I feel, when I have sinned, an immediate reluctance to go to Christ. I am ashamed to go. I feel as if it would do no good to go, as if it were making Christ a minister of sin, to go straight from the swine-trough to the best robe, and a thousand other excuses; but I am persuaded they are all lies, direct from hell. John argues the opposite way: ‘If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father.’ I am sure there is neither peace nor safety from deeper sin, but in going directly to the Lord Jesus Christ. This is God’s way of peace and holiness. It is folly to the world and the beclouded heart, but it is the way.   -Robert Murray M’Cheyne 

Let me pay for my sins Lord.  You know I don’t very much like anyone doing anything for me that I can’t pay them back for.  Who did you consult with before you just went ahead and sent Jesus to suffer and die in my place?  And then, if that wasn’t enough, you went ahead and gave me the faith necessary to believe in him since I didn’t possess it within myself.  Can you see where I am going with this Lord?   

We both know I don’t deserve forgiveness.  I couldn’t deserve it less.  What should be mine is judgement, death, wrath, torment, and eternal horror—this business about being treated like royalty when I have played the traitor like a seasoned pro is just so incredibly uncomfortable.  Could you make an exception here?  All this free stuff you give me with no strings attached isn’t doing much in building up my self-image.  I mean, it makes you look really good, and it makes me look, well—silly and so undeserving.  And you aren’t doing a very impressive job when it comes to living up to the descriptions about you in some of the more popular ‘Christian’ books—they make you out to be so much more like us than you really are.    

So, at least let me pay for something.  You won’t have to share much of the credit.  Just this one time, please. Your grace is just so offensive!  Could you tone it down a bit?  Everything within my carnal man cringes when faced with sheer grace.  You love me when I am just so—unlovable.  Let’s make a deal: I won’t take any of the credit.  Let me help though.  I want to do my part to make it right—offer my contribution.  It’s tough watching you do all the heavy lifting while I enjoy the spoils. 

But you just won’t accept it.  My works of righteousness and efforts at making peace are repudiated.  You condemn my sincerest attempts to live after Christ in my own strength.  Couldn’t you have set this thing up differently?  Why does the blood of Jesus have to be enough?  Level the playing field a little.  As it is, I give you dirty linens (my sin), and you give me a clean slate.  I give you soiled rags (my good works), and you give me a reward.  I grieve your Spirit and I want to somehow undo what I have done, but you have none of it.  My condolences don’t suffice.  Penance isn’t necessary.  You won’t even let me do time in purgatory.  If I could pay some kind of fee to cover even the least of my wrongdoings it’d be so much easier, I could throw a few dollars in the coffer and feed the poor and hold open doors for old ladies—and we’d be square.

It’s not fair and I want to feel better about me. 

 16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.   (Psalm 51:16-17, ESV)

Come to think of it, maybe instead of letting me help you, you could help kill my pride some more and make me humble while you are at it.

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