Posted by: rcottrill | October 3, 2018

I Have a Saviour

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

Wordwise Hymns (Robert Harkness–and for another article on the song see here)
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Robert Harkness was a gospel musician who wrote the words and music for hundreds of sacred songs, also providing music for the words of others. His contributions include At the Foot of the Cross, No Longer Lonely, and Traveling Home. Australian born, he became the accompanist for meetings held by American evangelist R. A. Torrey.

When we speak of owning something, we imply that we have certain rights over it. But it’s a slippery concept. There are few things we can call our own exclusively, and permanently.

In many cases, possession is shared in a relationship. A man may call his spouse “my wife,” but that’s only true if she’s willing to sustain the relationship. Ownership can also be affected by the power to assert it. For example, a nation may say, “This land is ours, and your land is ours too, if we choose to take it.”

Or consider opportunities that come our way. The chance for a couple to have children, or for an athlete to take part in the Olympics, those are both time-sensitive. The door won’t be held open forever. Time will ultimately ravage our health, dwindling our physical and mental gifts. Things change; we’re not what we once were.

In the Bible, words such as mine and ours are used over four thousand times. Many times we read of the Lord being mine, or ours. For example, we have phrases such as: “my God” (Ps. 25:2; Phil. 1:3; 4:19); and “our Lord Jesus Christ,” or “our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Acts 15:26; Rom. 5:1; I Cor. 15:57; II Tim. 1:10; II Pet. 1:16, etc.). But we need to think carefully about what that means. In what sense is God mine, Christ ours?

There’s an extreme view that sees the Lord as a kind of ever-accessible cosmic vending machine, the blab-it-and-grab-it notion that all we have to do is ask, and He’s obligated to give something to us. That’s nonsense. It makes the sovereign and eternal Lord over all a slave to our foolish whims and sinful greeds, which He’s not. Looking back, we can see the wisdom of a parent who denied us something that could have been dangerous and hurtful. Should we think any less of God?

When Paul speaks of Christ as “my Lord” (Phil. 3:8), he uses the Greek word kurios, recognizing Him as his divine Master, or Sovereign. The Christian’s relationship to Jesus Christ is based on promises He sovereignly and graciously made. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31), says God’s Word. When we claim that promise by faith, our sins are forgiven and we enter into an eternal relationship with the Lord.

That certainly does bestow some rights on the believer, the right to enjoy certain God given blessings. But it also brings responsibilities. A comparison to national citizenship might be enlightening. Canada is my country, and that fact gives me some privileges, but it also brings with it certain responsibilities. And it’s similar with the Christian life.

For instance, there is receiving the gospel–the good news of salvation, through faith in Christ (Jn. 3:16). But accepting it brings the responsibility to share it, to “go into all the world and preach the gospel” (Mk. 16:15). And prayer is both a privilege (Phil. 4:6-7) and a responsibility (Lk. 18:1).

Mr. Harkness’s song, I Have a Saviour, reflects both the privileges and the responsibilities of saying, we “have” Christ, we “have” a Saviour.

1) I have a Saviour, He died for me
In cruel anguish on Calv’ry’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.

1) What does it mean to you to say, “Jesus is mine”?

2) The song says, “I love to serve Him.” In what way(s) are you serving the Lord Jesus?

Wordwise Hymns (Robert Harkness–and here a link describing an unusual song by James Proctor for which Harkness wrote the music)
The Cyber Hymnal


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