Musings from a Beloved Hymn

“O teach me what it meaneth,
That Cross uplifted high,
With one the Man of sorrows, Condemned to bleed and die!
O teach me what it cost Thee To make a sinner whole;
And teach me, Saviour teach me, The value of a soul!
Lucy Ann Bennett

What is the value of a man’s soul? Is there some intrinsic quality that makes his soul valuable? Ah! Yes, he was created in the image and likeness of God. But is that sufficient to make his soul of any value? Is man not a fallen creature, who is dead in sins and trespasses; a child of wrath and son of disobedience, whose throat is an open sepulchre? What possible value could such a soul have? I venture to say NONE! The value lies not in man but the One who gave Himself for him. The price that was paid for the redemption of man is not proof of his worth but proof of the astounding magnificence of God’s great grace and mercy in redeeming vile sinners and making them joint heirs with Christ! There aren’t words lofty and weighty enough to describe it.

This hymn writer I believe, sought to know the depth of the riches of God’s wisdom and knowledge in the display of his grace. He who declares that He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, has redeemed her from His wrath to come, and so she must sing. And I must as well.

The Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, said upon the restoration of his senses that ‘all inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing.’ Those are the submissions of a man who by the gracious workings of God, ceased to be a rebel. He once thought himself mighty, but now knows he is but a creature.

Are those your submissions as well? Then there must be a persistent seeking of the One who has saved us with so great a salvation. There must be a never-ending giving of praise to the Saviour who shed his precious blood for the remission of our sins and who made us new creatures. There must be constant contemplations on and admiration of the great truths of Scripture. There must also be love for all the redeemed who make up the church that the Saviour has undertaken to nourish and preserve to the very end. And lastly, there must be a compelling compassion for all those presently sold under sin, who lack any consciousness of their miserable estate. These ones must need be told of the Cross uplifted high, and the Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief who hung on it.

Lord teach us indeed what these things means……

Might the Lord grant that we understand these deep things so often taken for granted, and that in our understanding, we may grow in our knowledge and love for Him. To Him alone be glory now and forever. Amen.

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Reflections on Current Events

I have been musing over the recent happenings (particularly the Chibok abduction) in our beloved country, and wondering what my response should be as a Christian. I have asked myself what Apostles Paul and John would have done if they lived in our day? How would they react as servants of Christ and leaders in the church? Would they have joined in the protests and demand that the government do their job?
Well, I don’t know, I do know that their day was as riddled with unjust acts by political leaders and the citizenry as ours is. Indeed, I think we fair far better than they did. I seriously doubt that the citizens of the Roman empire would have thronged to the streets in protest if such an occurence had taken place. So we can be thankful to God for some of the level of freedom that we have today. Whether we have put that freedom to proper use is another discussion entirely.

Back to the issue at hand, it is important that Christians understand clearly how they live their lives before an onlooking world. And the present crisis (there has always and there will always be crisis in this cursed world) affords us the opportunity to publish the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. While the situation is a tragic one, we must be careful not to drop our Biblical worldviews as if such abductions and bombings are novel. The reality of the matter is that the abductors, the abducted, the bombers, the protesters and all at the helm of affairs who continue to harden their hearts against the Gospel will suffer God’s wrath. Those who died in the Nyanya bomb blast are not greater sinners than other Nigerians.

I don’t know the fate of these girls and I confess I try not to think about what they are going through right now. I know the parents of these are in grief beyond what I can imagine, but actually do not know the effect this grief must have had on them. I can only bear their burdens by pleading with the Lord to be merciful and use this to bring those among them who are lost to a knowledge of His Son and His mighty saving work on the cross on behalf of sinners. And for those who are His, O, that they might know that He is the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. That’s all the hope there is in this world. God may or may not bring the girls back (whatever the government does), but we may be rest assured that His purposes are perfect.

As I end this piece, let me say that I am not telling those who want to protest not to (I personally do not see the point), or that Christians shouldn’t hold the government to account. What I am trying to do is urge Christians in this country to be discerning and not go with the flow because it feels right, but judge all their responses and actions from a Biblical standpoint with an eye to the glory of our great God.

Grace and Peace…

The Vanity of Positive Confession

I have often said that the proof of the Word of Faith camp as a false group is evidenced by the fact that a nation like Nigeria, where many in this camp abound, remains one of the poorest and most corrupt on earth. And the very fact that many continue to argue in favour of this falsehood and give support to its leading proponents, is very proof of its devilish nature.

Perhaps my choice of words is a bit strong and may be perceived as harsh, but those are words I chose carefully to convey my utter dismay at the attitude of many Christian professors in the face of the truth of God’s Word.

Recently, I was in place where someone received the sad news of the death of two kinsmen. This person’s (he happens to be the pastor of a branch of a very popular Charismatic church in Lagos) first reaction was to say, “I cannot take this….. I won’t accept this.” And my first thoughts as I looked in the direction of my wife were “what foolishness!” Just yesterday afternoon I received a call from my wife about the death of a distant relative and the reactions by her other relatives who happen to be professing Christians. One of them is noteworthy and is the reason behind my writing this piece. The particular statement was this “…..we have to keep praying…….we will not accept this. She must live again!”

Now, it is understandable that grief should arise as a result of the loss of someone dear. It is even possible that for a brief period, that unbelief at the loss of such a person will cause hallucination. It is only natural to man that pain follows the loss of someone and this loss may sometimes lead to emotional expressions that a person may not be able to control. But where one boasts against the providential act of God over His creature, such a person exposes a lack of understanding of God’s Word despite his or her belief to the contrary.

This is the exact case of those in the Word of Faith/ Positive Confession/ Name it-Claim it camp. It is the result of a poor understanding of God’s revealed truth and the proper approach to explaining it. The history of this group is long and their damage and reproach to the name of Christ enormous. Their leaders are men who though claim to be servants of Christ, serve mammon. Men whose god is their bellies and who glory in their shame, for they mind earthly things. These are men who think themselves little gods and possessive of a tongue that can speak whatever their vain heart’s desire into existence. Men who pour contempt at the concept of a sovereign God who can do with His creation as He so pleases; for if this were so, they would not be able to decide what they want, when they want it and how they want it. They, along with their followers do not really seek the city whose builder and maker is God, but are more occupied with their best lives now. They love the world and are not pilgrims passing through to a far better place. They preach Christ only for earthly gain.

Two passages of Holy Scriptures record succinctly the truth of God’s sovereignty over His creation. In Job 12:10 we read “in whose (God)* hand is the life of every living thing, and the breadth of all mankind.” The other verse is Acts 17:28 where Paul says to the philosophers at Mars Hill, “for in Him (God)* we live and move and exist….” [*emphasis mine]

These two verses highlight an important truth that all who profess to belong to Christ –indeed every single man on alive— should note, “the God who gives life is the same who takes it. And when he decides to take it, none whosoever, can stay his hand! If this were not so, He would not be God” Men should quit this strange idea that they hand halt death in its tracks by their positive words. Those who do such will do well to acquaint themselves with verses such as 2Peter 3:10-12, to see the description of the world their hearts pander after.  The Son of God did not die that men may “live and not die” but that they would “die to themselves and live for Him who loved them and gave Himself for them that they might gain their live eternally to the glory of the praise of God.” The one who fulfils the latter is the true Christian.

I end by saying there is a right manner to respond to the death of anyone. If the deceased was a child born of God, we may be rest assured that such a one has only just slept and will pass from death to life [1Thess. 4:13-14]. If the deceased on the other hand had no saving faith evidenced by the fruit of the Spirit (even if he professed all his life to have been born from above), we may use that opportunity to contemplate the brevity of life as Job did [Job 14:1-2], and spend our time from that moment seeking first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness, and telling those we know about the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.