Recently the brothers on The Front Porch were in Indianapolis for the Midwest Annual Reformation Conference at New Life Community Church. It was a rich time of fellowship with new friends around the old truths of the Doctrines of Grace. We were reminded that though these truths are old, they never get old. The grace and glory of God in salvation remains as fresh and refreshing for the redeemed as the day we first came to know them.

Thankfully, these doctrines are not just the purview of the theologian and preacher; they are not just the property of the classroom or the pulpit, but they also belong to the poet. Though the preachers hog the conversation most days on the porch, the porch does have a chair for the poet also, especially when expressing the blessed grace and mercy of God to his people.

Today the poet takes his seat on the porch. The subject is TULIP – The Flower of Salvation.

It’s a flower –
With the aroma of the power
Of God to save by grace any hour
Those who turn their face to his
And come to see that only he gives
Salvation of a sovereign kind
That any way it comes blows the mind
Of sinful man who knows not the gravity
Or the depths of human depravity
And how the seeds of Adam could not comprehend
His action as cosmic rebellion
Leading to death in trespasses and sin

Still God is pleased not to leave
All creation without a reprieve
From all time before the creation perfect
He chose to redeem a beloved elect
How God unmoved by outside force
Could sovereignly direct the course
Of each life he wills to forgive
On whom he shows mercy that they might live
One he loved the other he hated
Yet his supremacy and justice never abated
Salvation for all who willingly take it
Though no heart is able except he make it

By grace the unwilling are made to will
And so God’s grace remains sovereign still
Do men resist? Indeed they do
It’s His power to insist that makes it true
It unplugs closed ears so we hear
The voice of the shepherd calling us near
And when we hear his voice
What other choice
Do have but to come to him and rejoice
That he would give grace sovereign and free
And die for his sheep so willingly

Christ was not crucified on a wing and a prayer
In the longed for hope that some would care
His death was not just the possibility
That some get saved, but eternal reality
That all those the father chose
Would find themselves righteously clothed
He died for his people; his life for the church
And now in him the second birth
For all those elect from the foundation of the earth
To show his blood is of infinite worth

And those whom he saves he secures
Those secure will surely endure
Until the day of final glory
When they look back and tell the story
Through times of doubt, struggle, and pain
God’s decree was never in vain
No sheep forgotten, no lamb lost
All for whom he paid the cost
Will enter the fold and make it home
And learn they walked but never alone
The Shepherd who called kept them safe
Now and forever secure in his grace

And thus this is the glory in God’s saving story –
His power in the flower of salvation
Is written in his word for all who have heard
With a simple and truthful summation
For those in Christ – no condemnation
For those in Christ – no condemnation

The Front Porch
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Tony Carter

Tony Carter

Anthony Carter (MA, Reformed Theological Seminary) is lead pastor of East Point Church in East Point, Georgia, an organizing member of the Council of Reforming Churches, and a Council member of The Gospel Coalition. He is the author of several books, including Black and Reformed: Seeing God’s Sovereignty in the African-American Christian Experience. Anthony and his wife, Adriane, have five children.


  • Avatar Louis Love says:

    Brother man, Brother man, almost got my shout on. That was absolutely beautiful and powerful. What a story, what a Savior. Praise God!

  • Avatar Tony Carter says:

    Amen brother! The story of God’s glory in our salvation is worthy of every expression of praise we can muster.

  • Avatar Louis Love says:

    Check this out. I started reading it to JR and about halfway through she said Pastor Carter wrote that didn’t he? She too, along with Janelle and your boy Jeremiah were blessed by the poem as well. Good stuff.

  • Avatar Tony Carter says:

    Glad to be an encouragement, especially to my boy Jeremiah! Eve’yday! Eve’yday! 🙂

The Front Porch

Conversations about biblical
faithfulness in African-American
churches and beyond