Posted by: rcottrill | September 23, 2015

Wonderful Peace (Lillenas)

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Words: Haldor Lillenas (b. Nov. 19, 1885; d. Aug. 18, 1959)
Music: Haldor Lillenas

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Note: Haldor Lillenas was born in Norway, and came to the United States when a child. His family settled in South Dakota, later moving to Oregon. Lillenas was a pastor and evangelist, but we know him today chiefly as a prolific gospel song writer. He founded the Lillenas Music Company, and worked there until his retirement in 1950. Mr. Lillenas wrote some 4,000 song texts and tunes. His song, Wonderful Peace, was published in 1914. There is another song with the same title written by Warren Cornell (see the next blog).

Just as there have been wars down through history, there have also been peace talks in an attempt to avert war, or end a conflict. Currently, various parties are asking for such negotiations in the Middle East, particularly between Israel and the Arab states. Whether a lasting agreement can be reached is open to question.

We had the same thing in the days before the Second World War. In 1938 British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain talked with Hitler, and believed he had secured “peace for our time.” But it was not to be. As long as there was a policy of appeasement, and concessions made with the Nazis, Hitler simply gobbled up more territory.

Peace is an important topic in the Bible too, where the word is used nearly four hundred times. The Lord encourages us to “pursue the things which make for peace” (Rom. 14:19). However it’s not international peace that’s in view there, but peace in our personal relationships. While recognizing it is sometimes difficult, the Word of God exhorts us, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Rom. 12:18).

But there is an even more basic and fundamental dimension of peace that the Bible speaks about, describing how the individual may come to enjoy a state of peace with God. In dealing with this subject, we could use the words conflict, condemnation and covenant.

First comes the bad news. The conflict between us and the Almighty has come about because of human sin. Sin involves unbelief and disobedience, any failure to believe God’s Word (Rom. 14:23), or a failure to obey God (I Jn. 3:4). And the standard is strict. Any and all sin is an offense against a holy God.

The Bible pronounces all of us to be guilty sinners (Rom. 3:23). And the condemnation of God upon us is a death sentence. “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). Not only in the physical sense, but in terms of eternal separation from God, which the Bible refers to as “the second death” (Rev. 20:6; 21:8).

But, praise the Lord, the Bible also presents some wonderful good news. In fact, that is the meaning of the word “gospel,” used many times in the Scriptures: good news. God’s covenant, or promise, is that He will establish peace between Himself and anyone who will come to Him on His terms. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 3:23).

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16) On that basis, “having been justified [pronounced righteous by a holy God] by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). That is “the gospel of peace” (Rom. 10:15), offered by “the God of peace” (I Thess. 5:23), who is Himself our peace (Eph. 2:14).

Haldor Lillenas’s song says:

CH-1) Coming to Jesus, my Saviour, I found
Wonderful peace, wonderful peace;
Storms in their fury may rage all around,
I have peace, sweet peace.

Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Peace, peace, glorious peace;
Since my Redeemer has ransomed my soul,
I have peace, sweet peace.

CH-4) Gone is the battle that once raged within,
Wonderful peace, wonderful peace;
Jesus has saved me and cleansed me from sin,
I have peace, sweet peace.

1) What are the weaknesses of the various kinds of peace sought by the world?

2) In what ways are the dimensions of peace offered by the Lord infinitely superior?

Wordwise Hymns
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