Monday, 16 March 2009

Grace for perversity

I'd just done a study with one of my CUs, a study on Mark 14 & 15 - our salvation due to no good in ourselves, but all in our substitute, our Lamb's life poured out for us, our King dying on behalf of us rebels.

And I was praying as I walked to the train, pleading for the university that God would indeed choose the weak of this world, to shame the strong; that He would show that He is working, not just our natural power. If witness in an established, academic university is strong, it's only because of His doing; but when a university with less academic students, poorer students, more local students - when it stays weak, it looks like it depends on our strength and not the power of the gospel. So I was praying for God to take the glory - to use the weak, because all recognition would go to His Son, not us.

All recognition to His Son, and not to us.

The very next minute I found myself thinking, "At least CU x are doing well. At least in 2.5 years I've done that much - I've got them doing such & such evangelism, and they've had a mission week for the first time in x years - and a brilliant one at that - they're about to do Y, I've helped them to a point where they're doing Z,..." Highly embarassing to say aloud, and takes a while, but I was caught thinking it in a split second. And that a second after praying that God would work so that all recognition would go to His Son, not to us.
"Lord, thank you for salvation in Christ alone, declared righteous by his righteousness credited to me, not by anything in me. So Lord, show that you're the One working, to get all glory. ... PS. At least I can justify myself in this that I've done, Lord."

How perverse and ugly, how deceitful my heart is, that while praying for God's mercy to His glory, I can take that mercy and use it to steal glory for myself. It is as if Barabbas, once freed because of the substitution of Christ, were to say, "Well after all, I was sometimes quite kind to animals." Irrelevant - you were under sentence of death and someone else died in your place! You are free, and it had and has nothing to do with any good in you. Praise God. Your justification, sanctification and redemption are all Christ. My boast is all Christ. My hope is all Christ. For such a perverse, glory-thieving person as me, what grace!

1 comment:

Stephen Dunning said...

This post made me think. Nehemiah was quite prepared to ask God to remember him for the good he had done for the people (Neh 5:19; 13:14, 22; 13:31).

We also have NT verses such as Heb 6:10: For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.

Yes, the glory goes to God, but he is not unmindful of the work his servants put in.

God bless you in your work.