My Favorite Hymn

I thought that I would share with you a song that I have recently discovered. It’s an old hymn from the 18th or 19th century. I heard it sung by Indelible Grace, who replaced the traditional music with a more contemporary style.

The hymn is not just a proclamation of self-denial. It is a heartfelt cry from one who recognizes the vanity and foolishness of clinging to this world and is captivated by the beauty of the Triune God and the joy of his fellowship.

The song soars up from the depths of what would be the worst conditions of this life: the loss of hope, persecution, bad circumstances, betrayal and rises to the heights of hope in God in spite of these things.

By verse four, he actually bids farewell to the two things most people spend their entire lives seeking after and invites disaster, scorn, and pain. Not because we should ask for these things, but because he knows they are coming anyway. He welcomes them as God’s means of glorifying Himself in the sufferer and perfecting the believers soul.

In many circumstances, these words have bolstered my faith and strengthened my hope.

Jesus, I my cross have taken

H.F. Lyte

1. Jesus, I my cross have taken,
All to leave and follow Thee.
Destitute, despised, forsaken,
Thou from hence my all shall be.
Perish every fond ambition,
All I’ve sought or hoped or known.
Yet how rich is my condition!
God and heaven are still my own.

2. Let the world despise and leave me,
They have left my Savior, too.
Human hearts and looks deceive me;
Thou art not, like them, untrue.
O while Thou dost smile upon me,
God of wisdom, love, and might,
Foes may hate and friends disown me,
Show Thy face and all is bright.

3. Man may trouble and distress me,
’Twill but drive me to Thy breast.
Life with trials hard may press me;
Heaven will bring me sweeter rest.
Oh, ’tis not in grief to harm me
While Thy love is left to me;
Oh, ’twere not in joy to charm me,
Were that joy unmixed with Thee.

4. Go, then, earthly fame and treasure,
Come disaster, scorn and pain
In Thy service, pain is pleasure,
With Thy favor, loss is gain
I have called Thee Abba Father,
I have stayed my heart on Thee
Storms may howl, and clouds may gather;
All must work for good to me.

5. Soul, then know thy full salvation
Rise o’er sin and fear and care
Joy to find in every station,
Something still to do or bear.
Think what Spirit dwells within thee,
Think what Father’s smiles are thine,
Think that Jesus died to win thee,
Child of heaven, canst thou repine.

6. Haste thee on from grace to glory,
Armed by faith, and winged by prayer.
Heaven’s eternal days before thee,
God’s own hand shall guide us there.
Soon shall close thy earthly mission,
Soon shall pass thy pilgrim days,
Hope shall change to glad fruition,
Faith to sight, and prayer to praise.

The Bible is Not…

I have been thinking about how Conservative Evangelicals exalt the Bible. Certainly it is right to do so because God Himself has said in His word through David “You have exalted above all things your name and your word”.

Still, it has been nagging me lately and I trust it’s the Holy Spirit doing it, that we have exalted the Bible to a higher place than even God has and it worries me. This impression has been building for some time, beginning with some comments of a well known pastor in a counseling book I’ve been reading, followed by a sermon by John Piper I saw earlier this year about the relationship between the Bible and the Holy Spirit and culminated with several conversations recently. I walked out of Sunday School last week unable to get my mind off a comment someone made about a counseling case study: “you could tell how much the Bible changed him.”

The Bible never changed anyone.

It is the Holy Spirit that changes people as He convicts them of sin, guilt, God’s righteousness and the coming judgment. The Holy Spirit only ever uses the Bible to perform this work in men’s hearts which is why it is so essential that we teach the Bible to all men everywhere, but millions of people know the Bible and are unchanged by it. Genuine Christians can read clear commands in the Bible and ignore them repeatedly. Satan knows the Bible and is unchanged by it.

We are in great peril of denigrating the Holy Spirit if we exalt the Bible to a place higher than God does. It is the Word of God but it is not God. There are only three persons of the Trinity and they have been filled since the beginning of time. I don’t think they are even taking applications.