Posted by: rcottrill | May 30, 2019

Jesus, I Come

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Words: William True Sleeper (b. Feb. 9, 1819; d. Sept. 24, 1904)
Music: George Coles Stebbins (b. Feb. 26, 1846; d. Oct. 6, 1945)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: William Sleeper was an American pastor. George Stebbins was a gospel musician who composed the melodies for many who wrote the words. Stebbins is significant because he lived for nearly a century, right through the period when many familiar evangelists and gospel song writers lived, and he knew them all.

We come upon many comparisons and contrasts in life. Dark and light, rich and poor, old and young, short and tall, and so on. And have you noticed how often one side of the contrast is used to define the other?

A room may be dark without a light, and brightly lit when a lamp is turned on. That’s a contrast. But when we step outside into a sunny day, the room, though lighted, may seem dingy by comparison. If we’re to understand the true measure of big or small, slow or fast, strong or weak, or other qualities, we must ask, “Compared to what?”

In the moral and spiritual realm this often creates a problem. If an individual considers himself a good person, it’s important to know, “Compared to whom?” He could well be less moral and spiritual than some, but better than the morally degenerate among us. If he focuses on one side of the scale, it can foster discouragement (“I’ll never be as good as she is.). Looking in the other direction may lead to spiritual pride (“I’m certainly better than they are.”)

The Lord told of a man who did that. “The Pharisee stood [in the temple] and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men–extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’” (Lk. 18:11-12). But his assessment was faulty. The tax collector nearby was ashamed of his sinful condition. He pleaded for heaven’s mercy, and was forgiven and “justified” (pronounced righteous) by God (vs. 13-14).

And God has resolved this measurement pitfall for us. His approved standard of comparison is “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13)–what translator Charles Williams calls “a mature manhood…a perfect measure of Christ’s moral stature.” Over and again that is the standard.

“Let this mind [attitude] be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:3). “Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us” (Eph. 5:2). “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (I Pet. 2:21). And the Apostle Paul told the Corinthian church, “ Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (I Cor. 11:1).

It takes only a little study of the Word of God to realize this sets an impossibly high standard. Everything good about the holy Son of God shines a brilliant spotlight on our own imperfection and utter failure. Only through the saving grace of God can we be transformed.

William Sleeper served as the pastor of a church in Massachusetts for thirty years. He also wrote several hymns. One of them, called Jesus, I Come, lists about fifteen reasons why a sinner needs the Saviour. Fifteen dramatic contrasts between the condition of the sinner and what the gospel of grace offers, through faith in Christ.

CH-1) Out of my bondage, sorrow, and night,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy freedom, gladness, and light,
Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of my sickness, into Thy health,
Out of my want and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

CH-2) Out of my shameful failure and loss,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of earth’s sorrows into Thy balm,
Out of life’s storms and into Thy calm,
Out of distress to jubilant psalm,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

CH-3) Out of unrest and arrogant pride,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy blessèd will to abide,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of myself to dwell in Thy love,
Out of despair into raptures above,
Upward for aye on wings like a dove,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

CH-4) Out of the fear and dread of the tomb,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the joy and light of Thy throne,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of the depths of ruin untold,
Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,
Ever Thy glorious face to behold,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Questions:
1) What contrasts, in your own life, do you see between saved and unsaved?

2) Pastor Sleeper uses words such as: bondage, shameful failure, despair, depths of ruin. How would you answer a good living unsaved person who says he has none of those problems?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


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