The Master Coal Heaver!
"If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the LORD will reward you." Proverbs 25:21-22
What a strange and exotic principle! Feed our enemies? Give water to those who hate us? Certainly this teaching is not from below, but from above! This is the doctrine of Christ, the doctrine of free grace — the formula that transforms inveterate enemies into faithful friends.
These coals of fire are not coals of judgment, but coals of grace by which the hearts of our enemies are melted and won. Our Savior preached this doctrine with great clarity in his Sermon on the Mount when He said, "You have heard that it was said: You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." Matthew 5:43-44.
Nothing is more contrary to the flesh than exercising kindness and love toward those who hate us, but if we would honor our Savior and subdue our enemies — we dare not resort to the sinful practice of revenge. We must conquer the hearts of our enemy's the same way that Christ conquered our hearts — by relentlessly heaving the coals of unmerited grace upon their heads.
Coals of Grace
A mighty king may very well use angry force to subjugate his enemies, but they will never love him or serve him willingly. Willing service, heart commitment, and life-loyalty — can only be accomplished by grace, mercy, and love. The Lord Jesus Christ does not win sinners to Himself with threats of punishment or promises of reward. He wins sinners to Himself by His free grace! He turns enemies into friends, by His grace! He converts hard-hearted adversaries into faithful disciples, by His grace! He causes rebels to surrender their hearts to him, not with brute force and overwhelming power — but with tender, irresistible love and grace!
He is the only Master of the universe, the sovereign Master of hearts, and the Master Coal Heaver as well. With the gospel shovel in his hand, He sovereignly heaves the covenant coals of free grace onto the heads of His enemies, and in so doing He melts their hearts of stone into soft, pliable, elastic masses of wax — putty in the hands of the Master!
No chosen sinner can successfully withstand the melting effects of Calvary's coals! When the coals of effectual blood redemption, free forgiveness, and perfect righteousness begin to stack up, coal upon coal, on the sinner's heart, and the heat of Christ's indescribable love grows warmer and warmer — that unbreakable, adamantine heart of stone is eventually smitten, smelted, and liquefied into a puddle of love for the crucified Coal Heaver!