A Life Redeemed from Destruction

 

Yesterday I wrote a piece that provoked some interesting comments, including an entire sub thread about something that had little to do with the original post. That’s how things go on Ricochet. If I’ve learned anything from this past year, it’s that people in my circles have said things … new things, that have surprised me. In regard to my closer friends, I thought I knew them. And I thought they knew me. It’s as if all this time we’ve been playing on the margins and now as the fires have gotten hotter, the conversations are suddenly changing, taking us down new and uncharted roads.

It’s ultimately a good thing, God has a way of surfacing the stuff that needs to be dealt with.

Yesterday’s post was about Jesus as the canceller of our debts Who offers us abundant life, contrasted with Satan as the canceller of our freedoms who chases us into the dark caves of shame and guilt. The post was less than well-received by a few, but that’s okay by me. I like it when people are blunt.

One of our Ricochet-ers suggested that “redemption” be the next topic to tackle.  I agreed, so here we are. Redemption as a topic “presses us on to maturity” beyond the elementary teaching of forgiving grace alone. It’s a bigger topic than I should attempt, so I’ll get a little help and start with the insights of Henry Drummond, best remembered as an evangelist who assisted Dwight L. Moody during his revival campaigns. He was also a lecturer in natural science. His book Eternal Life is pretty crazy.

In his book The Ideal Life, Henry Drummond contrasts the salvation and redeemed life of David with that of the dying thief. In the interest of brevity, this may feel like an abrupt jumping-off point, but this is a ginormous topic and we need to start with something that provokes thought. I believe this will do the trick.

Here is the excerpt:

[1]David’s salvation was a much more wonderful thing than, for example, the dying thief’s salvation. David cost grace far more than the dying thief did. The dying thief needed only dying grace. David needed living grace. The thief needed only forgiving grace; David needed forgiving grace and restraining grace. He needed grace to “keep in” his life, to keep it from running away. But the thief needed no restraining grace. The time for that was past. His life had run away. His wild oats had been sown, and the harvest was heavy and bitter. Destruction had already come upon him in a hundred forms. He had had no antidote to the power of sin, which runs so fiercely in every vein of every person, and he had destroyed himself. His character was ruined, his soul was honeycombed through and through with sin. He could not have joined in the thanksgiving of David’s psalm that his life had been saved from destruction. His death had been, and the wreck of his soul had been, but his life had been lost to God, to the world, and to himself. His life had never been redeemed, as David’s had been. So, David was the greater debtor to God’s grace, and few men have had greater reason than he to praise God in old age for redeeming their life from destruction.

Yes, there is more to salvation than forgiveness. Why? Because there is more to sin than guilt. “If I were to be forgiven today,” people say who do not know this fact, “I would be as bad as ever tomorrow.” That idea is based on the fallacy, it is based on the heresy, that there is no more for a person in religion than forgiveness of sins. If there were not, it would be of little use to us. It would have been little use to a man like David. And David’s life would have been incomplete, and David’s psalm would have been impossible, if he had not been able to add to the record of God’s pardon the record of God’s power in redeeming his life from destruction.

Destruction is the natural destination of every human soul. It is as natural for our soul to go downward as for a stone to fall to the ground. Do we ever thank God for redeeming our soul from that? And when we thank God that we are saved, do we mean that we are saved from hell, or do we sometimes think about how He has rescued our life from the destroying power of sin?

The book is called The Ideal Life: Listening for God’s Voice, Discerning His Leading. It’s rich and worth reading. Multiple times.

Now for a story. Cliff notes version.

My father canceled me in high school. When my concerned school counselor Mr. D called him, he told Mr. D that he no longer had anything to do with me. It was because I was the one that protected my mom from his abuse. At least I tried.

Soon thereafter, my mother canceled me; she was done with me and wanted to move in with her boyfriend.

One night a station wagon began driving up and down the street while I was on a run in a remote area outside the main neighborhood. The street was dark and deserted, and I heard the roar of the station wagon’s engine approach from behind. I turned to see a man get out of the car and start running toward me. Suddenly, and I don’t remember how I got there, I was across the street in front of the only house around. The man got back into the station wagon and started driving toward me again. And then I saw headlights coming from further down the street. Standing under a lone streetlight, I frantically waved my arms in the air, and the funny-looking car, maybe a Studebaker, stopped. It was an elderly couple, both of them like dolls staring straight ahead. Without turning toward me, the man reached his arm back over his seat and opened the rear door. I got in. All I could say was, “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.” The guy in the station wagon peeled away, tires squealing as the vehicle disappeared down the dark road. From the backseat of the slow-moving Studebaker, I managed to direct the man to where I was living at the time, and when we arrived, I thanked them and got out. They never said a word, and they never once turned to look at me.

I think God meant to show me something that night.

I became a Christian a few years later.

But …

Even though I hid it well (even from myself), I was deeply broken. I moved through life in a kind of proving mode, proud of my educational credentials, intellectual capacities, my talents, and my work ethic. I used to say that there was no problem too stinky that it couldn’t be solved. I made lots of money, lived in nice houses, and drove luxury cars.

I was also a self-absorbed, arrogant, and prideful person. And a Christian, totally unaware.

Yep. We all have our journeys.

Then the time came to stop the insanity and God sent me my youngest daughter, bringing with her a set of impossible circumstances that completely broke me. I was stripped of all control and brought to the brink of total exhaustion.

He redeemed my life from continuing destruction.

Redemption isn’t a moment. It’s a journey that woos you to die to self, draw near to Him, and worship Him.

I hope you don’t mind. I share personal stories because it’s really the only way I know how to make God seem close and real and attentive. Sometimes that’s what people need.

[1] Drummond, Henry. Ideal Life, The: Listening For God’s Voice, Discerning His Leading. Whitaker House. Kindle Edition.

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  1. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    God protects his own.  And He tells you of Himself in the process.

    • #1
  2. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Being cancelled by your parents is devastating. It is similar to being exiled, which was how primitive people punish a major transgressor like a murderer.

    Anyone that is abandonned in that way feels that stigma, that sense of unworth.

    In our culture, without parental support, then both the ability to go on to college, and to understand that as a young adult we have the right to be taken care of, are concepts that are shattered.

    You are  a testament to the strength of great spirit and tenacity. I am glad the Lord has eased your way, just as I am glad He made you so very strong.

    • #2
  3. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Flicker (View Comment):

    God protects his own. And He tells you of Himself in the process.

    Yes

    • #3
  4. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    Being cancelled by your parents is devastating. It is similar to being exiled, which was how primitive people punish a major transgressor like a murderer.

    Anyone that is abandonned in that way feels that stigma, that sense of unworth.

    In our culture, without parental support, then both the ability to go on to college, and to understand that as a young adult we have the right to be taken care of, are concepts that are shattered.

    You are a testament to the strength of great spirit and tenacity. I am glad the Lord has eased your way, just as I am glad He made you so very strong.

    Thank you Carol. You’re a great encourager. He has had me the entire time. I am held in His strength alone. 

    • #4
  5. Ron Selander Member
    Ron Selander
    @RonSelander

    God-LovingWoman,

    I have a book that I think you should read: “The Transformation of the Inner Man” by John & Paula Sandford.” Actually, I have many other books somewhat like it. PM me and I will find a way to get it to you!

    • #5
  6. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Ron Selander (View Comment):

    God-LovingWoman,

    I have a book that I think you should read: “The Transformation of the Inner Man” by John & Paula Sandford.” Actually, I have many other books somewhat like it. PM me and I will find a way to get it to you!

    Will do and thank you. I just need to get to my office and figure out the pm thing. 

    • #6
  7. Ron Selander Member
    Ron Selander
    @RonSelander

    The subtitle of the Sandford’s book, which was written in 1982 is: “The most comprehensive book on inner healing today.”

    • #7
  8. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Ron Selander (View Comment):

    The subtitle of the Sandford’s book, which was written in 1982 is: “The most comprehensive book on inner healing today.”

    Thank you very much. I’ll look for it and let you know if I have any trouble finding it.

    • #8
  9. Juliana Member
    Juliana
    @Juliana

    God-LovingWoman:

    Yep. We all have our journeys.

    Then the time came to stop the insanity and God sent me my youngest daughter, bringing with her a set of impossible circumstances that completely broke me. I was stripped of all control and brought to the brink of total exhaustion.

    He redeemed my life from continuing destruction.

    Redemption isn’t a moment. It’s a journey that woos you to die to self, draw near to Him, and worship Him.

    I too have made the momentous decision to give up control out of exhaustion, grief, and finally, humility. It radically changed my life. While I will not go into detail, I cannot stress enough how different my path is now compared to before.  Only God knows what we need.  All we need do is ask and be grateful for His gifts.

     

    • #9
  10. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Juliana (View Comment):

    God-LovingWoman:

    Yep. We all have our journeys.

    Then the time came to stop the insanity and God sent me my youngest daughter, bringing with her a set of impossible circumstances that completely broke me. I was stripped of all control and brought to the brink of total exhaustion.

    He redeemed my life from continuing destruction.

    Redemption isn’t a moment. It’s a journey that woos you to die to self, draw near to Him, and worship Him.

    I too have made the momentous decision to give up control out of exhaustion, grief, and finally, humility. It radically changed my life. While I will not go into detail, I cannot stress enough how different my path is now compared to before. Only God knows what we need. All we need do is ask and be grateful for His gifts.

     

    It’s so true. He knows what we need yet always allows us say, even when our “having say” takes a long time and leaves a lot of messy things behind that He must “work together for good to those who love Him and called according to His purpose.”

    • #10
  11. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    God-LovingWoman: It is as natural for our soul to go downward as for a stone to fall to the ground.

    So humans can be sinful and still highly functional and productive? Drummond seems to exaggerate human evil which is not something that I typically accuse anyone of. If humans are so bad all the time, how have their beens so many virtuous pagans throughout world history?

    • #11
  12. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Humanity is all about redemption. We are all sinners. We are broken. And Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, the Son of God, is our Savior and Redeemer. Once, for all.

    The difference between the Sinner and the Saint is that the Saint gets up after he falls.

    I think the greatest redemption story of all is Jesus’ three-fold forgiveness of Peter’s three-fold denial:

    John 21: 1-25 (focusing on verses 15-17):

    15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

    “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

    Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

    16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

    He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

    Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

    17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

    Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

    Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

    • #12
  13. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Duplicate.

     

    • #13
  14. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Columbo (View Comment):
    I think the greatest redemption story of all is Jesus’ three-fold forgiveness of Peter’s three-fold denial:

    You’re not going to believe this, but then maybe you will. When I was just shy of 30 years old, I was asked by my pastor to fill in for him on a Sunday. And this was the scripture … and I added the scripture of their previous exchange at the last supper when Jesus predicted Peter’s denials.

    I cannot adequately express the impact of the preparation for, and then the delivery of, and the response to the message … on me. It was when I first realized that He will close whatever gaps exist between His righteousness and my sinfulness to enthusiastically place me in His service. If I will. And if you knew my circumstances at the time, you would see that it was all His doing.

    The word study alone and Jesus’s use of two different words for love in the Greek asking Peter if he loved Him, including the order in which He asked Peter, and then His specific answer to each of Peter’s responses … it slayed me. It is the gospel in one brief exchange. Absolutely beautiful. He steps toward us with gentleness, kindness, and mercy, breaking our hardened heart as he moves ever closer, never so much as flinching at our unworthiness.

    • #14
  15. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):
    I think the greatest redemption story of all is Jesus’ three-fold forgiveness of Peter’s three-fold denial:

    You’re not going to believe this, but then maybe you will. When I was just shy of 30 years old, I was asked by my pastor to fill in for him on a Sunday. And this was the scripture … and I added the scripture of their previous exchange at the last supper when Jesus predicted Peter’s denials.

    I cannot adequately express the impact of the preparation for, and then the delivery of, and the response to the message … on me. It was when I first realized that He will close whatever gaps exist between His righteousness and my sinfulness to enthusiastically place me in His service. If I will. And if you knew my circumstances at the time, you would see that it was all His doing.

    The word study alone and Jesus’s use of two different words for love in the Greek asking Peter if he loved Him, including the order in which He asked Peter, and then His specific answer to each of Peter’s responses … it slayed me. It is the gospel in one brief exchange. Absolutely beautiful. He steps toward us with gentleness, kindness, and mercy, breaking our hardened heart as he moves ever closer, never so much as flinching at our unworthiness.

    I am continually surprised at how much emotion there is in this Christian stuff. It’s quite alot to wrap my head around.

    • #15
  16. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):
    I think the greatest redemption story of all is Jesus’ three-fold forgiveness of Peter’s three-fold denial:

    You’re not going to believe this, but then maybe you will. When I was just shy of 30 years old, I was asked by my pastor to fill in for him on a Sunday. And this was the scripture … and I added the scripture of their previous exchange at the last supper when Jesus predicted Peter’s denials.

    I cannot adequately express the impact of the preparation for, and then the delivery of, and the response to the message … on me. It was when I first realized that He will close whatever gaps exist between His righteousness and my sinfulness to enthusiastically place me in His service. If I will. And if you knew my circumstances at the time, you would see that it was all His doing.

    The word study alone and Jesus’s use of two different words for love in the Greek asking Peter if he loved Him, including the order in which He asked Peter, and then His specific answer to each of Peter’s responses … it slayed me. It is the gospel in one brief exchange. Absolutely beautiful. He steps toward us with gentleness, kindness, and mercy, breaking our hardened heart as he moves ever closer, never so much as flinching at our unworthiness.

    I am continually surprised at how much emotion there is in this Christian stuff. It’s quite alot to wrap my head around.

    Try wrapping it around your heart and see what happens.

    • #16
  17. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):
    I think the greatest redemption story of all is Jesus’ three-fold forgiveness of Peter’s three-fold denial:

    You’re not going to believe this, but then maybe you will. When I was just shy of 30 years old, I was asked by my pastor to fill in for him on a Sunday. And this was the scripture … and I added the scripture of their previous exchange at the last supper when Jesus predicted Peter’s denials.

    I cannot adequately express the impact of the preparation for, and then the delivery of, and the response to the message … on me. It was when I first realized that He will close whatever gaps exist between His righteousness and my sinfulness to enthusiastically place me in His service. If I will. And if you knew my circumstances at the time, you would see that it was all His doing.

    The word study alone and Jesus’s use of two different words for love in the Greek asking Peter if he loved Him, including the order in which He asked Peter, and then His specific answer to each of Peter’s responses … it slayed me. It is the gospel in one brief exchange. Absolutely beautiful. He steps toward us with gentleness, kindness, and mercy, breaking our hardened heart as he moves ever closer, never so much as flinching at our unworthiness.

    I am continually surprised at how much emotion there is in this Christian stuff. It’s quite alot to wrap my head around.

    Try wrapping it around your heart and see what happens.

    Well I would need to have a human heart for that to happen. As it happens, I have a robotic and/or alien heart. Even where I Christian I am not sure I can relate to your experience. In a similar fashion. I’ve lived in America all my life and it seems pretty good. Other folks have lived in America all their lives and think it is a racist homophobic hell scape.

    Historians agree on what happened but they almost never agree on why. We have a completely different internal world. To paraphrase a quote I read but can’t quite remember from Otto von Frank, “Most parents don’t really know their children because their children have an entire internal world that parents don’t comprehend.”

    Your internal world is completely different from mind. We can be the same race and go the same church and have the same sexual orientation or whatever but our internal world’s can forever be alien to the other. That’s not good or bad. That’s just what is.

    • #17