My job involves writing grants that request funding for particular projects. In the grant, you must describe the problem, offer your solution and make your case why you should be given money to enact it.
Imagine the absurdity if we came up with the following proposal and submitted it to God. From our perspective, we would have no hope of funding.
But that’s the thing — it’s not man’s idea, so we have hope.
The Gospel as a Grant Request
Summary: The sin-scarred human race requests salvation from holy God, the creator of the universe. Our sin against you has condemned us; we are requesting that you provide redemption that will restore our relationship with you and allow us to spend eternity in your presence. Our proposal calls for your son, Jesus Christ, to make sacrificial atonement for our sins based on his life, death and resurrection. We believe you will do this because you love us; we believe that you can do this because you are both just and justifier.
Profile: There are currently six billion human beings on the planet. Millions more have lived and died since the beginning of time. We are filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness and malice. We embrace envy, murder, strife and deceit. We are gossips and slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty and boastful, sexually immoral, inventors of evil, disobedient, foolish, faithless, heartless and ruthless. The thoughts of our hearts are only evil continually. We are ugly, dirty and twisted with sin. Left to ourselves, we are dead and without hope.
Background: You created man after your own image, pure and spotless. Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden means that each human being is born depraved, able only to choose according to our sinful wills and destined for eternal death. Because we are made in your image, we can be kind, do good deeds and love our fellow man. But these things do not save us. You are the only means by which we will find any rest for our restless souls.
Need: Our greatest and only need is redemption. We need to be saved from death and raised to life. We need our sin to be taken away and our punishment to be absorbed by another. We need to be born again, declared righteous in the court of heaven and adopted into the family of God. We need all of this on your initiative. And we need it to last for eternity. Without it, we will suffer in hell forever.
Project Description: Send Jesus Christ, your only son, to this world to be miraculously born of a virgin, live a life perfect in every respect, and die an unjust death, taking upon himself the sins of his people and satisfying the full cup of the wrath of God. Raise him from the dead three days later, proving your victory over death. On the basis of Christ’s finished work, call us to yourself, regenerate our hearts and enable us to trust in you by grace alone through faith alone. Replace our guilt with Christ’s righteousness, adopt us into your family and send the Holy Spirit to dwell within us.
Help us to live according to your word and for your glory. Provide local communities of believers that will assemble together to know you and make you known. Enable us to persevere in your grace until you draw our souls to your physical presence to worship you. In the last day, return to judge the wicked and restore the new heavens and the new earth. Let us forever praise you with your people from every tribe and tongue and nation.
Budget: We are morally bankrupt. All our righteousness – any good thing we do – is as filthy rags in your sight. We can contribute nothing. You must provide everything. There are no other donors, no other possible sources of salvation. This proposal rests entirely with you.
Conclusion: We are desperate sinners absurdly requesting salvation from the very one against whom we have sinned. We have no prior relationship, no basis for our request other than your good pleasure and the praise of your glorious grace. We cast ourselves on you as we wait for the grace by which alone we can stand.