Thursday, January 26, 2012

Simple Gifts - an American song of Regeneration and Repentance

Before I get to the meat of this post I want to say that I'm well aware the shakers were fools, and if they were around in Paul's time he would have had strong words for them. I'm also pretty confident that this song probably means the opposite of what I take it to mean, but you know what, if the emergent junk crowd can appropriate our own language and vocabulary and make it mean something else we should be able to do the same. So I will.

Tis the gift to be simple (Ep 4:7)
Tis the gift to be free (Rom 6:7)
Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be (1 Cor 4:7)
And when we find ourselves in the place just right, it will be in the valley of love and delight (1 Cor 15:52)

When true simplicity is gained, to bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed (Ps 110:3)
to turn turn will be our delight (Ps 119:16)
Till by turning, turning we come round right. (Is 45:22,25)

While it's definitely a gift from above, I normally wouldn't think of regeneration as becoming simple, but maybe that's why it's so striking. When you are regenerated your old sin nature is pushed off, blown away, swept clean. Your life is uncluttered from a kind of necessary lusting after every horrid pleasure, and I suppose you could call that a kind of divine simplification.
Obviously the gift of freedom in Christ is ours by faith, and it is just that, a gift from above liberating us from wrath, and sin Rom 6:7, so that free like sons John 8:36.
The next thought is straightforward as well, God must grant us repentance from our pride 2 Tim 2:25, our inflated view of ourselves as God before we will come down to where we ought to be in His sight, but no sooner do we find ourselves there, then God lifts us up to new life and standing in Christ 2 Cor 6:18. And when we grasp that new life, it's sheer delight, it's being surrounded by love, it's like a warm sun lit valley where the trees are in bloom.

The next three lines collectively are simply an outstanding treatment of repentance. Once regenerated we are not too proud to beg, we are not too puffed up to demand an fair showing of our deeds and records before God, no, we are content to bow to Him and accept His charity. In fact, it's not mere contentment, it's a delight to lose your old nature, to hear His judgement concerning your hopelessness, of your evil deceptive heart, and to agree with Him. It's like getting out of old cold soaking wet clothes into a hot bath.
And repentance doesn't stop at conversion, on the contrary that's where it starts, it's something we always do from then on out, gradually becoming more sanctified, until we have grown to be like Christ in all ways Eph 4:13.

I'm going to hit play again.