Posted by: rcottrill | June 27, 2018

Christ is Coming

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Words: Winfield Macomber (b. Sept. 16, 1865; d. Oct. 19, 1896)
Music: Winfield Macomber

Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Winfield Macomber wanted to be a missionary to the Congo, but ill health forced him to return home to America. He only lived to the age of thirty-one. But in the States he wrote a dictionary and grammar of the Congolese language, and he produced a couple of lovely hymns, the present one, and another called Held in His Mighty Arms.

Imagine it’s Christmas Eve. The children are finally asleep, and it’s time for “Santa” to put some surprises under the tree. But there is one special gift that you would like to have ready for your son to play with in the morning. There is, however, an ominous message on the box: “Some assembly required.”

You think to yourself, “How hard can it be? It looks simple enough. Likely just connect Part A with Part B, using the screws provided.”

But the intricate diagram looks daunting. More parts appear from the box, and they all have to be fitted together in the right order with the right fasteners or it won’t work. You finally managed it, but it took far more time than you thought it would.

We have a saying, “The devil is in the detail,” meaning something that looks simple often isn’t. As you get more information, it becomes more of a challenge than was first supposed. No one knows where that saying originated. It can be traced back into the nineteenth century. But it seems to have begun quite differently. In French, it was, “Le bon Dieu est dans le détail”–the good God is in the detail.”

That could certainly be said about the Bible. It is God’s trustworthy Word. And it reveals a tremendous amount about the person of God, the plan of God, and His provision for our needs. Scholars have written commentaries on the Bible, and theological treatises, stretching to many hundreds of volumes. They’ve examined the minutiae of the Scriptures from every conceivable angle, only to disagree on some of the details. What are we to do with that?

If we begin with a confidence in the verbal inspiration of the Word of God, and use a consistent approach to the language in its historical context, there will be general agreement among orthodox believers on the broad strokes of what the Bible teaches. But there will be differences of opinion regarding some of the particulars. Surely those finer points are not irrelevant or useless, since all of Scripture is God-breathed (II Tim. 3:16). The Lord says what He says for a reason.

In response to this problem, we certainly need to adhere to the fundamentals of the faith, those matters spelled out in the great creeds of Christendom, such as the Apostles’ Creed. Then, we should continue studying, in order to learn more, but assert our confidence in the details graciously, remembering there are things on which good people differ.

A case in point is the second coming of Christ. The Bible gives us a host of particulars about this event that we can study with profit. And I’m not saying we should ignore the details, or shrug and say they don’t matter. It’s good to have a studied conviction on such things. However, it can also be useful to pull back and see the broader picture. The thrilling anticipation of believers is He is coming again. Whatever else we believe about it, that is a clearly stated Bible truth. Jesus said so Himself.

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn. 14:2-3)

“This same Jesus…will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven [at His ascension]” (Acts 1:11).

We look forward to “the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ” (Tit. 2:13).

The Bible commends those who: “Turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” (I Thess. 1:9-10).

The present hymn voices an expectation and longing for Christ’s return. Though it isn’t strong on the details, the poetry and passion of the author’s lines should stir the hearts of “all who have loved His appearing” (II Tim. 4:8).

CH-1) In the glow of early morning,
In the solemn hush of night;
Down from heaven’s open portals,
Steals a messenger of light,
Whispering sweetly to my spirit,
While the hosts of heaven sing:
This the wondrous thrilling story:
Christ is coming–Christ my King.
This the wondrous thrilling story:
Christ is coming–Christ my King.

CH-2) Long we’ve waited, blest Redeemer,
Waited for the first bright ray
Of the morn when sin and sorrow
At Thy presence flee away;
But our vigil’s nearly over;
Hope of heav’n, oh, priceless boon!
In the east the glow appearing,
Christ is coming–coming soon.
In the east the glow appearing,
Christ is coming–coming soon.

1) Why is it important that Christ comes again?

2) What other hymns about the second coming do you know and love?

Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal


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