While attending summer revivals with my family, I’ve pondered some theological thoughts that have inspired me to write about this painting I’ve finished and titled “Are You Sitting on a High Horse?” By painting a depiction of the Lamb of God in the background I wanted to portray how many of us, even as Christians have the tendency to sit on the “high horse” of freewill with its prideful appearance of natural ability and strength, while God’s sovereign free grace gets placed in the background of our lives. One way this happens is when we refer to our salvation in first person (e.g. I went to the altar, I said this prayer, I made a decision for Christ, I invited Jesus into my heart, I got baptized, I did this or that …….THEN God saved me) rather than second person (e.g. God first loved me, God’s word convinced me I was a sinner in need of a Saviour, God changed my heart and granted me the grace to repent, believe and obey the gospel, God secured my salvation in Jesus……BEFORE I could’ve had anything to do with it).
The former makes God’s grace sound cheap, as if it’s only effective if we do something first, or that it only enables us to attain our own salvation. Yet the latter, “praises the glory of His grace” (Eph. 1:6) by emphasizing the miracle of what Jesus already attained by His death, burial and resurrection to secure the eternal plan of redemption by which God has determined to save, through Christ, sinners whom He has chosen and how He freely bestows the grace necessary for them to respond in faith and repentance. “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God (Eph.2:8).
Freewill can only act in harmony with its nature (Rom.8:7-9). For example, in the natural scheme of things, we can choose to either walk or run but we can’t choose to flap our wings and fly. Our nature prevents us from doing so. Likewise, freewill is limited by our fallen nature. Before the Fall, mankind had freewill to either obey or disobey God. But now, the will is only “free” in the sense that it still has the natural ability to disobey God and of trying to attain salvation thru works (Rom.10:3). So by nature, our will isn’t truly free to obey the gospel until God first intervenes with free grace to enable us to become partakers of the divine nature (2Pet.1:4). “For it is God who works in you to will and to do” (Phil.2:13).
So friend, pray God will grant you free grace, so you’ll be able to truly repent, believe and obey the gospel. For your natural inability to repent enough, believe enough or be good enough is no barrier to His ability to change all that and save you from hell. His grace is enough. And though God resists the proud, He gives grace to the humble and poor in spirit, (1Pet.5:5) for He often refines them in the furnace of affliction to remind them they can never earn it (Isaiah 48:9-11). God in His mercy has already provided the means of salvation in Jesus’ blood atonement and He supplies the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to apply the merits of that sacrifice, while regenerating the dead spirit that was held captive by sin.
God’s free grace also helps overcome the external compulsion to sin, which still makes our position one of major accountability. At the same time, believers have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ who intercedes for us in our weaknesses and saves us to the uttermost (Heb.7:25, 12:2). He is the author and finisher of our faith, (Phil.1:6) not by violating our will, but by changing our heart so that our will is free to obey Him in spirit and in truth rather than legalistic bondage. Because being seated in heavenly places by God’s free grace is far better any day, than being seated on the high horse of freewill by our own works. For “The horse is prepared against the day of battle; but safety is of the Lord” (Prov. 21:31).
Sis Lee Anne —–Readers w/ questions or comments are free to contact me at email@example.com
6 thoughts on “Are You Sitting on a High Horse?”
What an awesome reminder!
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Mat 7: 21-23)
Twice Jesus identifies those in this passage as people who will call Him Lord. They will have enough faith in the power of His Name to do many miracles, drive out demons, and prophesy. But they are focused on what THEY do in His name (on who they are)…not on what He has done for them (on who He is). He never knew them. They are evildoers. This should put Godly fear in every Christian’s heart. They are “many”, and they argue with Him over their own works as if they were justified by them.
Thanks for all your hard work!
I’m so thankful you were blessed by this. You’re right, there are so many that have so called “good works” but they are not works God blessed and prepared for them to do. They are just works that they conjured up on their own. And they always exalt themselves, rather than God. These are those who claim to know God, but He doesn’t know them, which explains how many can be called, but few chosen. Those who are chosen are only those God knew before time even began (1Tim.1:9), those Jesus died for.
And I realize that all of my hard work is just the result of His freegrace!! I’m just glad He has already prepared our works (Eph.2:10) and that all we have to do is walk in them and give Him the glory every step of the way. Be blessed “just1ofhis” and thank you for your encouragement.
Hi. I’ve been considering your article. I wonder how a person comes to Christ in this day we live in, when everything that God considers to be sinful is considered by our society to be right and ok to participate in. How does a person come to the conclusion that he is a sinner in need of the saving grace of God through Christ when most all he thinks or does is allowed? Even in current culture what may not be right for one, may be for another, depending on circumstance, and yet that same action may be considered wrong in another. How can that be?
Your article and my last one have a similar theme, in that when Christ is our Lord we do what He says. It should be our desire to serve Him, to obey Him. And again, His words, if we do love Him we do what He has commanded. This is the choice to avoid sin, the power to overcome granted thru the Holy Spirit and instead make choices that are most pleasing to our Lord. Another thing our society is lacking, a pure understanding of what Lordship constitutes. How void our understanding, yet how blessed we are to have the word and the wisdom of the Lord God.
Hugs and blessing to you dear.
You’re right Mkayla we live in a society where “evil is called good and good is called evil”—– and this fallen world has always been that way. The only way anyone can come to Christ is if the Father draws them and if it has been granted by the Father (John 6:44, 65). Otherwise, people just aren’t convicted of sin enough to come to Him. Sure they have the light of creation and the light of their own conscience, but still won’t come to Him unless God intervenes.
And yes we do have the “choice to overcome sin” and if we don’t we are still going to be held accountable for it. So there’s never a reason to use grace as an excuse to sin. We are to be good stewards of God’s grace bestowed upon us.
“To whom much is given, much is expected in return” (vs.?)