Posted by: rcottrill | January 1, 2011

Standing on the Promises

 Through 2010, Wordwise Hymns featured an Almanac of significant dates in hymn history. Posts now will provide further Reflections on our hymns from a biblical perspective, better equipping us to “sing praises with understanding” (Ps. 47:7).
          There is an alphabetical Index (see tab above), listing the titles of the songs. (Links will be activated as these songs appear in the 2011 blog.)  As well as being cross-linked to the 2010 Almanac, articles are linked to the original 1996 Cyber Hymnal. Unless otherwise specified, stanzas are numbered as they appear in the Cyber Hymnal, for example, CH-3, or CH-5.

 

Words: Russell Kelso Carter (b. Nov. 18, 1849; d. Aug. 23, 1928)
Music: Russell Kelso Carter

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

There’s an old joke to the effect that it is better for church members to be standing on the promises than to be sleeping on the premises! But the problem with the witticism is that it mixes the abstract with the concrete.

Standing on God’s promises is not a physical thing–in spite of the fact that some congregations seem to feel they cannot sing this gospel song sitting down! It is an attitude of heart and mind, the determination to be resolute and firm, to take an unwavering position on the truths and principles of God’s Word (cf. Jude 1:3). We are to stand our ground, resisting and opposing the forces of evil and error. (The Lord Jesus set us the example, during His temptation in the wilderness, Matt. 4:1-11.)

Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (Eph. 6:13).

Stanza CH-3 of the song is often omitted in our hymn books. It says:

Standing on the promises I now can see
Perfect, present cleansing in the blood for me;
Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free,
Standing on the promises of God.

The “liberty where Christ makes free” refers us to Galatians 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” The churches of Galatia were being troubled by false teachers called Judaizers. These taught that in order to be saved a person not only had to trust in Christ as Saviour, but also keep the Jewish Law, including the law’s requirement of male circumcision. But this error had been rejected early on, when the first Gentiles became part of the body of Christ (Acts 15:5, 8-11).

The Lord Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” And, “If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (Jn. 8:32, 36). Salvation depends not on what we do, but always and only what Christ has already done for us on the cross (Eph. 2:8-9). As Dr. Harry Ironside said, long ago:

“The Old Testament closed with “a curse” [Mal. 4:6] because of man’s failure to keep God’s holy law. The New Testament closes with “grace” [Rev. 22:21], because of Calvary. On the basis of the work there accomplished, grace flows out in abundant fullness.”

Of course, this does not mean our conduct is unimportant. However, Christlike behaviour is not the means of our salvation. Rather it’s to be the ongoing result. The Apostle Paul, writing to believers, says, “You…have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh [to indulge its sinful cravings], but through love serve one another” (Gal. 5:13).

Christian liberty does not provide a license to do whatever we please, but rather God’s gracious enablement to do what we ought. As the saying goes, “He who is captive to his compass has the freedom of the seas.” And believers, bound by love to Christ, and empowered by the indwelling Holy Spirit, will obey His Word, and be delivered from the rule of sin and its destructive effects. That is liberty indeed!

Questions:
1) Recall a promise or two from the Scriptures upon which you “stand,” in faith. What is it about each of these that especially encourages you as a believer?

2) The Bible uses a number of symbols to describe itself. Carter’s “overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword” (CH-4) is a reference to Ephesians 6:17 (cf. Heb. 4:14). In other places, the Word of God is described as: a lamp (Ps. 119:105), a hammer (Jer. 23:29), and seed (Matt. 13:3-9, 18-23). What does each of these symbols tell us about the Bible?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


Responses

  1. Happy New Year, Robert! Looking forward to the new posts.

    • Back atcha with the Happy New Year! Yes, I’m hoping many will find the new posts useful. They will connect with what’s come before, and add some more.

  2. Happy New Year Robert! Your site (and insight) are very encouraging. Thank you. I wanted to also let you know that I pray for you often. I’m so blessed to now be apart of the Jebaire family. Please feel to drop me a prayer request at any time. Blessings in 2011….

    Embraced in Him,
    Kerry Monroe

    • Thank you for your encouragement and prayers. Glad to hear you’ve joined the Jebaire family. May its tribe increase. 🙂

  3. Thank you for your encouraging comment to my blog re the hymn ‘Standing on the Promises’/words and music by Russell Kelso Carter.
    Encouragement is a god-given talent and it needs to be utilised as often as possible in mankind to reflect the glory of the Lord.
    The world is craving for the word of God (searching for the truth) but many are lost in the ‘minefield’ of their confused minds.
    THE WORKERS ARE FEW
    (Matthew 9:37, 38)
    … 37. ‘Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” ‘ …
    Blessings; Robert, and to all who have Jesus’ desire to further His kingdom!
    Kim Warren.

  4. This was a really good post! You have just the right amount of Scripture and personal thoughts and facts it was interesting. Thank you for commenting on my sunday sermon sketch and leaving so much needed encouragement.

    Garret
    Stand Strong

    • The encouragement has flowed both ways. Thank you. My planned posts for this year (Lord willing) dig a little deeper in some cases, and I’m wondering what the response will be. Because of the need to take a theological position in dealing with the hymns, I know there will be some who disagree. But I’m hoping readings will stick with me. We all have things to learn. God bless.

  5. […] https://wordwisehymns.com/2011/01/01/standing-on-the-promises/ […]

  6. That was a really good explanation. I am glad you included this:

    The “liberty where Christ makes free” refers us to Galatians 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” The churches of Galatia were being troubled by false teachers called Judaizers. These taught that in order to be saved a person not only had to trust in Christ as Saviour, but also keep the Jewish Law, including the law’s requirement of male circumcision. But this error had been rejected early on, when the first Gentiles became part of the body of Christ (Acts 15:5, 8-11).

    I like this verse, too:

    Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
    List’ning every moment to the Spirit’s call,
    Resting in my Savior as my all in all,
    Standing on the promises of God.

    Theresa

  7. Hello Robert,

    I followed you from Theresa’s (http://pronetoponder.wordpress.com/) link to you. I’m glad I did.

    I’ve munched on a lot of the ideas you laid out but this part jumps out at me:
    “Standing on God’s promises is not a physical thing–in spite of the fact that some congregations seem to feel they cannot sing this gospel song sitting down! It is an attitude of heart and mind, the determination to be resolute and firm, to take an unwavering position on the truths and principles of God’s Word ”

    Attitude determines so much!

    Thank you for sharing.
    Blessings,
    ann

    • Thanks for both blog comments Ann. Yes, singing through the alphabet is a challenge, but also gives refreshment to the soul. I’ve done it many times in the car, driving to preaching appointments. As to Wordwise Hymns, last year I put up a post every day–something several told me was impossible! (It was especially heavy since I also have a website, and a weekly newspaper column, and am working on my third book!) This year, I’m planning to blog Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week, but I’m hoping to add a few topical articles on the week-ends. God bless. Drop by any time.

  8. Thank you for your encouraging comment to my blog re the hymn ‘Standing on the Promises’/words and music by Russell Kelso Carter. Encouragement is a god-given talent and it needs to be utilised as often as possible in mankind to reflect the glory of the Lord. The world is craving for the word of God (searching for the truth) but many are lost in the ‘minefield’ of their confused minds. THE WORKERS ARE FEW (Matthew 9:37, 38) … 37. ‘Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” ‘ … Blessings; Robert, and to all who have Jesus’ desire to further His kingdom! Kim Warren.


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