The term "complex simplicity" stems from my understanding of my Maker's grace. The aspect of grace that terms "simplicity" is clear: I am a sinner in need of a Savior; He saves me; The end! The idea of grace is so entirely desired by my heart that my initial, gut response is "but of course His grace is sufficient!!" However, upon further meditation on the state of my heart and life in relation to sin, my response is a little more grim. I tend to focus on the impossibility that there could be full atonement and reconciliation. The complexities that these ponderings present have caused me to experience a fullness of understanding that His grace is not only my greatest need; it is my greatest desire! Praise God that HE denies all impossibilities and fulfills all promises to make His own righteous in His eyes.
My attempt to explain my musings on the topic of His grace might be a bit disjointed, but hopefully will show the redemption that the Lord has for a sinner like me, feebly attempting to understand Him. The framework for my understanding stems from the teaching of my youth. Growing up in an Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the teachings of Calvin were constantly imposed upon me. As a teenager, I did not give much thought to the theological implications of claiming to believe in Calvinism, so I simply listened, and somehow absorbed the doctrine without much thought towards it at all. Now, as an adult, at my ripe age of 26, (haha) I am beginning to adopt my personal understanding of the character of God and the fundamentals of a Christian life. Please don't misunderstand- I do not consider or call myself a "Calvinist". I do not claim to follow the teachings of any earthly man; I follow the teachings of Christ!
The concept of my total depravity is something that I can wrap my head around. This is probably the point that resonates with me the most. I am painfully aware of my daily failings. I am also in complete agreement that even my most righteous acts are as filthy rags, as Isaiah 64 explains. Simply looking at the pattern of my life, the roller-coaster of relational ups and downs I have in my spiritual journey, I see that my constant tendency is towards the selfish, the pleasurable, the instant gratification, and the thrill. My rationalizing brain of course tricks my heart into believing that "I am not really THAT bad" or "I do a lot of great things for people".. Which leads my posture from that of humility into that of pride, thus fooling myself completely that my rags are indeed royal robes! I am grateful that the Lord does not allow me to continue to view myself and my robes in this skewed way for long. He allows refocussing and humbling of heart to be able to see my rags as they are. Mine. The rags that I have created for myself in my own sin. I do not have the necessary fabric in my own store to even be able to create something resembling royal robes. Neither do I possess the funds or resources to purchase or create royal robes. Therefore, I recognize my need for the fabric to be purchased from an outside source, sewn by a master seamster, and gifted to me by a loving benefactor.
The concept of unconditional election is nearly impossible for my finite mind to comprehend. It constantly fails to take hold in my heart. I recognize that Scripture states that Salvation is by faith, not by works, so that no one can boast. However, the idea that I can do nothing to earn or deserve Salvation is, to put it bluntly, FRUSTRATING!!! My personality is such that I constantly am moving. I am a "doer". There is nothing I can DO to make God love me more! There is nothing I can DO to make myself more righteous! To most, these are probably freeing statements and a huge load off your back. To me, it is maddening! Ok, Ok, I agree that it is a completely freeing concept.. Especially because of my understanding that I can do nothing righteous aside from Christ.. (My rags are filthy, remember?).. But my constant struggle rests (another oxymoron) in the truth that His grace is HIS. Just like my sin is mine. SO, my resolution is that I need to quit attempting to reckon myself dead to my sin, and realize that the most important truth is that I AM (state of being, not active verb) ALIVE in CHRIST! He has done it all. Not because of me. Because of HIM. He chose, without any help from me, to save me! To determine me righteous in His sight.. all on His own! He sent His Son to die. He paid the price for MY sin. He bought the BEAUTIFUL fabric, sewed the robes Himself using the thread made of the very flesh of Christ, and has not only gifted me with the perfect royal robes, but has also dressed me in them and admires me and reckons me beautiful in His sight! Amazing. Simply, complexly, amazing!
This grace... It is not a one time gift. It is a life-long process. Sadly, I have to admit that more than a dozen times I have willingly traded my perfect robes, given to me out of sacrifice, for the rags. I have consciously chosen filth over sublime perfection. Grace is daily, my friends. His mercies are new every morning. GREAT is HIS Faithfulness!!
Let us all quit reckoning ourselves to whatever posture we think we ought to live in, and let's rest in the complex simplicity that we are ALIVE in Him! His grace is amazing. It is real. It is constant.
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship" Romans 12:1
PS. I love the oxymorons in scripture! I think I might muse on being a "living sacrifice" next..