For it is by grace you have been saved...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ever Hold to the Right

Once again I mention my collection of antique hymnals. Not just to mention it, but to give context to what follows. Occasionally, I like to go through these old song books and just read through some of the lyrics for devotional thought. There have been some great songs written over the years, in addition to some of the great worship music being written today.

One song I came across recently is from a well known writer, Fanny Crosby, but to the best of my knowledge, not exactly a well known song. I found in one of my favorite little books called Brightest and Best for the Sunday School, put together by Robert Lowry and William Doane. It’s a favorite because it’s the first book to publish one of my all time favorites, To God Be The Glory; as well as the first publication of songs like All the Way My Savior Leads Me, I Am Thine O Lord, and Low in the Grave He Lay. Quite the little collection of songs. But I digress…

This other Crosby song is called Ever Hold To The Right. It goes like this:

1. Go on in the glorious cause of right, And, strong in our Father’s word,
Let this be the voice of every heart, For us we’ll follow the Lord.

Refrain: Go on, Go on, Ever hold to the right, Go on.

2. Go on with a sure and steadfast faith, A firm and united band;
We’ll walk with delight the Kings’ highway To Canaan’s beautiful land.

3. Go on in the path, the god old path, That millions have gone before;
And soon with the ransomed host we’ll sing On yonder beautiful shore.

4. God on till the Savior bids us come, the joy of His rest to share;
O then we shall see his glorious face, For He will welcome us there.

I sorta like that song. Ever hold to the right and go on. What a great word for the church today. We look around us and can find so many things that may discourage us. There is so much immorality in our land, so much compromise in the church, so many who would cause us to feel as though we’re fighting in vain. But hold to the right and go on.

Paul writes to the church at Thessalonica to encourage them in the face of great persecution and trials. In chapter one Paul talks about how he brags on this church because of their great perseverance and faith in the midst of those trials. In chapter 2 he talks about the last days, the coming of the man of lawlessness, and the coming of Christ. And then he offers more words of encouragement beginning in verse 13.

But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter. (2 Thess. 2:13-15, ESV)

Notice how verse 15 begins: “So then.” KJV says “therefore.” There are actually two words there in Greek, both with very similar meanings. The first is the idea of drawing a conclusion. The second is more direct in the idea of saying: accordingly, consequently, these things being so. That’s important because everything that follows is then related to what has already been said. It refers to both the verses immediately before as well as the first 12 verses of chapter 2 leading up to it.

So Paul’s argument goes like this: Times are tough, and they are only going to get tougher. The spirit of lawlessness that will ultimately be fulfilled in the coming anti-christ is already on the loose, and people all over are being deceived by it. Again, in our day we see evidence of that same spirit, again and again.

But as for us, we have been called by God, set aside for His purposes. We have the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in us and that should mean something. Those of us who benefit from God’s saving work can’t afford to fall into weariness and apathy, but must stand firm and keep an unyielding hold on the truth of God’s words. Ever hold to the right. The doctrines taught to us in Scripture must be held onto tightly, or soon we’ll find ourselves in the same boat as so many in our day who have left the truth in favor of a lie.

Stand firm. Ever hold to the right. Go on with a sure and steadfast faith, a firm and united band. Hold on to the truth of God’s Word. Don’t give in. Just wanted offer a little encouragement to those who might need it. And just to be balanced, since this started with a reading from one of my old hymnals, let me leave you with a similar word of encouragement from one of my favorite current artists: Flame.

This walk it ain’t easy/Matter of fact it gets hard/
You’ve enlisted for war/ The battleground is your heart/
It’s going to be some stress and strain/And discomfort and involved/
But my advice to you homie is to make your resolve/
To fight for your joy/In God’s keeping grace/
So at the end you can say like Paul that I‘ve kept the Faith/
You see the way is hard/Cause narrow is the gate/
And those who find it are few/I’m praying you complete the race/
But yet his yoke is easy/And His burdens are light/
But that’s the fight for us to rest and find in Him delight…
Hold on, He’s strong Hold on, cause our God is a warrior

Here’s praying for each of us to hold on and go on for His glory.

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