Posted by: rcottrill | July 4, 2019

Just As I Am

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Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Charlotte Elliott (b. Mar. 18, 1789; d. Sept. 22, 1871)
Music: Woodworth, by William Batchelder Bradbury (b. Oct. 6, 1816; d. Jan. 7, 1868)

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

Note: Charlotte Elliott was the granddaughter of a pastor, and two of her brothers also entered the ministry. She carried on a long correspondence with César Malan, who led her to the Lord. Miss Elliott was invalided for the last fifty years of her life, but she wrote several books of verse, and about 150 hymns. According to Hymnary.org, Just As I Am is found in 1,629 hymn books, testifying to its effective use as an invitation hymn, and a statement of saving faith.

In 1902, British author Rudyard Kipling produced a book of stories that went on to become a classic of children’s literature. With illustrations drawn by Kipling himself, it told fanciful tales of how animals got their unique characteristics–how the camel got his hump, how the elephant got his trunk, and so on.

The chapters had their origin in bedtime stories Mr. Kipling told his daughter Josephine (“Effie”). The book’s unusual title, Just So Stories, came from that nightly ritual. As young children often do, Effie would ask for the stories to be told and retold. And the author says:

“You were not allowed to alter those by one single little word. They had to be told just so; or Effie would wake up and put back the missing sentence.”

There are other things that have to be “just so.” Computer language provides an example. Some addresses to a particular page can involve a hundred letters, numbers, and symbols. Get one wrong, and the machine won’t take you where you want to go. It’s no good arguing that your effort is 99% perfect. It just won’t do. And we can be thankful for this precision when we add passwords to sites we want to keep private.

This has its application to God’s plan of eternal salvation. There’s a theory that entry into heaven has to do with whether, when we stand before our Maker, our good deeds outweigh our bad deeds. But here’s what the Bible says:

“Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them” (Gal. 3:10). “Whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” (Jas. 2:10).

We might liken it to someone hanging over an abyss by a long chain. How many links of the chain would have to break for the person to fall? Only one. Likewise, God’s standard is “just so.” Perfection is required, and none of us qualify. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

Our condition is hopeless, unless God intervenes. And He has. The perfect Son of God came to earth as Man, and suffered the wrath of God in our place. “Christ died for our sins” (I Cor. 15:3). That’s the meaning of Calvary.“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16).

Not that there’s anything wrong with trying to live a good life. It’s simply that no life is good enough to gain God’s heaven. When we come to Him just was we are, “warts and all,” and put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we’re trusting that our sins were charged against Him, long ago, and now His perfect righteousness is credited to our account (II Cor. 5:21).

What we’ve been considering was lived out in the life of Charlotte Elliott. For a period of time, in 1822, she was deeply burdened about her spiritual need, but was unsure of how to become a Christian. She spoke about it to a minister of the gospel named César Malan, saying she supposed she needed to do something to make herself acceptable to God. But he replied that she needed to “Come to Him just as you are.” And she did.

Some years later she wrote a now familiar hymn about her experience that day–which she looked upon as the date of her spiritual birthday. The song says:

CH-1) Just as I am–without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee–
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

CH-2) Just as I am–and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot–
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

CH-3) Just as I am–though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without–
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

CH-5) Just as I am–Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe–
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Every verse of this hymn is insightful. You can check them out on the Cyber Hymnal link. And that site includes a beautiful seventh stanza not found in many hymnals. It carries the believer’s relationship with Christ on into eternity.

(CH-7) Just as I am–of that free love
The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
Here for a season, then above–
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Questions:
1) Was there a day when you came to Christ “just as you are” to receive His salvation? (If this has not been your experience, I invite you to check out God’s Plan of Salvation.)

2) What are you doing currently to share the gospel, and support the sharing of the gospel by others?

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


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