You have won my heart, now I can trade my ashes in for beauty: How one does not come to faith in Christ

The song “Draw me close to you” makes congregations warble and swoon. It moves for two reasons: first, it gets to the emotions, and second, it moves away – very far away from the Gospel, indeed, in the opposite direction to the Gospel (Good News). One of the lines says, “I’ll lay it all down again to hear You say that I’m Your friend.” Lay what down, I ask? What did you lay down the first time? The only thing you can ever lay down – if you are a true believer – is your sinful nature. And you didn’t even lay that down. Christ took your sinful nature on him and exchanged it for His righteousness. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). (See “Draw me close to you. But what’s with ‘I’ll lay it all down again?'”

Another song ( with great music and voice, sung by Kathryn Scott) is “At the foot of the cross.” Here is the first verse:

At the foot of the cross

Where grace and suffering meet

You have shown me Your love

Through the judgment You received

And You’ve won my heart

And You’ve won my heart

The first four lines are a magnificent summary of the Gospel. But then the next line goes and spoils it all. What does it mean for Jesus to win my heart other than that the end result is that I give my heart to Jesus, that – in the context of the preceding lines – he has earned my love through suffering the judgment that I deserved. Absolutely right, Jesus did suffer the judgment I deserved by (to return to the previous song) laying it – his life – down for me. But, as in the previous song, I didn’t, I was totally unable, to give my heart to Jesus, for how can a dead (in sin) heart even emit the tiniest flutter. It is at this point in the song that the profound truth of the propitiary (no, not merely expiatory) sacrifice descends into the murky waters of Arminianism. Yes, of course, I accepted Jesus – and willingly, but only after he made me free (alive) to do so (Ephesians 2:1-10). And those he makes free are free indeed. “Indeed” means nothing less that certain eternal life.

The first chorus line, which immediately follows the double trouble “You’ve won my heart” reinforces the idea that Jesus earns/deserves my heart.

Chorus

Now I can trade these ashes in for beauty,

And wear forgiveness like a crown,

Coming to kiss the feet of mercy,

I lay every burden down,

At the foot of the cross.

Can I “now” trade my sins for His righteousness (beauty)? Do I have the permission or the power to make this transaction? God forbid. Faith is a gift from God. In other words faith is free (gratis, grace). We’re not talking here about a transaction between two (equal) parties – I give Jesus (a teeny) something (say a wink of acceptance), and Jesus gives me (a gigantic) something (salvation). In reality, I had nothing to give, and everything to take; and even the taking required the divine quickening of my dead arm to enable me to reach out to receive the gift. How you come to faith determines everything else about your Christian life, including the songs you sing. Keep ’em peeled.

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2 thoughts on “You have won my heart, now I can trade my ashes in for beauty: How one does not come to faith in Christ

  1. Reblogged this on OneDaringJew and commented:

    There was a time – most of my professing Christian life – that I would not have cringed at the following statement said recently by an Arminian preacher: “If you allow yourself to be used you are enabling God.” This utterance is missing its often heard first-still-born sibling: “If you enable God to save you, he will.” You only have to give him the nod and He’s in there raising you from your stinking grave and bringing you into the Kingdom of the Son He loves.

    So, you enable God to save you, use you, ostensibly because he respects your vile freedom. Horror. No you don’t enable God to do anything; He will get his purposes done.
    I know what I’ll do, I’ll come to Rabbi Saul in a dream and ask him whether he wouldn’t mind pretending that I’m throwing him off his horse tomorrow morning when he sets out for Damascus to create mayhem among my sheep. And I also would appreciate it, Paul, if you also pretend that this blow to your head is what is going to bring you to your senses.

    “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord” (Proverbs 16:33).

    There was a time – most of my professing Christian life – that I would not have cringed at the following statement said recently by an Arminian preacher: “If you allow yourself to be used you are enabling God.” This utterance is missing its often heard first-still-born sibling: “If you enable God to save you, he will.” You only have to give him the nod and He’s in there raising you from your stinking grave and bringing you into the Kingdom of the Son He loves.

    So, you enable God to save you, use you, ostensibly because he respects your vile freedom. Horror. No you don’t enable God to do anything; He will get his purposes done.
    I know what I’ll do, I’ll come to Rabbi Saul in a dream and ask him whether he wouldn’t mind pretending that I’m throwing him off his horse tomorrow morning when he sets out for Damascus to create mayhem among my sheep. And I also would appreciate it, Paul, if you also pretend that this blow to your head is what is going to bring you to your senses.

    “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord” (Proverbs 16:33).

    There was a time – most of my professing Christian life – that I would not have cringed at the following statement said recently by an Arminian preacher: “If you allow yourself to be used you are enabling God.” This utterance is missing its often heard first-still-born sibling: “If you enable God to save you, he will.” You only have to give him the nod and He’s in there raising you from your stinking grave and bringing you into the Kingdom of the Son He loves.

    So, you enable God to save you, use you, ostensibly because he respects your vile freedom. Horror. No you don’t enable God to do anything; He will get his purposes done.
    I know what I’ll do, I’ll come to Rabbi Saul in a dream and ask him whether he wouldn’t mind pretending that I’m throwing him off his horse tomorrow morning when he sets out for Damascus to create mayhem among my sheep. And I also would appreciate it, Paul, if you also pretend that this blow to your head is what is going to bring you to your senses.

    “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord” (Proverbs 16:33).

    You

    There was a time – most of my professing Christian life – that I would not have cringed at the following statement said recently by an Arminian preacher: “If you allow yourself to be used you are enabling God.” This utterance is missing its often heard first-still-born sibling: “If you enable God to save you, he will.” You only have to give him the nod and He’s in there raising you from your stinking grave and bringing you into the Kingdom of the Son He loves.

    So, you enable God to save you, use you, ostensibly because he respects your vile freedom. Horror. No you don’t enable God to do anything; He will get his purposes done.
    I know what I’ll do, I’ll come to Rabbi Saul in a dream and ask him whether he wouldn’t mind pretending that I’m throwing him off his horse tomorrow morning when he sets out for Damascus to create mayhem among my sheep. And I also would appreciate it, Paul, if you also pretend that this blow to your head is what is going to bring you to your senses.

    “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord” (Proverbs 16:33).

    There was a time – most of my professing Christian life – that I would not have cringed at the following statement said recently by an Arminian preacher: “If you allow yourself to be used you are enabling God.” This utterance is missing its often heard first-still-born sibling: “If you enable God to save you, he will.” You only have to give him the nod and He’s in there raising you from your stinking grave and bringing you into the Kingdom of the Son He loves.

    So, you enable God to save you, use you, ostensibly because he respects your vile freedom. Horror. No you don’t enable God to do anything; He will get his purposes done.
    I know what I’ll do, I’ll come to Rabbi Saul in a dream and ask him whether he wouldn’t mind pretending that I’m throwing him off his horse tomorrow morning when he sets out for Damascus to create mayhem among my sheep. And I also would appreciate it, Paul, if you also pretend that this blow to your head is what is going to bring you to your senses.

    “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord” (Proverbs 16:33).

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