Posted by: rcottrill | April 3, 2013

Let Jesus Come into Your Heart

Words: Lelia Naylor Morris (b. Apr. 15, 1862; d. July 23, 1929)
Music: Lelia Naylor Morris

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: The Wordwise Hymns link tells the remarkable story behind the creation of the refrain of this 1898 gospel song.

There some things that are commendable about this hymn, but I do wonder about its central phrase: “Let Jesus come into your heart.” To begin with, the phrase does not come from the Word of God. But, even so, does it frame a biblical truth? What does it actually mean? And how will it be understood by an unsaved person, especially a child (who may take it in a physical sense)?

CH-1) If you are tired of the load of your sin,
Let Jesus come into your heart;
If you desire a new life to begin,
Let Jesus come into your heart.

Just now, your doubtings give o’er;
Just now, reject Him no more;
Just now, throw open the door;
Let Jesus come into your heart.

We have found many ways to express the gospel invitation, not all of them helpful or biblical! “Give your heart to the Lord” (a misapplication of Proverbs 23:26) Or, “Give your life to Christ.” Or, “Pray the sinner’s prayer” (“God, be merciful to me a sinner,” Lk. 18:13.) Or some version of the one in this song, “Ask Jesus to come into your heart.”

The Bible clearly states that the natural man (one born physically, but not born again) cannot understand the things of God (II Cor. 2:14), nor does he, by nature, seek after God (Rom. 3:11). Only by the intervention of the Holy Spirit can an individual be saved. So what is it the Spirit of God prepares us to do? The Bible says: “To you it has been granted…to believe in Him” (Phil. 1:29). Sinners “believe through grace [divine enablement]” (Acts 18:27).

The repeated testimony of the New Testament is that we are to believe on, or trust in, the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. When John speaks of “receiving” Christ, he goes on to explain that he means we are to “believe in His name,” with the word “name” representing the Person of Christ, His divine authority and power (Jn. 1:12).

Everlasting life is granted to “whoever believes in Him” (Jn. 3:16). That is, not simply to believe Christ exists, of course, but to trust in the efficacy of His saving work. The jailer at Philippi is told, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31; cf. 13:38-39). And John tells us he wrote his Gospel,

 “That you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (Jn. 20:31).

The righteousness of God is credited, as a free gift of His grace, “through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe….that He might by just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:22, 26). “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26). “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” (I Jn. 5:13).

These verses are examples of many that declare salvation is God’s free gift to the one who simply accepts and trusts in what Christ did on the cross as being for him or her. On the basis of God’s Word, it would be legitimate to say:

“If you are tired of the load of your sin…if you desire a new life to begin” (CH-1), believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, trust Him as your only Saviour from sin.

The conviction of sin and a desire for cleansing (CH-2) also comes through faith in Christ and the work of the cross. As does deliverance from anxiety, or spiritual emptiness (CH-3), and the certainty of a home in heaven (CH-4).

Mrs. Morris has certainly identified some of the struggles and soul needs of guilty sinners, but I do wish she’d been a little more clear about the solution. The refrain exhorts the sinner not to doubt God’s Word, and not to reject Christ. Fine. But then we come back to “throw open the door; let Jesus come into your heart.”

The latter seems to be an allusion to Revelation 3:20. But that was not salvation invitation spoken to an unregenerate individual. It was an urgent appeal to a local church that had, in all its busyness and “success” (as they viewed it) shut Christ out. It says nothing of seeking salvation, or eternal life. If anyone in the church would invite Him in, it would bring a restoration of his or her fellowship with the Lord–the meaning of the metaphor of “dining” with Him.

I’m hesitant to say I would reject this hymn completely. If the gospel invitation is properly explained, perhaps it has a use. What I’ve said above is simply intended as food for thought. We need to make the gospel invitation clear. What is it we’re asking people to do? And do we have a biblical mandate to invite them to do it?

Questions:
1) If the phrase in question is symbolic of something biblical, what is it? (And will that meaning be clear to seeking sinners?)

2) What do you think of the hymn? Is it one you would use in your church?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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