Posted by: rcottrill | March 10, 2017

A Sinner Made Whole

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Words: William McPherson Lighthall (b. _____, 1865; d. Apr. 26, 1949)
Music: Charles Hutchinson Gabriel (b. Aug. 18, 1856; d. Sept. 15, 1932)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Charles Gabriel)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Born in Quebec, Canada, Lightall eventually moved to the United States. For more than thirty years, he worked as a station agent and telegrapher for the railroad. He was active in his church, served as a member of the local school board, also working with the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavour, and the YMCA. He wrote a number of gospel songs.

Sometimes it’s said of a spry senior citizen that he’s “hale and hearty.” To say the man is hearty is to say he’s lively and energetic, even in old age. But hale is a hold-over from the word hāl in Old English many centuries ago. It’s the way they used to say the word “whole,” meaning (in this case) sound in body, unimpaired by disability. To be hale and hearty is to be both physically healthy and vigorous.

We all aspire to that, as the years add up But it’s often not the case. Movement for many becomes restricted and painful with age, and debilitating illness visits and stays longer. Not to belabour a discouraging point beyond what’s necessary here, the insurance companies that speak of the “golden years” of a retirement, full of activity and travel, are speaking of something some will never experience.

In the Bible, wholeness is used several times in connection with the miracles of Christ. His divine authority and power over disease brought that outcome. People marveled that “the maimed [were] made whole” (Matt. 15:31). Jesus healed a man with a withered hand, and it was “restored as whole as the other” (Mk. 3:5). A woman with a chronic hemorrhage was made “well” (Mk. 5:34, translating the same Greek word). Later, Peter said, when another lame man was healed, that he was made “whole” on the authority of Jesus Christ (Acts. 4:10).

There is another use of the term in God’s Word, in connection with our speech. Orthodoxy and soundness of doctrinal teaching is referred to as “wholesome words” (I Tim. 6:3), and Proverbs states that “a wholesome tongue [healthy speech] is a tree of life” (Prov. 15:4). (How we may wish that a certain American politician guarded his tongue a little better, and spoke with more wholesome words!)

The actual word “whole” is not used in our English Bibles to describe spiritual well being, but the thought is certainly there. Scripture says, “You are complete in Him [meaning in Christ]” (Col. 2:10). In Him, our spiritual standing before God is perfected, since we are credited with the righteousness of Christ (II Cor.5:21). And in Christ our spiritual needs for daily living are met to the full as well. “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (II Pet. 1:3). By these things, we are able to live out in practical experience what the Lord has done for us.

One becomes a Christian through faith in Christ (Gal. 2:26). “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). We are “accepted [and enriched] in the Beloved [God’s beloved Son]” (Eph. 1:6). It is as though we have been clothed in Christ, dressed in robes of His righteousness, and what is seen by the Father, when He looks at us, is Christ. Our legal standing in the books of heaven is a settled thing. And the Spirit of God begins to build in us the character of Christ (Gal. 5:22-23), and equips us to serve the Lord through His Word (II Tim. 3:16-17).

In Christ, there is wholeness, both as to our standing before God and, progressively as to our spiritual state! That’s the subject of this hymn by William Lighthall.

CH-1) There’s a song in my heart that my lips cannot sing,
’Tis praise in the highest to Jesus my King;
Its music each moment is thrilling my soul,
For I was a sinner, but Christ made me whole.

A sinner made whole! A sinner made whole!
The Saviour has bought me and ransomed my soul!
My heart is now singing; the anthem is ringing,
For I was a sinner, but Christ made me whole.

CH-2) I shall stand one day faultless and pure by His throne,
Transformed from my image, conformed to His own;
Then I shall find words for the song of my soul,
For I was a sinner, but Christ made me whole.

Questions:
1) What are some of the things included in being spiritually “whole”?

2) How will these things look to others observing our lives?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Charles Gabriel)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


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