A Jagged Word


“Suppose there is a lowly peasant lad who has a secret love for a beautiful princess. It seems a hopeless, lost love. He fears he can’t have her so he only worships from afar. In his hurt he takes steps to defend himself. He constructs a kind of defense mechanism, a kind of ‘fictional theology’ about her if you will. He tells himself that she is too vain and proud for her own good. She consorts with all the wrong people – with princes, not with peasant lads. Yet he dreams that maybe he can make it somehow. He sets out to show her. He sets out to become rich and powerful. He plans and plots and sets ideals for himself. He dreams of himself as a potential prince! But then to top it all off he hears that she has already been predestined for someone. She has already decided the matter. That, of course, would be the last, crushing blow. But he refuses to believe it and goes on doggedly pursuing his ideals and perhaps even begins to become cruel and ruthless in his frustration and anger.

“Then suppose one fine day the royal carriage comes clattering down the road and pulls up at the door. The princess steps down and comes to him and announces, ‘John, what in the world are you up to? Don’t you see? You are the one I have decided on! I love you and always have. Why are you making such a fool of yourself?’

“‘Who me? Holy Smokes!’

“Now, in theology, of course, at that point we say, Holy Spirit! The word is spoken. The ‘royal carriage’ has arrived. What was hidden is revealed. Only that word, nothing else, can save from all the nonsense, all the self-imposed bondage. No theory, no amount of speculation about the ‘princess’ can do it.”

-Gerhard O. Forde, “Justification by Faith” (75-76)