Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Sinner is a Sacred Thing

A Sinner is a Sacred Thing

– Joseph Hart 

(Tune: #183 — Faith of Our Fathers — 88.88.88) 

1. When Adam by transgression fell, and conscious, fled his Maker’s face,
Linked in clandestine league with hell, He ruined all his future race.
The seeds of evil once brought in, increased and filled the world with sin.

2. But lo! The Second Adam came, the serpent’s subtle head to bruise;
 He cancels his malicious claim, and disappoints his devilish views;
Ransoms poor sinners with His blood, and brings the sinner back to God.

3. To understand these things aright, this grand distinction should be known:
Though all are sinners in God’s sight, there are but few so in their own.
To such as these our Lord was sent; they’re only sinners who repent.

4. What comfort can a Savior bring to those who never felt their woe? 
 A sinner is a sacred thing; the Holy Ghost hath made him so. 
New life from Him we must receive, before for sin we rightly grieve.

5. This faithful saying let us own, well worthy ‘tis to be believed, 
That Christ into the world came down, that sinners might by Him be saved. 
Sinners are high in His esteem, and sinners highly value Him.


Verse 4 in this song is beyond profound: If a person sees his or her sin as sin, and repents of it, he or she does so only in the power of God, regenerated in spirit by the Holy Spirit.

This is speaking in spiritual actuality, of course. There are many who might say that they are degenerate or sinful, and then embrace that sin wholeheartedly, without repentance. Such a person does not really see himself as a sinner. That person is still celebrating her or her own self as desirable and worthy.

A sinner is a sacred thing, because only by the power of the Spirit and Word does a person truly accept the category. And Christ died for such persons, and they in turn learn to highly value Him, more than sin.


Receiving and resting in the prepared works of God

For we are His workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them. — Eph 2:10 NET

A.B. Simpson comments on this verse:

Christ sends us to serve Him, not in our own strength, but in His resources and might. We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath prepared that we should walk in them. We do not have to prepare them; but to wear them as garments, made to order for every occasion of our life.
We must receive them by faith and go forth in His work, believing that He is with us, and in us, as our all sufficiency for wisdom, faith, love, prayer, power, and every grace and gift that our work requires. In this work of faith we shall have to feel weak and helpless, and even have little consciousness of power.

But if we believe and go forward, He will be the power and send the fruits.

The most useful services we render are those which, like the sweet fruits of the wilderness, spring from hours of barrenness. I will bring her into the wilderness and I will give her vineyards from thence. Let us learn to work by faith as well as walk by faith, then we shall receive even the end of our faith, the salvation of precious souls, and our lives will bear fruit which shall be manifest throughout all eternity.


Such an amazing theme of grace, that God has prepared the works for us. We don't have to work them up or stress ourselves in finding them. We don't need to strive in discerning or creating them. They are prepared beforehand.

We simply must trust. We must receive the promise, by faith. We must obey in the next thing at the door of our conscience. Like this, God will lead us into all good works, even silent or unseen by others (or perhaps not even recognized by ourselves).

Tolstoy has written a short story of a shoe cobbler who entertains the Lord by accident, without knowing that he did so (merely by helping a cold woman, abandoned orphan and lonely man in the course of his day). So it is with us: we will do the destined works, as we simply trust and obey.

And, it's so important (especially in our world of celebrity, glamor and materially defined success) not to "compare ourselves among ourselves" (2 Cor. 10:12). There's no quicker way to lose sight of the prepared works of God than to compare personal life against the celebrated works of others.

Truly, "Let us learn to work by faith as well as walk by faith, then we shall receive even the end of our faith, the salvation of precious souls, and our lives will bear fruit which shall be manifest throughout all eternity."