Friday, April 6, 2018

256. Prayer For Help Against a Besetting Sin

This hymn is chiefly inspired by Chapter 7 of Paul's Epistle to the Romans, with a bit of Chapter 6 tacked on at the end. The tune is titled REMNANT and was written by yours truly in 2014 for one of the "scratched and dented" hymns of my college years. It occurred to me, while I was studying Romans 7 prior to writing this hymn, that it's a wonderful treatment of the theology of the cross as distinguished from the theology of glory. I made an effort to express that in this verse-prayer. It will also, I hope, become another much-needed burr under the saddle of the deniers of objective justification at large within Lutheranism today.
Behold a wretched creature, Lord:
So oft astray, so oft restored!
While to Your word I give assent,
Believe in Christ, of sin repent,
My flesh with covetousness burns,
To its old god returns.

Though in Your will I now rejoice,
I find in me another voice:
Beside the new man, freed and saved,
The old yet lives, to sin enslaved.
The law that once to me seemed life
Now cuts – a killing knife.

Though in the inner man I will
Good things, my members render ill.
That which my spirit knows is good
I do not do, although I would;
The sin from which I would refrain,
That sin I do again.

How long, O Lord, will You endure
My faithless faith, my heart impure?
And though Your mercies never cease,
How oft, while my misdeeds increase,
Will I return to seek Your face
Ere I despair of grace?

Behold a wretch! Lord, who shall set
Me free from such a husk of death?
Thanks be to God, through Christ my Lord:
Oft as I stray, I am restored!
No work of mine secures release;
Christ is alone my peace.

I thank You, Christ, that by Your bath
I die with You to sin and wrath
And with You rise, reborn and clean,
My new life not yet fully seen;
Free me anew from day to day
To bear Your yoke, I pray.

Now when the old man surges back
To smear my festal garb with black,
Let him remind the saint who brags:
My righteous deeds are filthy rags.
You robe me, Christ, in perfect white
Before the throne of Light.

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