Smeagol is Free!
A hermitudinal view of...stuff...


Thoughts on God: Saved to Sin No More

There Is a Fountain Filled With Blood
William Cowper

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.
Washed all my sins away, washed all my sins away;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.
Be saved, to sin no more, be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

We're told in Scripture that Christ endured the cross for the joy set before Him. I was telling Chriyus just the other day that I simply don't long for heaven the way I ought to, for the reasons I ought to. Quite frankly, if death were to come and release me from sin, and that were it, I'd be fine with that. Oh, don't get me wrong; it's not as though I really think that that's right, nor do I verbalize such a belief. But you know what? That's how I live from day to day, more often than not.

It was end of April, and I was in the grand ballroom at the Galt Hotel. I had not yet flown home for 'Drew and Sandi's wedding, Dr. Ligon Duncan had not yet given his message concerning the Old Testament and God's covenant fidelity to us in Christ, nor had we even begun the last verse of Cowper's glorious exultation. The third verse was the one that got me. I'd had a rough week; the sting of sin was puffy and raw on my heart, and I felt its taunt as an echo reverberating through my empty, vacant soul. It was one thing to be reminded that we, those for whom Christ has died, those whom He has redeemed with His precious blood, have been washed in His blood and declared not guilty. It was another to sing, "Thy precious blood shall never lose its power till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more."

Saved to sin no more.

Wow. It hit me then, and it hit me hard. Tears came, unbidden, unexpected. Heaven became, for just a brief moment, real and sweet, bright-shining and glorious, joyful. It was not just a place or an idea where I could rest from my toils, my many frailties and failures. It was, once more, the hope my battered heart longed for...longs for still.

I've enjoyed my life. There have been times where I've been physically exhausted, often bruised, but never really beaten up. My face has lost a battle with the asphalt (don't ask), a chiropractor once told my mom my spine looked like it was in a bad car accident at a young age (even though that's never happened), and I've been scared once or twice when I went spin-cycle out in the lineup at The Point (surfing terminology...sorry). Yet those are all physical pains, pains that will end. The ones that scare me are the pains of the soul, pains for which death is not an end, but a beginning.

I remember the many times I found myself driving around the parking lot at Blaisdell Park, looking for a spot where no one would see me cry. I used to wake up on some mornings, wondering if that day would be the day God would finally expose my sins for all to see. I can recall looking into the fidgeting eyes of the kids in the youth group, knowing that they were wanting to have someone, anyone, bear their burdens with them. I knew those fidgeting looks, knew the weight of those burdens; I, too, would often fidget, would often feel I'd already been buried under those burdens familiar and crushing. Still do, truth be told.

There were thousands of men with me in the grand ballroom, many of whom I knew for one reason or another. Immediately surrounding me were old friends like Jim Winn, Mark Schweitzer, and Dustin Benton. Off in the crowd were others I would've loved to have near me, but didn't. We'd already sang completely through the last verse and the song was coming to a close. At that moment I didn't really feel comfortable looking like I'd been chopping onions, so I tried valiantly to wipe the last of the tears from my face. Didn't work. My lip kept quivering as I kept feeling the truth of the words, "Saved to sin no more." We'd stopped singing with our voices, but my tears kept flowing, and my heart kept rejoicing. I didn't really understand at that moment why those words pierced me so deeply. In all honesty, I don't think I cared.

That hymn has since become a constant on my iTunes playlists. Unfortunately, all three of the versions that I have don't include that third verse. Sometimes, after the second, I'll hit pause and sing the third by myself, then go on and listen to the fourth. I think the beauty of those words is found not merely in the negative aspect, that is, the fact that there's no more sin in heaven, but what's implied by that assertion, namely, that we as the redeemed of the LORD will behold Him in the fullness of His glory, never again to have our gazes darkened or dimmed by the blight of sin upon our hearts. What believer does not long for such a day? What saint does not struggle with that longing, battling against the sin of unbelief, often failing, yet always rising? What child of the Father does not yearn to be held in His arms, free of fear, free of sin?

Long for heaven with me, all you who believe. Long for it with all the passion and desperation God does grant you. Long for it with all the surety of the cross. Long for it with all the dimension spanned by the depths of the bitterest dregs of sin to the heights of heaven, knowing that Christ's death and resurrection is larger and more than powerful enough to reconcile even that infinite chasm. Long for it with the hope of Christ, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross. Long for it, knowing that He also longs for that day when we are finally and utterly saved to sin no more.

posted by Bolo | 3:32 PM
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