Radical Monday: Cute Little Enemies of God

Here’s a post from 2010 on the second chapter of Radical…

Believe it or not, I caught Ana in the middle of mischief the other day.

The mischief in question involved a random toy and Emma, as always. I don’t know how the scuffle began or who was in the wrong, but my suspicion is that they were both liable for it because as soon as they thought my back was turned, they both hauled off and shoved one another as hard as they could. What loving sisters!

I’m reminded daily that there is NO GOOD in any of us, apart from the given grace and redemption of God. My children are proof of this because even when they’re trying to be good, they do so primarily to outshine one another. (As Ana says, “I OBEY you, Mommy. Emma does NOT.” And as Emma says, “I not crying like Ana! I a GOOD girl!”) And I’m proof of it, as my natural tendency is to pull my hair out and scream when incidents like this happen, rather than falling into the Spirit-led response of speaking gently and correcting them in love.

The Bible tells us that not only does nothing good reside in us, but we are, from birth, enemies of God. We’re born to live, in our natural selves, lives that don’t glorify Him, honor Him, or even recognize Him as holy, true, and worthy of all praise.

So… we’re in a mess.

I appreciated this second chapter of Radical because there wasn’t any “prettying up” of our condition before God. When we call ourselves anything less than enemies of God, we minimize the importance of the Gospel. Oh, we aren’t THAT bad, so it’s not THAT unbelievable that God would turn His entire wrath for us on Christ… right? The truth, though, is that we weren’t just simply transgressors — we were enemies of God from the beginning, so a redemptive plan that included us in the glory and joy of God, despite who we really are, is… well, radical.

As a Southern Baptist, I’ve been taught to believe that the sinner’s prayer saves me from my sins. Saying a prayer, checking off the “saved” box on my checklist, and then trying to live the most religiously moralistic life possible was the goal of salvation. As I’ve walked this road of grace, though, God has opened my eyes to many of the truths that Mr. Platt writes about in his book. A prayer doesn’t save me from my sins. God saves me from my own depravity. (My sins are merely the symptom of the real, underlying problem of complete and utter depravity!) The prayer has become a work in our theology, but NO WORK can redeem me from being an enemy of God. It must be all God. And what I do past the realization that God has opened my eyes to His work in my heart falls desperately short if I focus on how I, in my own power, can live most morally. I must live for Christ, allowing His Spirit to work through me, being obedient to Him in all things, and not just simply trying to complete a checklist.

Looking forward to Chapter Three…

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