This song freshens up a 19th century hymn by George Robinson about the love of God that we experience in union with Jesus, and how that relationship affects our lives, particularly in how we view creation. Robinson says that "something lives in every hue Christless eyes have never seen." Once a person is born-again, or regenerated, it is like they are given new eyes, eyes to see the significance of Jesus in every formerly mundane aspect of the universe. As we experience the beauties of this world, we can truly say that Jesus' loveliness ever grows since we see Him - His beauty, His creative power, His tenderness - in creation. The song closes with the assurance that though "heaven and earth may fade and flee," in His arms we'll ever be. Let us rejoice in the amazing truth that we can say "I am His, and He is mine!"
Posts Tagged ‘Style: Balanced’
This classic hymn by Charles Wesley describes the intimacy that Jesus offers us in our relationship with Him. Christianity is not simply a religion, that is, is not a set of moral or ethical codes to follow. Nor is it simply a set of beliefs that one must adopt. At its core, it is about having a personal and intimate relationship with a savior, namely Jesus. It is turning away from all of the things we hold most dear, whether they are sinful behaviors or our most treasured possessions, and embracing to Jesus as our true and ultimate treasure. Wesley found Jesus to be his great "lover," his shelter in the time of difficulty, his support and comfort, his healer, encourager, and his only source of grace. As we sing such hymns to Jesus, may we grow to love Him more and more with our hearts, minds, souls, and strength.
A Christian is one who has been set free from the power and penalty of sin, both in this life and in the next, through the only means that God has given for such redemption, the substitutionary death of Jesus who took the awful punishment for sin that we deserved. (1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 2:2) This central message of the Christian faith is our deepest delight and surest anchor and deserves to be on our hearts and lips every day. We should never tire of singing praise to Jesus who has redeemed us from our sin and guilt. Nothing can fill our hearts with gratitude like remembering how wicked we really are, the severity of punishment that our sins deserve before a holy God, and the love that God has shown us in giving His Son to endure our punishment for us. (Romans 5:8) Jesus has taken the “wormwood and the gall” (severe bitterness associated with judgment - see Jeremiah 9:15 for an example) for us and has completed the work of reconciliation; there is no way we can add to or subtract from its saving value. Let this closing thought be the theme song of our lives: “my Beloved, He is mine, for He has made me His.”
This song was written during a time of struggle with besetting sin. Christians are forgiven sinners, and even after becoming born again into God's family and having their debts forgiven with a full pardon struggle with ongoing sin and the proper response to it. God tells us that "if we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9) But we often fail to take our sins to God and truly repent - often out of the feeling that what we've done is inexcusable; we simply feel too dirty and guilty and unworthy of God's love. But that's the very place God wants to show us the magnitude of His grace. Even though we continue to commit acts of treason which (symbolically) nailed Jesus to the cross, He still continues to love us and demonstrated that by giving His Son to be slain on the cross. Because that has been accomplished God has promised to be for us, to never be angry again no matter how low we fall in sin. Praise God for His saving grace! The chorus is based on 2 Peter 1:9 which says that believers who are lacking godliness are "blind or short-sighted, having forgotten [their] purification from [their] former sins."
We never move past the need to meditate deeply on the suffering that Jesus endured for our sins. Without reflecting often on the unjust suffering of our glorious friend and king we can easily slide further and further into complacency and be unaffected by the magnitude of what took place at Calvary. The spotless Lamb of God died for us - unworthy, helpless sinners entrenched in our rebellion, intent on slaying Him and usurping His authority over us. The song begins by inviting all to come and behold Jesus dying on the cross that they might find the endless and abiding love of God. The chorus answers this invitation, declaring that we will indeed come and remember that mercy moved God to satisfy the demands of righteousness by sending His own Son to bear the punishment for our sins. In the second verse we cry with hymn-writer John Newton that the cross might continue to pierce our hearts as we remember that it was for our sins that Jesus suffered and died.
This song is intended to be used as a congregational plea for the Holy Spirit to bring His divine light to three areas: our personal spiritual growth, our ministry to the poor and needy, and our evangelism and missions work. Too often songs calling for the Spirit’s presence and power stop at the first area, our personal affections and holiness. While that is certainly an important work of the Spirit, without which we would be left to our own cold-heartedness and indifference to spiritual things, the Spirit must also empower our outreach as well. Acts 1:8 says “you [disciples] will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” We see that the purpose of the Spirit’s power in this instance was given in order to send them out to the mission field and make their gospel labors effective. May the church today cry out for the Spirit’s presence and power to animate and enliven every aspect of her ministry!
Romans chapter 8 is one of the most comforting passages in all of Scripture for believers. It asserts that once we are united to Christ there is no more condemnation for our sin (past and present), we have the Holy Spirit indwelling us to help us fight against remaining sin, we have been adopted in God’s family, even though we (and creation) suffer the effects of sin through pain and suffering, one day all things will be made new, and nothing can ever separate us from the love of God in Jesus. Perhaps the most precious gem of all is found in verse 28: “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Even though the circumstances of our lives may be painful and confusing and cause us to doubt God’s love for us, we can hold fast to this promise by faith that even when we can’t see His loving purpose behind our suffering, we know it is there. He will work all things for our good and for His glory. Amen!
This song presents a triumphant, even defiant view of life, death, and affliction. Henry Lyte understood the function of trials in the believer's life. 2 Timothy 3:12 declares that "all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted," and James 1:2 encourages us to "consider it all joy when you encounter various trials." Instead of worrying when trials loom over us, we should rejoice because it is the very evidence that God is at work in us. But even though we are instructed to take joy in trials, we are still to long to be free from sin and its effects. Verse two reminds us not to seek comfort from our trials in this world but in the next – the city where we have permanent residency, heaven. It is possible to have so much confidence in our destination because of our union with Christ that we can even taunt Satan and his army. As the song says "so let Satan's army assail me full force." The amazing truth is that even Satan's plans to destroy us serve at the pleasure of the sovereign Lord of all who orchestrates every circumstance to bring us closer to glory. And the certainty of that glory is found in our union with Christ, that we have died with Him and are hidden in Him (Colossians 3).
This text is very heaven-focused. Not from the standpoint that it attempts a description of heaven, but more that it expresses the longing in each believer's heart for the day when our burdens will be lifted and we will be fully free to praise! The verses each give a different look at how heaven will be a relief to the believer - spanning the freedom from flesh to the rest we will have from trials. The final two lines leave us with a simple, but beautiful vision of the glorious transition we will experience one day. As believers, we are wise to keep our eternal destination ahead of us as a reminder that this world is not our home, and that our longing and expectation for home can bring us hope in any circumstance.
Christ deserves praise from every creature and every aspect of creation. This popular Isaac Watts text paints beautiful pictures of the effect Christ's reign has on all He has made and their response to Him. As a church, we need to speak of the greatness of Christ in ways that spark our imagination. To sing about the "early blessings" that infants cry out to Him gives us a shifted perspective on the cry of a newborn. Watts obviously looked for ways that God is praised in the every day life he saw around him, and as worshippers of the living and omnipresent God, we are encouraged by this hymn to see and hear His praise happening all around us.