Who is Like the Lord Our God?

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Christ is Risen! Life Giving Words!

A song called Christ is Risen, by Matt Maher. Glory.

Let no one caught in sin remain
Inside the lie of inward shame
We fix our eyes upon the cross
And run to him who showed great love
And bled for us
Freely you bled, for us

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave!

Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with him again
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave!

Beneath the weight of all our sin
You bow to none but heavens will
No scheme of hell, no scoffer’s crown
No burden great can hold you down
In strength you reign
Forever let your church proclaim

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave

Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with him again
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave

Oh death! Where is your sting?
Oh hell! Where is your victory?
Oh Church! Come stand in the light!
The glory of God has defeated the night!

Oh death! Where is your sting?
Oh hell! Where is your victory?
Oh Church! Come stand in the light!
Our God is not dead, he’s alive! he’s alive!

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave
Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with him again
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave

Rise up from the grave…

Before the throne of God above

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great High Priest whose name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Saviour died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Saviour and my God!

A classic hymn by Charles Wesley

 

Charles Wesley sure knew how to get the gospel across! Love the fourth stanza.

Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord;
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Now display Thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to Thine.

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

From the Squalor of a Borrowed Stable

This is another one of my favourite songs.

“He fights for breath, He fights for me.” That line gets me every time.

From the squalor of a borrowed stable,
by the spirit and a virgin’s faith;
to the anguish and the shame of scandal
came the Saviour of the human race!

But the skies were filled with the praise of heav’n,
shepherds listen as the angels tell of the Gift of God
come down to man at the dawning of Immanuel

King of heaven now the Friend of sinners,
Humble servant in the Father’s hands,
Filled with power and the Holy Spirit,
Filled with mercy for the broken man
Yes. He walked my road and He felt my pain,
Joys and sorrows that I know so well;
Yet His righteous steps give me hope again –
I will follow my Immanuel!

Through the kisses of a friend’s betrayal,
He was lifted on a cruel cross;
He was punished for the world’s transgressions,
He was suffering to save the lost
He fights for breath, He fights for me
Loosing sinners from the claims of hell;
And with a shout our souls are free –
Death defeated by Immanuel!

Now He’s standing in the place of honour,
Crowned with glory on the highest throne,
Interceding for His own beloved
Till His Father calls to bring them home!
Then the skies will part as the trumpet sounds
Hope of heaven or the fear of hell;
But the Bride will run to her Lover’s arms,
Giving glory to Immanuel!

And Can it Be

Can’t beat a great hymn! Savour the words.

Amazing love! How can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

’Tis mystery all: th’Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Still the small inward voice I hear,
That whispers all my sins forgiven;
Still the atoning blood is near,
That quenched the wrath of hostile Heaven.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

The man, and the story, behind “It is well with my soul”

“It is well with my soul” is one of my all-time favourite hymns.

The words are saturated with the hope and assurance that come from the gospel of Christ crucified, risen and ascended.

The words are heavy, yet they are full of joy, hope, and light. The words would be beautiful on their own, but when I heard the story behind them they took on a deeper significance still.

As he wrote these words Horatio Spafford was in the midst of the darkest days of his life.

In 1871 he lost his only son at the age of two. Then later that same year, Spafford who had invested heavily in Chicago real estate, lost almost everything he owned (some say he lost his entire life savings) in the Great Chicago Fire.

About two years after that, in 1873, Spafford and his family decided to sail across the Atlantic Ocean to help famous evangelist D.L. Moody in some work he was doing in England.

Spafford was called to attend to some last-minute business before he left so he put his wife and four daughters on a UK-bound vessel named the Ville Du Havre. Before the vessel reached the UK it was struck by an iron sailing vessel and sunk rapidly. 226 people on board the ship were killed, including all four of Spafford’s daughters. His wife was rescued, unconscious, from the sea and, after reaching the UK, sent him a telegram containing these words: “Saved Alone”.

Spafford sailed to the UK immediately to be with his wife. The journey was to take him over the location where his four daughters had perished. It was on this journey that Spafford penned the words to this hymn. Have a listen:

What strikes me about these words is that in the midst of his suffering the gospel has remained beautiful to Spafford. I believe that is because even though he is struggling with unimaginable grief and loss, he sees that ultimately his biggest problem remains his own sin. And he knows that this sin has been dealt with by Jesus Christ on the cross, so he is thankful.

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

Regardless of the suffering that engulfs Spafford, the gospel remains a source of rejoicing and thanksgiving.

Spafford could be forgiven for dwelling on the pain he is experiencing, on the regret, on the unanswered questions running through his head. He could be forgiven for turning in on himself in grief and self-pity.

But he will not look away from his Lord. No, Spafford has his tear-filled eyes fixed on Christ. And what’s more he does not long for the past to be undone, nor for his pain to be inflicted on someone else. Rather, his greatest longing is the same as it was before tragedy struck.

His heavy heart sings at the prospect of Christ’s glorious return:

And Lord haste the day, when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Spafford is thankful that his sin (in whole) has been nailed to the cross, and he is thankful for the glorious future he has in Christ.

This thankfulness and deep joy is the fruit of the gospel.

This gospel is 100% relevant on the best day of your life.

This gospel is 100% relevant on the worst day of your life.

Nothing else will do.

If we’re ever hearing or preaching a gospel that doesn’t stand up on either of these days then it’s not the true gospel.

We can preach on how to keep going in the midst of financial difficulty, or sadness, or grief — that God is there to fix our problems. But this gospel is not relevant for the Christian who is experiencing the happiest week of his life. Or we can preach that we are sure of the Lord’s love for us because of the material blessings he sometimes chooses to shower us with. But this gospel is irrelevant for the Christian who has lost his job, his home or his children.

No, the true gospel is this: That Jesus Christ died that my sins be taken away — that in him I am counted as a son of God. That in Christ I am a co-heir with him — I am incorporated into the very life and love of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

That is what gave Spafford hope on his darkest day. That is what made his heart burn with thanksgiving when all around him had been destroyed. Nothing else.

Brightest day. Darkest day. This is the gospel of Christ. This is Christ in all his glory. Whatever our lot, he is worthy of all praise, and all honour, and all thanksgiving.
Brightest day. Darkest day. We lift our heads and our hearts to him and we receive his grace, his mercy, his love.

And we worship our Lord and our God. Because he is worthy.

Because HE IS.

It is well with my soul

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.