Response to the Holy God: Absolute Surrender

The Lord our God is faithful and has revealed all truth through His Word and His Holy Spirit, and He calls for us to submit every aspect of our being to Him. The only response to the Holy God is absolute surrender, which is only possible through the power of His Holy Spirit.

There was a time when this author would have said our response should be different; we should love the Lord, we should respond with obedience, we should love others, but these actions are impossible for us and can only be accomplished through His power. All men need Christ wrought in them if they are to be able to obey the commands of Christ. Humans are incapable of overcoming sin and of loving perfectly; these tasks can only be accomplished when hearts are humbled before the Lord and men seek the face of Christ. Speaking of Luke 18:27, Andrew Murray says, “The text contains two thoughts—that in religion, in the question of salvation and of following Christ by a holy life, it is impossible for man to do it. And then alongside that is the thought—What is impossible with man is possible with God.”[1] Man can do all things through Christ who strengthens him (Philippians 4:13), but it is not man at all, but Christ in him. All men whom submit to Christ are but branches, and He is the vine. It is the vine Whom is attached to the roots and Whom feeds the branches so that they may bear fruit. The only thing the branch must do is abide in the vine. “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5, ESV).[2]

The apostles, never seeking their own glory, but in all things proclaiming the glory of God, delighted in surrender to Christ. In Acts 4, Peter and John upon approaching the temple see a lame beggar. Peter heals the man and then preaches in Solomon’s Portico. The temple guards arrest them and take them before the High Priest and his family. When questioned by what power and authority they have healed this man, Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, declares, “that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well” (Acts 4:10).

The apostles themselves had been nothing but instruments in the hands of the exalted Redeemer, whose existence and power were certified by the miracle they had wrought and none could deny. The utter absence of self glorification on the part of Peter and John is remarkable, only surpassed by their splendid confidence in and absolute surrender to Jesus.[3]

Christ saves all by delivering them from the power of the flesh. This body of sin has been crucified with Him, and is resurrected in Him. It is a spiritual rebirth, and the believer must walk now in faith in the Spirit and not in the flesh. “This faith—that is trust in Christ to the point of absolute surrender to and mystical union with him—becomes the ground of our justification with God.”[4]

All other things flow from absolute surrender to Christ; humility, love, patience, and obedience. It is this authors opinion that Matthew 6:33 is applicable to all areas of life and not just provision in the physical realm, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Christian, do you want to overcome sin? Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Christian, do you lack patience, consistent and abiding love, compassion, mercy, generosity, or humility? Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. This means that the only response to a Holy God, and the only way to overcome the flesh and live in righteousness is absolute surrender to Jesus Christ. Amen.


[1] Andrew Murray, Absolute Surrender (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1897), 58.

[2] Unless otherwise noted, all scripture comes from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001).

[3] Thomas Whitelaw, Acts, The Preacher’s Complete Homiletic Commentary (New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892), 100. 

[4] John W. Bradshaw, “The Gospel of Jesus Christ in the First Century,” Bibliotheca Sacra 59, no. 236 (1902): 753.

One Comment on “Response to the Holy God: Absolute Surrender

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