Friday, January 1, 2010

Come Thou Fount - Verse 2

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin. . .

Life is tough. In some ways, it's tougher for a Christian who wants to please God, because it is glaringly apparent that most of what he does is not pleasing to the Judge of All the Earth.

So, we sorrow when we contemplate our sin and our flesh. We strive to do right. We make lists of things to do, and write resolutions of things to change, so that we can feel better about ourselves.

The truth is that when we do these things, we are in danger.

The Irish Calvinist talked about this on his blog. He spoke of Jonathan Edwards, a giant of the faith, who made many resolutions as he walked through life, striving to live a holy, passionate life before the God he loved.

The Irish Calvinist writes,

We Like Measurable Standards
However, (and here is my concern) the propensity of the human heart to attach itself to rules and regulations for righteousness is an ever intimidating and sobering reality. We want to be active doing– so that we feel like we are– something. And the scary thing for me as both a pastor and someone who wants to pursue holiness is that we see the rules and don’t see the gospel.

I must repeat that: We want to be active doing so that we feel like we are something.

Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I'll begin...

But the truth is that we are already something if we have been purchased by the blood of Christ. We are His children! We are rooted and grounded in Christ. God is refining and changing us, making us like His dear Son. Thank God, our salvation doesn't depend on us. God is the One who is holding us in the palm of His hand, and He will never let us go.

If you are one of those people who fall into the trap of doing so you feel like you are something, you need to change your way of thinking. You may lack obedience and discipline, but your obedience and discipline is not going to make God love you more, even if you were very obedient and perfectly disciplined. God loves you on the basis of what Jesus accomplished, not on what you do or do not do every day.

I used to derive a false sense of security by checking off a list in my mind each day. I based my Christian life on my accomplishments rather than on a relationship with God. The checklist was a source of pride and satisfaction - see what a good little Christian I am? I did this. I did not do that.

I still operate by using lists. However, I don't see my accomplishments as a way to please God. I am not working my way to heaven in my much-doing. I have learned to rest in Jesus. I have learned to see my sin more clearly, and see God's grace more gratefully, and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit more fully.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I've come...

What's an Ebenezer? Dr. Gregory Neal explains:

"Literally speaking, an Ebenezer is a "stone of help," or a reminder of God’s Real, Holy Presence and Divine aid. Spiritually and theologically speaking, an Ebenezer can be nearly anything that reminds us of God’s presence and help: the Bible, the Sacramental Elements, a cross, a picture, a fellow believer, a hymn – those things which serve as reminders of God’s love, God’s Real Presence, and God’s assistance are "Ebenezers.""

A stone of help. A rock of remembrance. Here by Thy great help I've come. I am nothing apart from Christ. He is the One who has given my life purpose, and focus, and meaning. He is the One who is my Helper.

And I hope, by thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

This world is not my home, I'm just passing through. God is pleased to lead me safely on the path towards the Celestial City. In His good pleasure, He chose me to be His child and to be redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. I am safe in Him.

It's all about Jesus, people.

The Irish Calvinist says we can learn from Jonathan Edwards - not to make lists and resolutions, relying on them instead of on Christ. No, Jonathan Edwards was passionately in love with Jesus - he praised Him constantly in his writing and in his living.

"We could certainly could learn a lot from Edwards in context…stare long at Christ, his person and work, and then dip you pen in the inexhaustible fountain of grace and respond to it with a Christ-centered, cross-boasting, pride-smashing, personal resolution to live for the glory of God…because it is right and he is worth it."

Keep on singing the praises of God. Keep on living for the glory of God. Because it is right and he is worth it!


  1. I didn't realize Ebenezer actually meant something... I thought it was just a name, like "Ebenezer Scrooge". :P Learn something new every day.

    Great post, Mom!

  2. Me either, Sarah!

    Love to learn new things. :D


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