Doctrinally Correct Yet Lifeless
We repeat the words so often that they become dry, thought-free, emotion-free, and lifeless if we are not careful. We pray, “Thank You for saving me by your grace. Thank You for sending Jesus. Thank You that He died for my sins. Amen.”
Doctrinally, that prayer is perfect. God saves us by grace. Jesus came. He died for our sins. But does the doctrine have life in us? Are we in awe of what those words really mean?
Renewing Awe with God’s Word
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 (ESV)
Jesus is the Word. He was with God and was God, and has been and is eternally God. This Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (John 1:14) The apostle Paul described it in this way:
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5–8 (ESV)
Touching Heart and Mind with Truth
We pray the words because we know the truth. We need to let that truth also shape the response of our hearts. God the Son who created all things did not stay in heaven and leave us in our sin to face an eternal hell because of our rebellion. He became a man.
The Son of God was not born to wealth, but into the family of working class parents. He was not born to a powerful nation but to one that was conquered and was oppressed. He did not live in luxury but had no place to rest His head. (Matthew 8:20) He did not hang out with the rich and famous in the centers of power but walked with fishermen and ate with the outcasts and sinners in rural towns.
The Son of God did not lead a political movement. He did not raise an army. He did not overthrow a government. He did not abuse women or children. He did not use His authority and power for his own gain. He made disciples of a small group of men. He taught them all that they were to do after He left this world. He made a people. He lifted up all those around him. He lived a selfless life and a sinless life.
And at the end of it, He was executed on the cross for crimes and sins that He did not do. He died for the sins that I did. He died the death that I deserved. The Word was with God. The Word was God. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. And the Word died in my place. That is the Gospel. That is the good news, the message of first importance.
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 1 Corinthians 15:3–8 (ESV)
Praying with a Heart to Match the Doctrine
With all that truth running through our hearts and minds we should pray. “Thank You for saving me by your grace. Thank You for sending Jesus. Thank You that He died for my sins.” Awe at God’s grace should fill our praying.