaps in your freedom you can now examine the passionate human response that God’s grace deserves.  Yes, His grace is completely amazing and freely given.  We stand and rest in His grace every day.  Our surrender and service are a response to this grace which is so great.  I believe that a true experience and response to God’s grace, and an intimate relationship with Him, will lead us to Romans 12:1,2 where we are commanded to offer our lives as living sacrifices to God.  Not to earn His grace, but to respond to it.  I also believe this is what Platt is saying in his book.”

Lub dub

Lub dub

The sound of my heart beating out of my chest.

The dark room that I am in just got darker.  No doors.  No windows.  Just the pitch blackness of my ability and my performance.

The thought of delivering “the passionate human response that God’s grace deserves.”

The loss of breath.  Fear permeates the air.

The realization that I am not able to deliver such a response.  The realization that such a response means perfection which I am laughably incapable of. I literally laugh at the thought of it.  I can never nor will I ever be able to provide the response that God’s grace deserves.

I find myself backed into a corner in my cell.  Like a wretch I cower at such a demand of perfection.  What do I do?  What can I do?  Is there anything I can say, is there anything I can promise, is there anything I can try other than beg?  Broken by this demand of perfection I cry out;

“Woe is me!  I am a man of unclean lips!  I am undone!  Wretched man that I am!  Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

Thanks be to God, Jesus enters the room finding me huddled in a heap in my corner.  I beat my chest and with tears streaming down my face look into his and say “I am a sinner…have mercy on me!”  Jesus rushes towards me and clings to me greater than the fear of hopelessness in my lackluster performance.  Jesus liberates me from the slavery of Sin and the Law.  My body no longer feels the chains of either but the air of grace.  My joy is in knowing that I can put my hope in Who Jesus is and what He has done and not in the hopeless slack effort of failing any and every attempt at providing the human response that God’s grace deserves.

I can never hope to offer up a response worthy of such a gift.

The deserving 100% passionate human response to this gift of grace was given by a man who was also 100% God.

It wasn’t me and it wasn’t you.

Not the passion of Zack but the passion of Christ.

My response to God’s grace is a victory shout and a 10th Leper offering of thanks.

I have always had an intimate relationship with Christ.  He is in me and I am in Him.  This intimate relationship never loses its intimacy because of who I am and what I can’t do.  This intimate relationship is fixed because of who Jesus is and what He has done.

A living sacrifice does not struggle to earn the grace that it has been given.  A sacrifice is dead.  I believe Paul’s follow up to Romans 12:1, 2 would be found in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

I need to offer myself as a living sacrifice.  That means letting go of the hope that I had in ever performing at the level of surrender, the level of service, the level of gratitude that grace deserves.   My only hope in responding to the demand of the law is in Christ Alone.  Christ Alone is your only hope too.  My new nature in Christ does indeed lead me to want to obey.  But my hope is not in those moments when I obey.  My hope is in Christ who has already obeyed and fulfilled the law for me.

God’s love for me was never dependent on how I would respond to His gift of grace.  God’s love for me is eternal and without conditions.  He pours out His grace over sin zombie me without asking and without expectations.

Grace is grace not because of what we have, are, or will do but simply because God loves those whom He pours His grace on.

Salvation comes to sinners by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone all done for the glory of God alone.

You see, it was never about your glory, effort, or response in the first place.

Show me a sinner who has been drowned by God’s grace and I will show you a sinner whose response is “wow” and “thank you.”

Our failure is not in failing to give a deserving response to God’s grace.  Our failure is in not resting in the hope that we have in the person and finished work of Christ Alone.

It Is Finished.

Funny…grace that demands a response is no longer grace.

Reference

Isaiah 6:5

Romans 7:24-25

Luke 18:9-14

Luke 17:11-19

Ephesians 2:8-9

Galatians 2:20

Matthew 11:25-30

Ephesians 1:3-14

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Published by

Zachary James Cole

Born in Atlanta, Georgia. Living in Atlanta, GA. Well kinda, in a city NE of Atlanta in Metro Atlanta called Sugar Hill, but everyone close to ITP just says they are from Atlanta. Marine Veteran. Simul Iustus et Peccator. The verse that could best sum my life...Galatians 2:20...I am blown away by the Grace of God. What Jesus did for me just leaves me in awe and in thanksgiving...It was all Him...and the peace that comes with that is liberating...now I am free to lose everything because I have everything in Christ.

4 thoughts on “The Passionate Human Response that God’s Grace Deserves”

    1. Agreed. When I think of surrender I think of being “out of the fight” like a prisoner of war. I am surrendering to not only Christ but what it means to surrender to the gift of grace through faith in Christ…accepting Who He is and what He has done. The real question is not so much “now when are you going to be a stronger christian and go conquer the world for Christ because thats what he deserves” but rather “now that you know that you do not “Need” to do anything for Christ because He has set you free…what do you want to do?” so far, i have yet to see anyone who has captured by grace who didnt have a passion to communicate to others who Jesus is and how he saved a sinner like them. My concern is the message that we are communicating to the non or life long Christian…to teach that there is anything that they need or can do to show their passion for grace…hopefully that makes sense…one thing is for sure….if I think I have ever plunged the full depths of understanding the glory of God’s grace I am way off.

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  1. Exactly. Grace is too big a gift for my brain to grasp. Thankfully, I have the mind of Christ! And you’re right. If there’s something we must strive to do now that we’ve been saved, then what is the purpose of the “new creature” identity we’ve been born again into? The sacrifice has made it possible for us to love Jesus in truth, and we love him because he first loved us. He had to recreate us, as it were, into beings capable of a relationship like that. So like Paul, we have that struggle of who gets served in this life: the old man, or the new? If we submit to the new, passionate service just oozes out of us. At least, this is how I understand life in Christ so far…

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    1. As do I! But there is comfort in knowing that when I blow it or dont know that I blow it….my relationship with God is not altered by it…It is finished. it is over, it is really over. And that kind of joy that comes from that kind of knowing does something to a sinner. Truthfully I saw the profs comments as I call to cry out for mercy which is what the gospel is all about…

      Liked by 1 person

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