Undeserved Riches

empty_handedWe came into this world empty-handed. But few of us are empty-handed today. Everything we have—all things material and immaterial—must inspire us to offer profound thanksgiving to our gracious and benevolent God. We deserve none of the gifts He has given. We deserve nothing. But God’s grace is surprising and amazing. Read on, and give Him thanks.

Deserving Nothing
by Sinclair Ferguson

Religious people are always profoundly disturbed when they discover that they are not, and never have been, true Christians. Does all of their religion count for nothing? Those hours in church, hours spent doing good things, hours involved in religious activity—do they not count for something in the presence of God? Do they not enable me to say: “Look at what I have done. Don’t I deserve heaven?”

Sadly, thinking that I deserve heaven is a sure sign I have no understanding of the gospel.

Jesus unmasked the terrible truth about His contemporaries. They resisted His teaching and refused to receive His Word because they were sinners—and slaves to sin.

Some years ago, the British media reported that a Presbyterian denomination had pulled fifty thousand printed copies of an edition of its monthly magazine. The report indicated that the author of an article had referred to a prominent member of the British royal family as a “miserable sinner.”

PrayerIntriguingly, the member of the royal family, as a member of the Church of England, must have regularly used the words of the Anglican prayer book’s “Prayer of General Confession,” which includes a request for the forgiveness of the sins of “miserable offenders.” Why, then, were the magazines pulled? The official comment: “We don’t want to give the impression that the doctrines of the Christian faith cause people emotional trauma.”

But sometimes the doctrines of the Christian faith do exactly that—and necessarily so.

Or should we say instead: “How cruel Jesus was to these poor Jews! Fancy Jesus speaking to them in this way!”?

Jesus did say, “You are miserable sinners.” He unmasked sinners and drove His point home: “You have no room for my word” (John 8:37, NIV). They had heard, but resisted it. Later, He described the result: “Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say” (John 8:43, NIV).

Jesus had already patiently explained this to Nicodemus: “Unless God’s Spirit opens your eyes, you cannot see the kingdom of God. Unless God sets you free from the bondage of sin, you will never enter the kingdom of God” (see John 3:3, 5). “The truth is,” Jesus said later, “you do not hear what I am saying because you are not really the children of God” (see John 8:41, 44). They were, to use Paul’s language, spiritually “dead” (Eph. 2:1).

Some time ago, while relaxing on vacation on a wonderful summer day in the Scottish Highlands, I sat outside enjoying a morning coffee. A few feet away I saw a beautiful little red robin. I admired its feathers, its lovely red breast, its sharp and clean beak, its simple beauty. I found myself instinctively talking to it. But there was no response, no movement. Everything was intact, but little robin red-breast was dead. The most skilled veterinarian in the world could do absolutely nothing for him.

So are we, spiritually. Despite appearances, in my natural state I am dead toward God. There is no spiritual life in me.

Only when I see this will I begin to see why God’s grace is surprising and amazing. For it is to spiritually dead people that the grace of God comes to give life and release.

(Posted on the Ligonier Ministries blog, excerpted from By Grace Alone.)

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
This entry was posted in Christianity, Forgiveness, Jesus Christ, Salvation, Worthiness and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Undeserved Riches

  1. Ironman1995 says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Sharon and Aaron, thanks for Mormon Coffee and all that you share from your heart , it truly heals me and feeds me as a former Mormon who now is thankful to be free from the Mormon mental steel trap .


  2. Inquisitor says:

    I also enjoy your blogs. Having transitioned for the most part from mormon teachings. It is refreshing to have an understanding of the great love our savior has towards us poor miserable wretches.

    Mormonism teaches that we must first wash our own hands. Before the savior will allow us at the thanksgiving table.

    Christianity teaches that the savior will take our dirty grimy hands as they are and will wash them for us.

  3. Mike R says:

    I personally have so much to be thankful for , and I thank the true and living God for what He
    has blessed me with , and especially for saving a wretch like me by His grace and mercy alone .
    I appreciate this ministry ( MRM ) for its labor of love to the precious Mormon people
    who are in need of hearing the truth about Jesus .
    So thank you Bill, Eric, Sharon , Aaron , Grindael, for all you do to help the Mormon people
    to come free from their autocratic organization .

  4. falcon says:

    One thing that I am absolutely sure of is that without God’s grace, I would not have a chance when it comes to obtaining eternal life.
    There is nothing that any of us can do to merit right standing with God. What He really wants from us is to place our faith and trust in His Son Jesus Christ and what He did for us on the cross.
    Mormons wrongly interpret what Christians believe as a license to sin. As the apostle Paul writes, “May it never be!”
    Mormons believe they have to “earn” whatever reward they receive and what they are hoping for is to become gods. So it stands to reason that Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection are either add-on to their personal work or they make it possible for a Mormon to become a god through various forms of work righteousness.
    This is not the gospel as it was revealed to the apostles and prophets with finality.
    The Mormon gospel is really the Joseph Smith gospel. It bears no resemblance to what God delivered once and for all.
    Yes, I thank God with a humble and sincere heart that He drew me to Himself and even supplied the faith through which I came to believe in Jesus Christ and in believing was saved.

  5. spartacus says:

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    We were with some LDS friends today. Our conversation went toward how complicated reality is. I said I was thankful for God’s complexity (read depth or richness) and the complexity of the world He created us in.

    I am thankful for the beautiful complexity, depth, and richness of all that God has given us. I am thankful for God’s infinite depth and richness. I am thankful that God is so spectacular, so loving, so beautiful, so Holy, so praiseworthy, so worthy of all worship that eternal praises of Holy Holy Holy is a conceivablestate to be in for all eternity, despite what our counterparts on this blog think and often say in ignorant and lamentable derision.

    I am thankful for a truly infinitely incredible God.

    I thank you all here at MRM, Mormon Coffee, and the commenters and the readers that makes this a very interesting and worthwhile community.

    Love to you all,

  6. From all of us at MRM, we thank you for your kind words of encouragement and for your ongoing prayers. We so appreciate each of you and your contributions to Mormon Coffee. Thank you for partnering with us in ministry!

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