In Seminary, one of my favorite professors had us sing this old Isaac Watts hymn at the beginning of class. It’s amazing to me to reflect back on that time now and meditate briefly on the words. How much more is this ingrained into my thinking now. How much more do these words ring true in my heart.
I’m especially interested in the last verse right now as the battle over who to believe rages. My soul no more attempt to draw, thy life and comfort from the law… It’s all to easy because it is oh so natural. I need rules and regulations to give me hope that I’m doing something worthwhile and correctly.
During a conversation I had recently, someone asked me if I missed my old job at Starbucks. I told them yes and no. I told them that in retail you know what is expected and can go above and beyond as you physically see the needs of the moment. In ministry, you never really know where you stand until people start complaining. It’s harder to gauge where you are at. So… I like to institute my own checklist for approval. It’s my source of comfort and eventually is what I begin to lean on for salvation. This is idolatry.
Fly to the hope that the Gospel gives! The man who trusts the promise lives. God, grant me trust in what you say about me through your Son, Jesus Christ. Nothing else points me to your declaration. Let me declare the world a liar and you the truth teller.
I hope the words of this hymn encourage you as they do me:
The Law commands and makes us know
What duties to our God we owe;
But ’tis the Gospel must reveal
Where lies our strength to do His will.
The Law discovers guilt and sin
And shows how vile our hearts have been;
The Gospel only can express
Forgiving love and cleansing grace.
What curses doth the Law denounce
Against the man that fails but once!
But in the Gospel Christ appears,
Pard’ning the guilt of numerous years.
My soul, no more attempt to draw
Thy life and comfort from the Law.
Fly to the hope the Gospel gives;
The man that trusts the promise lives.