Saturday, May 01, 2010

The hidden evils of my heart

From John Newton:
I asked the LORD that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of his salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, his face.

'Twas he who taught me thus to pray,
And he, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once he'd answer my request;
And by his love's constraining pow'r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, he made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow'rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with his own hand he seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

LORD, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
"'Tis in this way, the LORD replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.

These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may'st find thy all in me."
In 1 Cor 15:9 (c. 55 AD), the apostle Paul writes: "For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle..."

In Eph 3:8 (c. 62 AD), he writes: "...though I am the very least of all the saints..."

In 1 Tim 1:15 (c. 65 AD), the apostle Paul writes: "The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost."

In Rom 7:24-25, he writes: "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord."

From least of the apostles to very least of God's people to foremost of sinners. It seems increasing sanctification in the apostle Paul's life brought with it increasing realization of inward sin and corruption, and, subsequently, increasing dependence upon and gratitude to the Lord.

This, too, is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.

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