While attending summer revivals with my family, I’ve pondered some theological thoughts that have inspired me to write about this painting I’ve finished and titled “Are You Sitting on a High Horse?” By painting a depiction of the Lamb of God in the background I wanted to portray how many of us, even as Christians have the tendency to sit on the “high horse” of freewill with its prideful appearance of natural ability and strength, while God’s sovereign free grace gets placed in the background of our lives. One way this happens is when we refer to our salvation in first person (e.g. I went to the altar, I said this prayer, I made a decision for Christ, I invited Jesus into my heart, I got baptized, I did this or that …….THEN God saved me) rather than second person (e.g. God first loved me, God’s word convinced me I was a sinner in need of a Saviour, God changed my heart and granted me the grace to repent, believe and obey the gospel, God secured my salvation in Jesus……BEFORE I could’ve had anything to do with it).
The former makes God’s grace sound cheap, as if it’s only effective if we do something first, or that it only enables us to attain our own salvation. Yet the latter, “praises the glory of His grace” (Eph. 1:6) by emphasizing the miracle of what Jesus already attained by His death, burial and resurrection to secure the eternal plan of redemption by which God has determined to save, through Christ, sinners whom He has chosen and how He freely bestows the grace necessary for them to respond in faith and repentance. “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God (Eph.2:8).
Freewill can only act in harmony with its nature (Rom.8:7-9). For example, in the natural scheme of things, we can choose to either walk or run but we can’t choose to flap our wings and fly. Our nature prevents us from doing so. Likewise, freewill is limited by our fallen nature. Before the Fall, mankind had freewill to either obey or disobey God. But now, the will is only “free” in the sense that it still has the natural ability to disobey God and of trying to attain salvation thru works (Rom.10:3). So by nature, our will isn’t truly free to obey the gospel until God first intervenes with free grace to enable us to become partakers of the divine nature (2Pet.1:4). “For it is God who works in you to will and to do” (Phil.2:13).
So friend, pray God will grant you free grace, so you’ll be able to truly repent, believe and obey the gospel. For your natural inability to repent enough, believe enough or be good enough is no barrier to His ability to change all that and save you from hell. His grace is enough. And though God resists the proud, He gives grace to the humble and poor in spirit, (1Pet.5:5) for He often refines them in the furnace of affliction to remind them they can never earn it (Isaiah 48:9-11). God in His mercy has already provided the means of salvation in Jesus’ blood atonement and He supplies the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to apply the merits of that sacrifice, while regenerating the dead spirit that was held captive by sin.
God’s free grace also helps overcome the external compulsion to sin, which still makes our position one of major accountability. At the same time, believers have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ who intercedes for us in our weaknesses and saves us to the uttermost (Heb.7:25, 12:2). He is the author and finisher of our faith, (Phil.1:6) not by violating our will, but by changing our heart so that our will is free to obey Him in spirit and in truth rather than legalistic bondage. Because being seated in heavenly places by God’s free grace is far better any day, than being seated on the high horse of freewill by our own works. For “The horse is prepared against the day of battle; but safety is of the Lord” (Prov. 21:31).
Sis Lee Anne —–Readers w/ questions or comments are free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org