Humpty Dumpty Fell Off The Wall And Still Looks Better!
By Pastor Pat Badstibner
The longer I walk with Christ and on this journey of grace, as I mentor and counsel others, speak to other pastors the more I am convinced that all of our failures result in a lack of understanding of one thing. That one thing being our deep need for the ugliness of the cross. If we could only truly grasp a real image of our depravity, the effects would be widespread.
In 1964, The Animals recorded a narrative song that would be a number one hit and would become a cult classic, “The House of the Rising Sun.” In the song the narrator speaks of life wasted in sin and misery.
As he pleads with mothers to not let their sons go down to “The House of the Rising Sun” He points out that “many a poor boy” has lost his life there and he sadly admits “I’m one.”
In 1895 William Newell, then a Bible Teacher at Moody, reflects on a troubled youth, perhaps one that looks very similar to the one described decades later in the cult classic. As he does so, he pens his testimony to prose and that prose becomes the beautiful hymn we know today as “At Calvary.”
Two songs describing the two aspects of grace. Without the understanding of the first song and accepting that we are indeed “one” we cannot appreciate the beauty of the second song.
This is where the confusion lies, discourse occurs, mistakes happen and lives falter. We do not have the vocabulary to express our condition without God’s atoning grace. As a result we fail to make the gospel good enough.
It is not that we are just broken, rather as if all the kings’ horses and all the kings’ men were to look upon us they would attempt to rescue Humpty Dumpty first. If we were to see our good deeds, those works we think we do so well, through the eyes of God (after all that is what matters, right) we would surely rather handle a live skunk.
We are not OK, in fact we are in need of a desperate heart transplant. The only problem is the only hearts available are all dead, like ours.
We are condemned to spend eternity to our own vices, thoughts, interests, senses and inspections. C.S. Lewis in his great book “The Great Divorce” said the following:
“I do not think that all who choose wrong roads perish; but their rescue consists in being put back on the right road.”
That is our fate, our destiny because one of us screwed up, the rest are forever tied to the railroad tracks of condemnation with the train of eternity just seconds away. Not to mention we are hopeless, absolutely powerless to do anything to rescue ourselves, no, we are indeed in desperate need of rescue, of a Saviour.
For Hell is indeed real, a place of torment and forever separated from our creator wandering with thirst and lost in our own devices. Unless mercy is given, pardon is multiplied and grace is free, we will forever be lost.
In Dante’s Inferno the writer pens the following quote, to describe Hell:
“Through me you go into a city of weeping; through me you go into eternal pain; through me you go amongst the lost people” and “Ye who enter, abandon all hope.”― Dante Alighieri, Inferno
Hell is such a place that all the bad of the cross is only a tribute to the bad that exists in all of us. What Christ suffered was as undeserved, as it is deserving of by us.
Yet, because of the great love of the Father who loved his creation deeply the cross exists. The cross does not exist because there was any value in us or we have or could ever have something to offer.
We do not get, keep, sustain, maintain or receive this gift because we have confessed all of our sins. We never will and never could.
The Psalmist said in Psalm 130:3 “if the magnitude of my sins were held against me it would surely crush him.”The Psalmist realizes he could never, either through confession or in any other way, atone for his sins. It is only because of God’s great love towards us, that we are spared from the onslaught of crushing sin.
NO! We are not Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, or even Belle in this story we are something even more despicable than the evil queen. Something that no one else desires, wants or finds beauty in but the Creator himself.
We are indeed the BEAST! Whose only value is the value instilled by the Creator. Yet, the Creator does not just place and find value in us. He desires us, runs after us, chooses us and redeems us unto HIMSELF so we might be His chosen bride.
We have been wallowing in the pigsty, while HE has been preparing for the ultimate party, the most lavish of weddings, OURS! Now HE has called us in, awaits to eagerly lavish abounding, everlasting GRACE to us and give us freedom to love HIM back.
HE is shouting as He offers grace to us, not “How To’s” or “Steps To” but “IT IS FINISHED.” Yet we refuse to accept, believing in our arrogance, we must still do something, crying out in our pride to let us do something.
This is not our story, but God’s. A love story and a story of redemption. As God chases his beloved, US, to redeem him to himself. Not because of what we do, could do or will do but because of what HE did.
It is time to put away the ledgers, the records, the applications and the medals of, for and about the best performances we think we can give, for the ultimate performance has already been given.
God has won it, is doing it and will do it, because we cannot. Now he does not call us to a life of greater performance or to do more, be more, accomplish more and maybe you will earn a smile, a breadcrumb, favor, maintain your identity, gain assurance of what he has promised, maintain, balance, sustain or keep grace.
For the truth is we can never do any of these things exactly to God’s pleasing. Now He frees us not to live unto, for or make it about us but to be returned to our original purpose!
For we have His favor, He has given us the ultimate righteousness, Christs’ righteousness. There really is nothing left to do, HE needs nothing from us and we really are FREE to be who we were originally created to be!
It really is a worthwhile question to ponder, reflect on and answer “What are you going to do with your new found freedom?” Knowing our deep need for the ugliness of the cross and God’s great love towards us should compel us to worship God and serve others, which was Paul’s reasoning behind his plea in Romans 12:1-2.
Through our obedience we no longer say please approve of me but “I Love You” to the one who calls us in spite of ourselves HIS beloved. Then when we abuse, misuse, waste, trash his grace, rebel, disobey and just flat out blow it he responds with “I understand your human, I’m not thus why I could do it and you could not. Remember you love me because I am absolutely CRAZY about you.”
That is the message of grace and where our journey begins as we learn “How To Walk In That Grace.”
“Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty, at Calvary.”