Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall; Humpty Dumpty had a great fall; All the king’s horses and all the king’s men, couldn’t put Humpty together again.
As a biblical counselor, I think a lot about sanctification. While few people with whom I interact lack knowledge about the saving work of Christ or their future home with the Lord, many wrestle with what happens in the interim. Using Humpty Dumpty as the illustration, they would agree that in Adam we have had a great fall and are in need of a savior. They also have a good basic understanding that at death we go to heaven, where there is no sin or death or crying, and everything will be set right. What happens in between their justification and their glorification is often a bit murky, as they look at the various pieces of their lives as a sinner and a sufferer, and they wonder how and when they will be put together again.
Despite being Christians, some see themselves as poor Humpty, laying on the ground with the king’s horses and the king’s men passing by, unable to put Humpty back together. For some, these fractured pieces might be their past – ways in which they sinned or were sinned against. They think that those pieces remain forever broken at the base of the wall of their lives. They wrongly view themselves as a “victim” or they speak of their “brokenness.” For others, these pieces might be their ongoing struggle with sin and their seeming lack of growth. They focus on their failures, forgetting that it is God who works in them both to will and to do (Phil. 2:13) and that he is faithful to complete the work that he begins (Phil. 1:6). Finally, these pieces might be a present paralysis based upon a future that seems fearful and uncertain to them.
Notice the emphasis on self. While certainly we are sinners who fall short of the glory of God, we are also justified by God’s grace through the redemption of Christ (Rom. 3:23-24). Thus, we should never think that we are still defined by our past or present sin. Paul reminds us that despite our past, we were washed, we were sanctified, and we were justified (1Cor. 6:9-11).
While we are mindful that we are sinners, we must also remember that we are called saints because of the work of Christ. We must remind ourselves that a broken and contrite heart is not despised by the Lord (Ps. 51:17) and that he is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit (Ps. 34:18).
We should not view ourselves as broken. We are the redeemed of the Lord, who know that it is vain to trust in horses or human kings to put us back together again. We know that the Lord doesn’t delight in the strength of horse or the legs of man, but he takes pleasure in those who fear him (Psalm 147:10-11).
Yes, until the Lord calls us home, we still sin, and we still suffer the effects of the fall. There are still some pieces scattered about, and at times it seems like some of the glue of our sanctification hasn’t yet set. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, however, we truly are enabled more and more to die unto sin and live unto righteousness (Westminster Shorter Catechism #35).
As the new year begins, remember that you are not saved by a king’s horses or his men. They are a false hope of salvation (Ps. 33:16). Because you are in Christ, you are not broken. Our Lord binds up and heals the brokenhearted and proclaims liberty to those who were bound (Ps. 147:3; Isa. 61:1). Choose to welcome his work in your life. Choose to look at the ways he has been creating a new heart in you and renewing a right spirit within you. Don’t ignore those pieces that still need some attention, but don’t view yourself as a broken person. He doesn’t leave us broken in pieces. We are servants of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, who is in the business of putting us back together again.
And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." (Rev. 21:5)