I have been reading A.W. Tozer. Tozer possessed an ability to cause readers to think deeper and more honestly about the character of God. I have found myself thinking very hard about who God is, and how we should and do relate to him. This caused me to think about the vanity and absurdity of when we as Christians use phrases like I came to Christ, or we encourage others to come to Christ. It may seem like semantics, but I think we loss a large part of the story when we make ourselves the active participant in our redemptive story. A phrase like this can tend to muddy the waters of that great interaction between infinite and finite that we call salvation.
First, in our ignorance we knew nothing of God, or cared to know of him. It is only through God's own self-revelation that we are first inclined to search that which is unsearchable. Self-revelation and that intimate touch of the Holy Spirit on our hearts awakens what was cold and indifferent to God and creates a seekers heart. We need look no further than to Abraham. He had no knowledge of God, until God revealed himself to Abraham. When the writer of Hebrews discusses the faith of Abraham, he reinforces my point. He says that Abraham believed God, and it was count to him as righteousness. In order for Abraham to believe God, then God would have to have revealed some of himself for Abraham to believe in.
Second, the means of salvation should expose the reality of an entire lack of human initiative in the process itself. God throughout redemptive history has been seeking a people of his own. The struggles of redemptive history speak not to failures on God's part, but the enormity of man's problem with sin. Prior to sending the flood to destroy mankind, God reveals his regret for creating humanity in the first place. Bearing in mind God's regret it should stun us in seeing God's pursuit. Following the flood, Noah and his family had barely left the ark before they would engage in depravity of the highest order. However, God continues to pursue the hearts of men. He begins with Abraham through to Jacob and then the people of Israel. The entire history of the Israel, a people set apart by God, is one devastating heartbreak after another to God. He stands like the faithful husband, seeking a reconciling of his people to himself. And as if we need any greater example of God's initiative in our redemption, God condescends in the person of Christ. Fully God, Christ veils his divinity in flesh and bones. He, who is Almighty, takes on the form of a slave. When the time had come Christ, who has already been humbled by being made a man, humbles himself further, by dying a humiliating death on a cross at the hands of his own creation. He, who is the source of all things, lays down his own life and accepts the rejection of the Father on behalf of the creature. For the Father, who is completely without sin, cannot bear to look at the Son, who has become complete sin on our behalf. The creator has become sin for the creature, and died in order to reconcile creature to creator. This redemptive act is accomplished without human initiative and in spite of any human initiative to the contrary.
Finally, who has ever "come" to Christ, who hasn't at first sought to flee from him? In much the same way God defeated Jacob at the Jabbok river, many of us resist the overtures of God until like Jacob we are brought low before God after a lengthy struggle. If this being the case, it would be better to say that God had finally caught me, as opposed to coming to Jesus. Even that statement is lacking because how does one flee from one who is omnipresent? And though we would seek to avoid the presence of God, we are forever in it. For scripture says, that in him, we live, move, and have our being. When we resist those loving gestures that beckon us to a God and his unfailing love, he continues to relentlessly draw us unto himself. Words are lacking to explain and describe this amazing act of God. It is God and God alone that initiates that great collision of fallen man and righteous God. We can claim no human initiative of our own in the process. Or if we admitted some small part it would best compared to a captain who sails across a great ocean, and the crewman who rows a skiff from ship to shore. That is a decent enough picture, but even that gives us far too great a role in our own redemption.
Some of the great meaning of the work of God has been lost in cliché. It is by reflecting on the true depth and distance of God's act of grace towards us, that we feel all of the weight of his love for us. It is vitally important from time to time to remind ourselves and meditate on what he has done on our behalf for the benefit of our souls. We in some cases have lost that deep sense of awe that flows from seeing ourselves as God sees us in our fallen nature. Who, all though desires that all should be redeemed, abhors our sin prior to our deliverance. After which, our sin is covered by the blood of Christ. We could take our redemption rather casually is we do not take the time to truly meditate on what it means that creator was crucified for creature in order to call us out of our rebellion from him and his created order. It is out of this neglect of the true nature of God and nature of our redemption, that countless heresies flow. If we were to truly describe in words that time when at last we heard the calls of God over our souls, it would be better to say that I had tried in vain to run from God. I had tried to fill that in me which only God can fill. When I had exhausted all human effort, I inclined my ear to hear and believe that which I had been taught me all my life. When I had reached the end of myself and my flesh, God redeemed me and call me his own.