JTTH: Amazing Grace (Part Five)

The Lord has promised good to me

His word my hope secures

He will my shield and portion be

As long as life endures

When we’ve been there ten thousand years

Bright shining as the sun

We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise

Than when we first begun

I’m going to try to get through both of these verses in one post, since I’ve kind of already spent more time on this hymn than the first one. They shouldn’t take too long, but I’ve been known to be wrong on my time estimations. (Remember when I said Amazing Grace would take less time to go through than How Sweet and Aweful is the Place? At least I warned you that I was probably wrong.) So hang on, and I’ll do my best.

The Lord has promised good to me

His word my hope secures

What is it that makes us sure of what lies ahead for us as believers? What is it that makes us trust that we will come to the end of the path and to the Celestial City, no matter what? The promise of the Lord! He has promised that He will bring us through to the end and welcome us into heaven, where we will spend eternity worshiping Him and marveling at His greatness, goodness, and grace.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.

1 Peter 1:3-9

Even this promise and the hope it secures for the saint shows us how truly awesome the Lord our God is, for a promise is no good if it doesn’t come from someone who is trustworthy. If a person who is characterized by lying comes to you and promises to give you something of great value, are you going to believe them? You shouldn’t. They haven’t given you a reason to—actually, as a serial liar, they’ve given you many reasons to not believe them! Every lie is a strike against their truthfulness, and another cause for believing that they won’t fulfill their word.

But God is not like men. He does not lie, nor can He, because He can do nothing which goes against His perfect and holy character. To list just a few of the Scriptures that teach this:

Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God. What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written,

Romans 3:1-4

“The Rock! His work is perfect,
            For all His ways are just;
            A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
            Righteous and upright is He.

Deuteronomy 32:4

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

John 14:6

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

The sum of Your word is truth,
And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.

Psalm 119:160

Many people memorize a few of those passages, such as 2 Timothy 3:16-17, as declarations of the inspiration of God’s Word. But if Scripture is breathed out by God, and God is truth (John 14:6), then the sum of His Word is true (Psalm 119:160). This is why we can believe the promises given to us in Scripture—because they have an infallible, perfectly truthful Author, and the One who made the promise will not fail to fulfill it.

But how do we know that? How do we know that God won’t change His mind concerning us? What if we’re having a really bad day, or we fall into sin? Can’t God just retract His promises and leave us to our own devices?

No. He can’t. Not because He’s bound by some burdensome oath to preserve us; but for the sake of His own name, character, and glory!

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

James 1:17 

For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.

Malachi 3:6

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Hebrews 13:8

God is not a man, that He should lie,
            Nor a son of man, that He should repent;
            Has He said, and will He not do it?
            Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

Numbers 23:19

As we see in His Word, God is immutable. That not only means that He cannot change, but that if He did change, He would cease to be God!

God cannot change; therefore He is always faithful. He is not moved by the actions of His creatures, as if they could change His purposes or promises—He ordered and ordained every movement they would make before the foundation of time! Not only that, but His love for us is not wrapped up in ourselves. It is for the sake of His name, for the sake of His Son, and for the sake of His Spirit that He saved us to begin with. It doesn’t matter if we’re having a bad day, or if we stumble along the path—we’re still His, because He purposed that we would be His from eternity past, for the glory of His great name. The Godhead does not change, so why would God’s promise concerning His glory?

Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD,” declares the Lord GOD, “when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight.

Ezekiel 36:22-23

The immutability and faithfulness of God is why we can sing with confidence,

He will my shield and portion be

As long as life endures

Now for the last verse of Amazing Grace.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years

Bright shining as the sun

We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise

Than when we first begun

Let me just summarize this verse in plain, simple language:

Heaven’s not about you.

I know this might come as a shock to some, but it’s true. When we die and are received into heaven, it won’t be about us. Heaven won’t be about the saints. It won’t be about the angels or the streets of gold, or even the fact that everything painful or sorrowful will be gone. It will be about Christ! It will be about His glory, forevermore!

Look at the lyrics to the chorus of heaven:

“Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen…

Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations!

Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy; For ALL THE NATIONS WILL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE YOU, FOR YOUR RIGHTEOUS ACTS HAVE BEEN REVEALED.”

Revelation 7:12; 15:3-4 (emphasis added)

We won’t be singing our own praises in heaven. (Though if you want to see what that would be like, you can read this song.) There we will realize more than ever how unworthy we are and how indescribably majestic and worthy Christ is! We will spend eternity searching out the glories of His character and perfections, yet when ten thousand ages have come and gone, we will be no closer to grasping His infinite loveliness than we were the first moment we were saved. We will praise Him forever because He is worth it, and because we will always be discovering more of His excellence to praise!

Well, we’re done with Amazing Grace. Next week we’ll begin looking at A Mighty Fortress is Our God by Martin Luther.

Thanks for reading this series!

SDG <><

This is the tenth installment in the Journey Through the Hymns series. A new installment will be posted each Wednesday until the series’ completion.

One thought on “JTTH: Amazing Grace (Part Five)

Add yours

  1. When we’ve been there ten thousand years
    Bright shining as the sun
    We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
    Than when we first begun

    I’ve always loved that verse.


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