Monday, January 17, 2011

I Surrender All? Think About It.

I finished listening to an excellent sermon this evening. Listen to it here. The pastor clearly preached repentance and the forgiveness of sins, a message I need constantly. So, having heard this, I went out for a smoke, as I so often do, even in this cold Minnesota winter.

What popped into my mind? The song "I Surrender All." Now a long, long time ago, I can remember singing that song (All to Jesus I surrender, etc.) and feeling all giddy and holy. Tonight I thought, "What a crock of bovine ..." (well, never mind, you get the picture).

To surrender is to give up, turn yourself in, turn over your possessions, etc. But this song claims that "All to Jesus I surrender." Well, I'm not capable of that, and neither are you. We'll get to those reasons below.

Who did the surrendering? Jesus did! The God of all creation humbled himself to the point that He was born as a human, a baby, and a poor one at that. He left His majestic throne in heaven and made himself a lowly man, a poor and despised one. God was subject to his human parents, he suffered rejection by his human family and community. God was hated by the religious leaders of his nation. He was killed by them. Yet He did the surrendering. Jesus willingly subjected himself to the most hated and humiliating punishment known to man. And it was all done for you ... and for me!

Now, how about you and me? If I were to surrender all to Jesus, I'd not have an imperfect thought in my mind. Well, I know myself, and that's impossible. And it's impossible for everyone I know. I can't even pray, or listen to a sermon, or sing a hymn without my mind wandering and thinking of something else. Were I to surrender ALL, that simply could not happen.

According to God's word, all that was done to achieve our redemption was done by Jesus,  God manifest in the flesh. That little word all becomes really, really big. And it doesn't mean "almost all," either. In other words, face the fact that we're all filthy sinners. All we have to do is review our past (and present, for that matter) to know that. We're just not capable of surrendering ourselves to Jesus. That's why He did it for us. And we can lay claim to that surrender in our baptism, in hearing the Word of God, and in receiving his body and blood in the sacrament. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ. Listen to Him, not to yourself.

Now that you've read a post that I'll no doubt have to correct in the future, go back and click on that "here" link above which you read past, and listen to the sermon.

And for more Christ centered, Cross focused sermons, go to

There, I've stepped on some toes. Well, I warned y'all. And I still can't get that darned song out of my head.


  1. I have noticed this type of language in many hymns and even in the Psalms. I've often wondered why. Wishful thinking...

  2. The dearest and best hymns of Christendom are those which point to Christ and his work and mediation on our behalf. Our beloved Lutheran Hymnal is rich in these types of hymns. A very good way to evaluate hymns and songs is to use the "Praise Song Cruncher" which is described at

    The Psalms often describe how the faithful delight in the Law of God. Psalms 1 and 109 come to mind. Read these and than look at yourself. We find that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. We simply cannot live up to such declarations from our own lips. But thanks be to God and our Lord Jesus Christ that He has declared us righteous because of His work and the faith which the Holy Spirit has worked in us. Thus we can stand before the throne of our God when he calls us home, declared righteous, not by our works, but by the works of our Savior and Redeemer.

    We need this reminder daily. We need to be gathering with the saints every worship service to hear the Word of God; the message of repentance and forgiveness of sins. We need to partake of Christ's body and blood in the Sacrament regularly. We need to always remember our baptism. Remember it like this: "I am baptized," not "I was baptized." the same way you say that "I am married," not "I was married."

    The Word and the Sacraments are Christ's work, not ours. Were they our work, we would be redeeming ourselves, and, of course, that is impossible.