"Hasten on from grace to glory,
Armed by faith and winged by prayer;
Heav'n's eternal days before me-
God's own hand shall guide me there.
Soon shall close my earthly mission;
Swift shall pass my pilgrim days;
Hope shall change to glad fruition,
Faith to sight, and prayer to praise."
-Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken
words by Henry F. Lyte, 1824
This is probably my all time favorate song for lyrics and possibly for music as well (the praise song music, not so much the hymn.) but singing this song in church Sunday night, i was struck by this verse. i've always gotten caught up in the previous verses and so my mind has been occupied once we got here. yet these words have such power to them. such a passion to them.
"Hasten on from grace to glory..."Hasten - hurry, go quickly. (ok, so that's my definition, but the dictionary simply said the same thing in longer form.) we are all sinners who diserve an eternity in hell. (Romans 3:23, 6:23, 10:9-11) it is only by the grace of God and His salvation made availible though His Son on the cross that we don't burn for it. (John 3:16) and so, in this life, we live under the grace of God (Romans 6:14, Eph. 2:8-9). and yet, we will one day be in glory with Him. and so we strive for it. we long for it. we want to hurry up and get there! look at this verse with me.
"so that being justified by His [Jesus Christ] grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."
I think this man, Henry, must have had an extream amount of anticipation (hope) to see the glory that is to come. the glory of our God. look further on and you will see. it permiates every line of this song.
"Heav'n's eternal days before me - God's own hand shall guide me there,"I only slightly disagree here. see, heaven is not forever. it is a temperary place for the saints that are no longer here on earth to await the return of the Lord, when He will physically set up His kingdom on this earth. it's spoken of throughout the Bible, looked forward to by the prophets of the old testament who didn't see a gap between the first coming (when Jesus came and died and was raised) and the second coming (the Kingdom that will last for all of eternity). it is in that Kingdom that God will be physically present to rule and guide.
"And many peoples will come and say, 'Come, let us go up to the mountian of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths.' For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the Lord from Jersalem.
And He will judge between the nations, And will render decisions for many peoples; And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war."
"Hope shall change to glad fruition, Faith to sight, and prayer to praise."These are all the things that we strive so hard to get a hold on here. we try to wrap our brains around them and grasp to hold onto them.
Heb 11:1"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
and yet, this faith in the unseen shall, as the song says, change to sight. we will no longer be communicating to God only through prayer, but will actually be able to stand in front of Him and praise Him for who He is and all the amazing and merciful things He does for us. can you imagine it? these slightly ambiguos terms that we stumble over will turn into the rock solid tangable that we will enjoy forever.
and they are just as solid now as they will be then. because God said so and if He said it will happen, then it will happen. So, it's only my faulty brain that is the difficulty. yet, my shortcoming doesn't influence how very real it is.
"Soon shall close my earthly mission; Swift shall pass my pilgrim days"we aren't very far from it. yes, we likely have many years ahead of us. but what are years when compaired to millenia? this lifetime (if God does not return before then) is not so long as we might think. (Psalm 103:15)
so then, let us live with that anticipation that Henry seemed to have. be excited about what is to come.
*are you excited for the Kingdom? or are you to caught up in the day to day that it puts a damper on your joy?*
*have you read the Word today? hearing the words of God will get you excited about seeing Him!*