Blessed Be My Rock!

Just are Thy ways, and true Thy word,
Great Rock of my secure abode:
Who is a God beside the Lord?
Or where’s a refuge like our God?

‘Tis He that girds me with His might,
Gives me His holy sword to wield,
And while with sin and hell I fight,
Spreads His salvation for my shield.

He lives, and blessed be my Rock!
The God of my salvation lives:
The dark designs of hell are broke;
Sweet is the peace my Father gives.

Before the scoffers of the age
I will exalt my Father’s name,
Nor tremble at their mighty rage,
But meet reproach, and bear the shame.

To David and his royal seed
Thy grace forever shall extend;
Thy love to saints in Christ their Head
Knows not a limit, nor an end.

—Isaac Watts, paraphrase of Psalm 18

Wise Words

WHAT NO VIRSU CAN TAKE

Romans 8 — “the great eight” — is a text I think everybody in this isolation period should be memorizing. I’m making that as a suggestion: it’s the best thing you could do with your time. Romans 8 gives greater foundations for this fearlessness than anything in the world — than anything the world has to offer. I’ll mention four:

1. For the called who love God in Jesus Christ, all of God’s righteous condemnation toward you was put on Jesus, and there is now no condemnation — no punishment — for those who are in Christ: “By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3). Condemnation for those who are in Christ is over. It happened at Calvary. That is wonderful.

2. God’s willingness to sacrifice his only Son for the called ones who love him means he not only died in their place, but will not withhold anything from them for their eternal good: “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). So, everything we need to glorify God and to have everlasting joy, he guarantees in the cross for us during coronavirus time.

3. Nobody who is called by God will fail to attain eternal glory. There is a golden, unbreakable chain of covenant commitment that God will keep his called ones forever: “Those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (Romans 8:30). None of the called is lost — ever.

4. Finally, here is what all of this means: neither tribulation, nor distress, nor persecution, nor famine, nor nakedness, nor danger, nor sword, nor coronavirus, nor economic collapse, nor total anarchy, nor the end of the world can separate us from the love of Christ. And that includes death — especially death — because Romans 8:36 says, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long.”

It doesn’t matter whether we’re being killed by coronavirus or anti-Christian mobs. Nothing can “separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:39). “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). Therefore, Christian — therefore, Christian — lover of God, called out of darkness into his marvelous light, lift up your head, put a song in your mouth, love your neighbor, and do not be afraid.

—John Piper, https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/how-do-i-fight-my-coronavirus-fears

The Hiding Place

Hail, sovereign Love, that first began the scheme to rescue fallen man!
Hail, matchless, free, eternal Grace, that gave my soul a hiding place!

Against the God Who rules the sky, I fought, with hand uplifted high
—despised the mention of His grace, too proud to seek a hiding place.

Enwrapped in thick Egyptian night, and fond of darkness, more than light,
madly I ran the sinful race, secure without a hiding place;

but thus th’ eternal counsel ran: Almighty Love, arrest that man!
I felt the arrows of distress, and found I had no hiding place.

Indignant Justice stood in view. To Sinai’s fiery mount I flew;
but Justice cried, with frowning face, This mountain is no hiding place.

Ere long, a heavenly voice I heard; and Mercy’s angel-form appeared,
Who led me on, with gentle pace, to Jesus Christ, my Hiding Place.

On Him Almighty Vengeance fell, that must have sunk a world to hell.
He bore it for a chosen race, and thus became their Hiding Place.

Should storms of sevenfold vengeance roll, and shake this earth from pole to pole,
no flaming bolt could daunt my face—for Jesus is my Hiding Place.

A few more rolling suns, at most, shall land me safe on Heaven’s coast.
Then I shall sing the song of grace to Jesus Christ, my Hiding Place.

—Jehoida Brewer (1752-1817)