Until His love we tasted …

Our time in sin we wasted,
And fed upon the wind;
Until His love we tasted,
No comfort could we find:

But now we stand to witness
His pow’r and grace to you;
May you perceive its fitness,
And call upon him too!

Our pleasure and our duty,
Though opposite before;
Since we have seen his beauty,
Are joined to part no more:

It is our highest pleasure,
No less than duty’s call;
To love him beyond measure,
And serve him with our all.

—hymn by John Newton, “We Were Once As You Are”

On Sunday July 3rd we (Renew Church) considered the themes of Duty and Dependence, whereby the beauty of God overwhelms our hearts and what used to be a mere duty receives a whole new energy to be joyfully performed, even with pleasure!

The following Sunday we sang “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” (original lyrics by Sir Robert Robinson) with added closing verses borrowed from one John Newton’s hymns, “We Were Once As You Are,” with the chosen verses from above emphasized (added at 3:21 in song). Listen …

 

I am not what I ought to be …

John Newton“I am not what I ought to be — ah, how imperfect and deficient! I am not what I wish to be — I abhor what is evil, and I would cleave to what is good! I am not what I hope to be — soon, soon shall I put off mortality, and with mortality all sin and imperfection. Yet, though I am not what I ought to be, nor what I wish to be, nor what I hope to be, I can truly say, I am not what I once was; a slave to sin and Satan; and I can heartily join with the apostle, and acknowledge, ‘By the grace of God I am what I am.'”

—John Newton1 reflecting on 1 Corinthians 15:10.

  1. As quoted in The Christian Pioneer (1856) edited by Joseph Foulkes Winks, p. 84. Also in The Christian Spectator, vol. 3 (1821), p. 186.
 

Self-giving beyond ourselves.

Quote

What hope do we have of becoming generous people?

The same hope we have at death is the hope we cling to in this life.

Watch (or click through to see video):

From question 1 in the New City Catechism:

Q1: What is our only hope in life and death?

That we are not our own but belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ.

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Really know.

“If there is not radical growth in humble love toward everyone (even your enemies), you don’t really know you are a SINNER saved by grace. If there is not radical, concrete growth in confidence and joy (even in difficulties) you don’t really know you are a sinner saved by GRACE.”
Tim Keller

Many people are willing to agree that they are sinners. “We all make mistakes,” they say. “It’s part of being human.”

And then comes the self-justifying disclaimer, “I try to do my best everyday,” or a comparison with others (“Well, I’m not as bad as ______, I don’t _______.”)

Let’s really know we are sinners, and really know God’s grace, as He changes our motives, conquering our fears, overwhelming us with His love.

 

In 3 words.

Yesterday’s post on pragmatism may have struck a cord.

When we turn from pragmatism as our way to use God, we transition from trusting God for things to trusting God with our lives. This seems like a subtle shift, yet it makes a world of difference.

We still trust God for keeping His promises, as our hopes are rooted in the foundation of His faithfulness. He will not let us down. The key change is that we quit holding our hopes over Him. (Do this for me or else!) Instead we remind Him of all He surely has promised in His Word. Everything else is held with open hands, as we trust God with the changing circumstances, relationships, and opportunities that come our way. Example: Let’s say you are longing for a home to own. Are you trusting God for a home … or trusting God with a home? One has clenched fists, the other has open hands of faith.

  • Shift from these three words: trusting God for
  • To these: trusting God with

Along those lines, this quote came my way yesterday:

“The utter uniqueness of the Christian message — the heart of the gospel — is found in the three words of Christ from the cross, It is finished(John 19:30). The message of every other religious system, without exception, is predicated on some variation of another three words, which stand starkly opposed to the gospel’s three words.
Religion’s three words are: Get to work.’ And this is the heart of the bad news behind every approach to spirituality, enlightenment, or salvation that is not Christian.”
— Jared C. Wilson, Gospel Wakefulness (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2011), 131.

Let’s exchange one set of three words for the better set.

(Quote via Of First Importance)