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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

"By Thine All Sufficient Merit"

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"O my God, incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; for we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion" (Daniel 9:18). "For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly" (
Romans 5:6 ). "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed" (2 Corinthians 9:8). "But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons" (Galatians 4:4,5). "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8,9).

Brooksyne likes to clearance shop after the season and often finds some remarkable bargains. This fall she bought some nice looking hanging plant stands for 1 cent each that had been originally marked for $23.00! The only problem is we have to wait for the next season to use them seasonally!

Hallmark singing angels (click on image for YouTube video)
Hallmark Angel Choir
 (click on photo to see short YouTube video)

Last February she bought a set of singing angels at a Hallmark store. Four little angels sing two different Christmas carols each. They are wirelessly connected so they sing together a total of eight songs. If you come to our home this Christmas season we'll show them to you and they'll likely bring a smile! We played them for our dear friends, the Dourtes, on Saturday and they happily took home an extra set we'd tucked away for gifts. They have many grandchildren and great-grandchildren to entertain, and besides, it's entertaining to adults as well.

We like a lot of the Christmas songs and began singing them in our church this last Lord's Day, the first Sunday of Advent. One short song that we sang this last Sunday and really enjoy is "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus" written by Charles Wesley over 250 years ago.

Charles Wesley wrote 18 Christmas songs, several which are still frequently sung. His songs often go beyond the manger scene and express deep spiritual truths and allusions to more obscure Bible passages. Consider the rich words to this short song line by line:

Come Thou long-expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
Hope of all the saints Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

The lyrics are loaded with spiritual truth, but one line that especially grips my heart due to its rich theological meaning states, "By Thine all sufficient merit, raise us to Thy glorious throne."

This is a musical expression of what is known as imputed righteousness. That is, Christ's righteousness is reckoned (imputed) on our behalf. It is His merit and not our own which is the basis of our salvation. And His merit is all sufficient, once for all, nothing more needed!

We shared a lengthy selection of verses related to this truth above but let us focus on one, which is probably the most famous verse on grace in the Bible:
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8,9). Here we see a clear distinction between God's grace and man's works (our merits). All of this grace was given to us in Jesus Christ. We could not earn it; we did not merit it. This is the grace of God! It is truly a result of God's all sufficient merit.

 We are saved by God's mercy, not by our merit—by Christ's dying, not by our doing. *1

Trusting only in Thy merit,
Would I seek Thy face;
Heal my wounded, broken spirit,
Save me by Thy grace.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Gracious Father, through no merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion, we are redeemed and receive full benefits as Your children. For while we were still helpless and living in sin, Jesus demonstrated His love for us when He died for our sins. No treasure or gift can compare with the gift of salvation freely given to all who will receive Your Son who did not come to condemn the world but came that the world through Him might be saved. Thank You for accepting the all-sufficient merit of Jesus who gave His all-sufficient mercy that we might be completely forgiven and receive eternal life. Amen.

For further study: I found this insight on the phrase "all sufficient merit" on the Creator Worship blog: "We speak of Christ’s all sufficient grace though never frequently enough. It occurred to me that we would never have that grace if it were not for His all sufficient merit. In what respect is it all sufficient? His nature was divine from eternity past, the essence of perfection. His was most certainly an immaculate conception because he did not receive our father Adam’s sin nature but rather possessed His coequal nature with His Heavenly Father. As a man he fulfilled all the law, actually blameless though accused, tempted, and rejected. And you can’t improve on perfection, right?  The Scripture teaches that He did, not in essence but in quantity: “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.” (Hebrews 2:10) and “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,…” (Hebrews 5:8-9). He added to all of His other perfections this merit also that He obeyed and suffered, purchasing us heaven. His merit is sufficient to raise sinners who trust Him to His glorious throne where He sits at the right hand of the Majesty on High. I am there positionally now and bodily one day to worship and thank Him for His all sufficient merit that bought His all sufficient grace for me."

Here's another good study.

*1 From "Our Daily Bread"

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus"
  Video  Chris Tomlin and Christy Nockels

"This Is Love / Come Thou Long Expected Jesus"  Video  Paul Baloche & Kathryn Scott

"Come Thou Long Expected Jesus"  Video   Sandra McCracken & Derek Webb

"Come Thou Long Expected Jesus"  Audio   Lifespring podcast with history of the hymn

 *˛ "Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior"  Video  Gaither Homecoming

I found two additional stanzas for "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus" written by Mark Hunt:

Joy to those who long to see thee,
Dayspring from on high, appear
Come thou promised Rod of Jesse,
Of thy birth we long to hear!
O’er the hills the angels singing news, glad tidings of a birth
“Go to him, your praises bringing
Christ the Lord has come to earth.”

Come to earth to taste our sadness,
He whose glories knew no end;
By his life he brings us gladness,
Our Redeemer Shepherd Friend.
Leaving riches without number, born within a cattle stall;
This the everlasting wonder,
Christ was born the Lord of all.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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