Posted by: rcottrill | July 11, 2016

I Have a Saviour

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Words: Robert Harkness (b. Mar. 2, 1880; d. May 8, 1961)
Music: Robert Harkness

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Robert Harkness)
The Cyber Hymnal (Robert Harkness)
Hymnary.org

Note: In the first half of the twentieth century, Mr. Harkness was a gospel pianist for evangelist Ruben Archer Torrey, and a hymn writer with many compositions to his credit. In later years, he toured on his own, presenting the gospel in word and song.

It’s a sad and seemingly heartless procedure. When someone dies, there is usually a sorting and labeling of what are coldly called “the effects of the deceased.” Personal property is either distributed among family and friends–perhaps according to the terms of a will–or it is put up for auction. Some may even be thrown away.

In the classic 1941 motion picture Citizen Kane, we are given a stark look at this end-of-life routine as it relates to the very rich. In the story, Charles Foster Kane begins his adult life as an idealistic newspaper editor, but over time his goals deteriorate into an insatiable thirst for his own power and possessions. In his cavernous mansion, Xanadu, he houses an enormous collection of valuable statuary and paintings.

When he dies, these all have to be catalogued by a team of people, and we see this happening at the end of the film. What seems to be worthless junk is discarded. One item, a child’s sled, is thrown carelessly into the flames of a furnace. But this action thwarts the attempt to discover the meaning of Kane’s last word, “Rosebud.” It was the brand-name on the sled Charles played with as a boy, a symbol of a simpler and happier time.

For most of us, the accumulation of material things over a lifetime doesn’t really amount to anything like that. It’s all soon boxed and carried away. The Bible puts the things of this life in a proper perspective. God’s Word reminds us:

“What do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (I Cor. 4:7).

“We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content” (I Tim. 6:7-8).

The Lord Jesus encourages us to, “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matt. 6:20). We are to invest our time, talents, and treasures in achieving eternal goals, living lives that are pleasing to God, and engaging in kingdom business (vs. 33). This will involve showing the love of Christ to others, and encouraging them to put their faith in Him (Jn. 3:16; Rom. 1:16).

No one is poor who has a Saviour. Think of it: God the Son took on our humanity that He–though sinless Himself–might take our place under the wrath of God. When we trust in what He did for us on the cross of Calvary, our debt of sin is canceled and we are welcomed into the family of God. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (II Cor. 8:9).

Victor Hugo’s classic historical novel, Les Misérables (meaning The Wretched Ones), provides a heart-rending example of the self-sacrificing compassion infinitely found in Christ. Jean Valjean, a former convict, spends his life trying to atone for the wrongs he has done. Finally, in court, he takes upon himself charges against an innocent man. Victor Hugo describes this as a “simple and magnificent story of a man giving himself up that another might not be condemned.” And in the most perfect and profound sense, that’s exactly what Jesus did for us.

In 1937, hymnist Robert Harkness published a little song on the theme. His hymn says:

1) I have a Saviour, He died for me
In cruel anguish on Calvary’s tree.
I do not merit such love divine,
Only God’s mercy makes Jesus mine.

Jesus, my Saviour, I come to Thee,
In full surrender, Thine own to be.

2) I have a Keeper, He now prevails,
I fear no evil whate’er assails.
His arms enfold me safe and secure,
In His blest keeping, vict’ry is sure.

3) I have a Master, He bids me go
Rescue lost sinners from sin and woe.
I love to serve Him, this Master true,
Now I am willing His will to do.

Questions:
1) In material terms, what is the most valuable thing you own?

2) In spiritual terms, what is your greatest treasure? (And why?)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Robert Harkness)
The Cyber Hymnal (Robert Harkness)
Hymnary.org


Responses

  1. I suppose the thing of greatest earthly value is my home. But this too shall be burned up along with the rest of earthly treasure at the end of time (II Pet. 3:10).

    So greater by far are my spiritual riches in my Lord Jesus Christ! There is not space or time to recount all of these. You have well said that He took the wrath of God that I deserved upon Himself on the cross, so that I can be forgiven and have peace with God. And this is eternal, it can never perish spoil or fade, but is kept in heaven for me, completely untouched by decay or theft. This is absolutely huge. Even if this were all that we had in Christ, it would be enough.

    One of the greatest treasures that I have been reflecting upon lately is knowing God; having God-given faith that there is a God in heaven, our Creator God who wisely works all things according to His own purpose and grace. To know Him through His Word, the Scriptures, is a huge blessing. To understand, and be able to hold in my hands the truth from God and to know that it is fully trustworthy and can never fail but will stand forever.

    As this world seems to be grasping for meaning, for direction, for something to cling to, and making a royal hash of it in the process, the Christian is being led and kept by a triune God in heaven who is loving and kind, all knowing, and Who cannot fail. What an enormous blessing. What praise our God deserves from us.

    Thanks for daily encouraging us to praise Him. This we will do on into eternity for it will take that long to recount to Him all that He is and does!

    • Thanks for the wonderful tribute to our Lord and Saviour–and I fully agree with what you have expressed so beautifully.

      This past week, I gazed at the television news and wept! Immorality–taking “pride” in things of which we ought to be ashamed (Phil. 3:19), and terrible violence. The Lord warned that the days just before His return would be “as the days of Noah were” (Matt. 24:37). In addition to what’s mentioned in that context, the days of Noah are described as a time of great wickedness and unparalleled violence (Gen. 6:5, 11).

      Yesterday, my wife and I wore to church the pins we received after “9-11,” that display both a Canadian and American flags. I called attention to them in our Praise and Prayer Time, say that our perplexed politicians can call for all their study groups and committees and still miss the most important thing by a mile. What people need is Christ.

      During the service we sang Isaac Watts’ Am I a Soldier of the Cross?, and that hymn asks the question, “Is this vile world a friend to grace?” and the answer is plain: no it’s not! Again, we need the Lord. During the week, I thought of Psalm 11:3, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” The answer is in verse one: “In the Lord I put my trust.”

      The foundations of society are being shaken, and are crumbling. No political posturing, no infusion of money, no explosion of military might, can give people hope and help. There needs to be a God-sent revival, and a return to the sentiment found in an almost forgotten stanza of the American National Anthem:

      Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land,
      Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
      Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
      And this be our motto, “In God is our trust.”

      God bless. Apologies for getting a bit “preachy”! 🙂

  2. Not preachy at all, though if it was I would not complain! You are quite right. We in the west have gone to paganism and it is just about complete. That is why I am so thankful for the Lord – what a difference the Lord Jesus makes in a life! And the purifying influence of Spirit-filled churches in a society is like salt that keeps and preserves.Now we see quite blatantly just how much people need the Lord. In generations past, most people were *nice* (at least outwardly) and so it was not so obvious as it is today. I love to read the old biographies of past missions and missionaries and sad to say that our societies in many ways are beginning to resemble those lands that never had the light of the gospel. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

    • I don’t know if you read the note at the end of my blog article on July 8th, but your comment about loving to read missionary biographies prompted me to write once more and tell you about an amazing book. Here’s the note.

      A WONDERFUL BOOK. The Eliason family came for Sweden in 1908, settling in the lumber town of Cook, Minnesota, north of Duluth. In those days some incredible missionary work was being done by three men, among the wild and hardened lumberjacks of the vast forests there. They too tackled the impossible, and won, by the grace of God. Their amazing ministry is written up in The Last of the Giants, by Harry Rimmer. The book is available from Amazon (it’s free, if you have a Kindle). Highly recommended. Believe me, you’ve never read a book like it! It will astonish you, and challenge you with what God can do.

      Recently, I’ve been passing a copy around to the men of our church to help them get a new vision of what the Lord can do. I’ve received comments such as, “Couldn’t put it down,” and “Ya gotta read this book!” God bless.


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