Hymn on Romans 9:20-23

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Election sovereign and free.
Romans 9:20-23.

Isaac Watts

Behold the potter and the clay,
He forms his vessels as he please:
Such is our God, and such are we,
The subjects of his high decrees.

[Doth not the workman's power extend
O'er all the mass, which part to choose
And mold it for a nobler end,
And which to leave for viler use?]

May not the sovereign Lord on high
Dispense his favors as he will,
Choose some to life, while others die,
And yet be just and gracious still?

[What if, to make his terror known,
He lets his patience long endure,
Suff'ring vile rebels to go on,
And seal their own destruction sure?

What if he means to show his grace,
And his electing love employs
To mark out some of mortal race,
And form them fit for heav'nly joys?]

Shall man reply against the Lord,
And call his Maker's ways unjust,
The thunder of whose dreadful word
Can crush a thousand worlds to dust?

But, O my soul! if truths so bright
Should dazzle and confound thy sight,
Yet still his written will obey,
And wait the great decisive day.

Then shall he make his justice known,
And the whole world before his throne
With joy or terror shall confess
The glory of his righteousness.

A Vanishing Mist

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

“What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”
As I walk through my life, I find that self-sufficiency is like a tumor haunting me. I continually find myself fighting against the idea that I can do anything on my own power. It is easy for a Christian to give lip-service to grace, to talk highly of it. Oh, but to be consumed by it is rare. I spoke with someone recently over dinner, and I was astounded by how quickly I became a hypocrite. Passionately describing how fleeting life is and how precious grace is, I found such inconsistency in my own life. If I believed firmly in even what I understand of God’s sovereignty, I would be such a different Christian. Instead, I find myself often without the zeal for God that is so important to me. James 4 was a banner over that recent conversation, challenging my pride. “As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” Oh, is there ever a moment free from such boasting in arrogance? What will it take for me to boast in my weaknesses? The all-sufficiency of Christ is an awful thing for the ego, casting down every idol. To be blessed with more understanding of God and more joy in God, I must be a wise steward of the understanding and joy with which He has already supplied me. If I am not pressed to the end of myself, then I will not understand the surpassing worth of knowing Christ.
“Resolved, to think much on all occasions
of my own dying, and of the
common circumstances which attend death.”

Jonathan Edwards, Resolution 9

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Be wretched and mourn and weep.
Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you….
What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”
(James 4:8-10, 14b)