Posted by: rcottrill | July 18, 2019

More Holiness Give Me

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Words:
Philip Paul Bliss (b. July 9, 1838; d. Dec.. 29, 1876)
Music: Calvat, by Philip Paul Bliss

Links:

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

Note: Though he only lived to the age of thirty-eight (he and his wife died in a train accident), Mr. Bliss provided many effective hymns for the Christian church. These include: Hallelujah, What a Saviour; Jesus Loves Even Me; I Will Sing of My Redeemer; and Wonderful Words of Life.

The word integrity is an interesting one. The dictionary gives us this definition: “Adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.” In that sense, when we say a person has integrity, we’re describing someone of good character who is honest in his dealings with others.

But there’s another meaning of the word. It can refer to the soundness, unity or wholeness of something. To preserve the integrity of a country is to keep it together, protecting it from a revolution that would split it apart. The integrity of a bridge or a building speaks of the soundness of its structure–and thus its safety. After an earthquake, inspectors concern themselves with checking for structural integrity, confirming that buildings are whole, not in danger of breaking apart.

There’s a sense in which those meanings come together when we’re speaking of Christian conduct and spirituality. The Bible has a word for it: holiness. To be holy is to be completely set apart from evil and corruption of any kind. The Bible tells us God is holy, and He expects the same of us (I Pet. 1:15-16). Integrity and holiness are related. To be holy means to be wholly His, pleasing God in every aspect of our lives. Perhaps the word wholesome hints at the connection between the two.

There’s a problem, however. God is wholly holy. That is, His whole being is free of any taint of evil. What He is, what He plans, what He does are fully and eternally perfect. But that’s not true of any of us. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory [the perfect standard] of God” (Rom. 3:23).

When we trust in Christ for salvation, we are confessing that He bore the punishment for our sins on the cross. The other side of that transaction is that God credits our heavenly account with the righteousness of Christ.

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (II Cor. 5:21).

But that has to do with our legal standing before God. What about the matter of our daily conduct? Too often we don’t live like the Christians we’ve become, through faith in the Saviour. Christ Himself is to be the example and pattern for how we are to behave.

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you….And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us” (Eph. 4:32; 5:2).

“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (I Jn. 3:16).

The Holy Spirit helps us to live in a way that’s pleasing to God (Gal. 5:22-23), but we can still fall short again and again. That doesn’t mean we should give up on practical Christian living. Day by day we can confess our failures before the Lord and claim His forgiveness (I Jn. 1:9), and we can aspire to do better, and pray that He will help us to do better.

That’s the basis for an insightful hymn by Philip Bliss. Bliss himself was a godly and deeply humble man. Yet he longed to become more and more like his Saviour. That’s the thrust of his prayer hymn, More Holiness Give Me. The repetition of the word “more” (24 times), expresses the universal longing of the believer who is walking in the Spirit (Gal. 5:25). Wherever we are in our Christian pilgrimage, by God’s grace, we desire to be “more, Saviour, like Thee.”

CH-1) More holiness give me, more strivings within.
More patience in suffering, more sorrow for sin.
More faith in my Saviour, more sense of His care.
More joy in His service, more purpose in prayer.

CH-2) More gratitude give me, more trust in the Lord.
More zeal for His glory, more hope in His Word.
More tears for His sorrows, more pain at His grief.
More meekness in trial, more praise for relief.

CH-3) More purity give me, more strength to o’ercome,
More freedom from earth-stains, more longings for home.
More fit for the kingdom, more useful I’d be,
More blessèd and holy, more, Saviour, like Thee.

Questions:
1) Which of the “mores” Bliss mentioned is a special desire of your own heart?

2) What portions of God’s Word relate to this, or guide your growth in this area?

Links:

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


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