Agonizomai: A Saint's/Sinner's Prayer

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Saint's/Sinner's Prayer

Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace; but with the humble is wisdom.

The more I press on in the Christian walk the more I am convicted about the matter of pride. I begin to see its ugliness and its pervasiveness in my being. It is a monster that crowds out the presence of the God of all humility. How can I possibly expect to recognize such a quiet, meek and lowly God through the screaming arrogance of my own restless heart?

O how I begin to actually see what God says about me is true! How the Word of His Truth slays me. Thank you God! Bring it on and cut down every lofty branch, bring down every tower, undercut every battlement of my willful flesh that blocks my view of You! Use that sword to kill me, for it is then that I will be made alive by the only One Who can do it...You Yourself.

I must humble myself under your mighty hand, as you have commanded...and I will strive for it...but, in the end, I know that it will be You at work in me by the Holy Spirit through the grace of Jesus Christ that will have the effect. I have nothing that I did not first receive. No power, no knowledge, no will to be anything but what I was. It is you Who are able and Christ Who had done all, leaving me only to walk in it...and even that by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, sent to me by Him.

But again the understanding that I am nothing, that I know nothing and can do nothing...far from making me languid actually motivates and energizes me. The unconditional excellency and unbounded love in which You do all for me draws me through the mystery of the faith You wrought and gave to me, to run after You and to desire that You do more in me than I could possibly hope or think. I am like the man with a load of useless junk in his knapsack staggering towards a distant oasis, tossing and shedding it all, piece by piece, in anticipation of that life-giving stream of flowing water that is Your Own beautiful Person.

This verse contains more than the simple idea that I must be humble. It announces the very purposes of God regarding that which is opposed to Him. For every lofty thought is an abomination to the Most Holy God. It rightly provokes His anger. How can we mere creatures who are so obviously not self-existent not only deny the One Who made us, and Who holds all of creation in His hand, but also raise ourselves up in our own thoughts until we lose all sense what we really are? How arrogant! How despicable! How ungrateful!

I do not excuse myself in this. Before I was saved I was as bad as any other person on earth in this regard. But after God has given me light I am actually worse. My unrepented arrogance and foolish pride is a daily affront to His grace. It is a worse sin than when I was in ignorance of my true condition. Yet grace upon grace is given to those who are in Jesus Christ, that His bounteous mercy and love may be seen and extolled for all eternity. To those to have is more given. Yet from those who have not will be taken away, even that which they have.

The aggravating sin of my unhumbled soul, even in the light of His grace and truth, is a horror more worthy of eternal death than anything I did before I was saved. Yet the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. He fills the cup of grace, presses it down and it runs over in an infinite surfeit that springs from the shed blood of Christ. The excellency of His Being, the boundlessness of His mercy is magnified by His forgiveness of the betrayals in the sins of the saints whenever they repent. His love for them is so over-sufficient, so superabundant that their salvation is prevented from becoming their damnation.

This is what Jesus bought when He died in my place. This is what He knew of me...that I would presume upon the very grace that sought and bought me. And that even God’s anger against that further debauchery was satisfied by the Christ Who knew it would be necessary, to the very last drop of His blood. This love knows no bounds. When He decided to save me He counted the cost to the last penny and gladly paid it. The only redeeming thing about me is the Redeemer Who is in me.

O God, let me not be found presuming upon such love!


Blogger underdogtheology said...

Thank you for this, sir.

Hypocrisy and Grace by Cornelius Plantinga Jr.

5:18 pm  
Blogger agonizomai said...

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Great article by Plantinga, too.



7:13 am  
Blogger Derek Ashton said...


I'm speechless. I need more of this. Thank you.


PS - God will surely grant the desire He has placed in your heart.

8:29 am  
Blogger agonizomai said...

Hi Derek,

I think we would all like clearer devotional insight into the inexpressibly and infinitely wonderful work of Christ.

Unfortunately, it seems we are, at least in this life, consigned to moving mountains of dirt in order to find a single gem. But isn't it precisely that rarity which makes the stones seem so precious to us?

So, yes, God will grant such prayers - but often not in the way we think.



11:02 am  
Blogger Natasa said...

these words: Before I was saved I was as bad as any other person on earth in this regard. But after God has given me light I am actually worse... just cut my soul

4:11 pm  
Blogger agonizomai said...


Thank you for commenting. God does indeed wound, but He does this so that He may heal.

Derek said it well on his blog - that though we who are saved are often are more guilty, we are more aware of His grace. And it becomes about Him and His grace more than about us and our sin.

What a happy situation - that God's grace is, as the hymn writer said, greater than ALL our sin.



4:28 pm  

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