Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

Seeing God’s Greatness in 4 Stages in a Hymn of Worship

I love hymns, especially those that help me know God in a richer and deeper way!  This post unpacks one of my favorite hymns on God’s greatness.

Gods greatness for our worship to Him

In this hymn of worship, Witness Lee unfolds God’s greatness in four marvelous stages: in God’s creation, in His salvation, in His habitation, the church, and in the New Jerusalem.

I hope you’ll join me in appreciating each of these four stages of God’s greatness. Then learn to sing this hymn with your whole being so that your worship to God will be elevated to a new height!

Now let’s muse on God’s greatness in the four progressive stages of His work revealed in the four stanzas of this hymn of praise!

Appreciating 4 stages of God’s greatness for our  worship to Him

Gazing at God’s greatness in His vast creation—stanza 1

The first stanza of the hymn says:

My Father God, when on Thy vast creation.
The wonders of the heav’n and earth, I gaze.
Things great and small, beyond enumeration,
Which manifest Thy pow’r in untold ways;

When we look at God’s creation–whether the stars in the sky, the wonders of the earth, or even the birth of  a new child–we can’t help but marvel at God’s greatness.

The Apostle Paul conveyed this sentiment in Romans 1:19-20:

“Because that which is known of God is manifest within them, for God manifested it to them. For the invisible things of Him, both His eternal power and divine characteristics, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being perceived by the things made, so that they would be without excuse.”

God’s power and divine characteristics displayed in His creation inspire our praise!

Enjoying the grace of His salvation—stanza 2

However, if creation was all, the setting might be beautiful but God’s plan would not be fulfilled. The universe would be without purpose.

The fallen creation was subjected to vanity

God created all things for His will, that He might be expressed (Rev. 4:11). But, due the fall, God’s perfect creation was subjected to vanity.

So in Romans 8:21, Paul  says, the the creation groans to be freed from the slavery of corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

God’s greatness was displayed in His salvation

Then God displayed His greatness in salvation.  He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, into this hopeless, damaged world to bring us His eternal life (John 3:16). Christ, as the incarnate God, died to redeem us with His sinless blood (Eph. 1:7).

Through His death, He also released His divine life with which to regenerate us (John 12:24). In His resurrection, He imparted this divine life into us to make us God’s new creation (2 Cor. 5:17).

Stanza 2 of the hymns says,

As I enjoy the grace of Thy salvation
And contemplate how Thou Thy Son hast sent,
Who died that we might be Thy new creation,
Thy life expressing to the full extent.

In this stanza, we advance from marveling at God’s physical creation, to enjoying the grace of His salvation. Praise God, the Father, for sending His Son to save us (John 3:16)!

Believing into Christ, we enjoy God’s salvation to become a new creation

By believing into Christ and experiencing His redeeming death and life-imparting resurrection we become God’s new creation, the masterpiece of His divine life!

Ephesians 2:4-5, 10a clearly express this thought,

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in offenses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). For we are His masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus…”

May we praise God saying: “Father thank you for sending Your beloved Son, Jesus, to die for me, not only to redeem me, but also to regenerate me with Your divine life. Thank you that by calling on the Lord Jesus, believing into His name, I am now a part of  Your masterpiece.”

Participating in the building of the church, His habitation—stanza 3

What’s more, God is great not only in His salvation, but even more in the church, His habitation. His greatness is not merely something to stand in awe of. This greatness is for us to daily participate in!

Stanza 3 says,

When in the church, in blest participation,
I see how millions Thine own life possess,
How they are built to form Thy habitation,
Containing Thee, Thy fulness to express.

We may receive God’s salvation personally, yet remain separate and detached from our fellow believers. We may fail to participate in the building up of His habitation, the church for God’s expression. If so, God’s purpose through us could not be fulfilled.

Not just His building materials, but God’s building

It would be like piling up valuable building materials on a construction site and never constructing the building. God would never be so wasteful!

Ephesians 2:22 says,

“In whom [Christ Jesus] you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit.”

God did not only save us from something–perdition. He saved us for something–His habitation, the church–so that He might be expressed.

Participating in God’s building in our spirit

Are you participating in the practical building up of God’s dwelling place today? We’re not talking about a physical structure. Paul said, “built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit.”

To participate in God’s building, we need to be in our spirit, built together with other believers in spirit.  First, this requires that we know our spirit by contacting the Lord with our spirit every day (John 4:24).

Then we need to learn to put aside our private interests and exercise our spirit to be blent with other believers in spirit for the building of His habitation, the church. This is a “blest participation”!

Here is another hymn by the same writer that stresses this building up in spirit. (Click here to listen to the tune.) May the Lord’s desire for such a building fill our longing and prayer!

Hoping to share the New Jerusalem—stanza 4

Finally, we need to worship God for His greatness in the New Jerusalem.

Stanza 4 says,

As I expect the coming age of fulness
And hope to share the new Jerusalem,
With all the heavens and the earth in newness
And all Thou art expressed in all of them.

Some people mistake the New Jerusalem for heaven. But in Revelation 21:2 the Apostle John says,

“And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

New Jerusalem–not heaven, but the living composition of God’s redeemed people

New Jerusalem is “coming down out of heaven.” it is also “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Since Christ would never marry a physical city, the New Jerusalem must be something much more than that.  It is the ultimate sign in the Bible.

The New Jerusalem is the living composition of all God’s redeemed people throughout the ages, prepared to be Christ’s bride. Footnote 1 in the Recovery Version on Revelation 21:2 points out:

As the bride of Christ, the New Jerusalem comes out of Christ, her Husband, and becomes His counterpart…She is prepared by participating in the riches of the life and nature of Christ. As the holy city of God, she is wholly sanctified unto God and fully saturated with God’s holy nature to be His habitation.

Such an expectation and hope should motivate us to be preparing by “participating in the riches of life and nature of Christ. The more we are daily nourished and inwardly washed by our Lord’s living word (Eph. 5:26), the more we are sanctified and saturated with God’s nature to be His eternal habitation.

Then all our being sings in praise to Thee!–chorus

As believers, this is our eternal destiny and it should fill our hearts with praise and worship to God!

Let’s conclude by declaring the chorus:

Then all my being sings in praise to Thee,
How marvelous! How great Thou art!
And this I’ll sing through all eternity,
How marvelous! How great Thou art!

If you’ve enjoyed this post, take a moment to share your enjoyment in a brief comment. Then check out some of the other classic hymns of praise and worship on Hymnal.net.

About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

3 Replies

  1. Rose-Marie Payette

    Brother Tom ,
    Thank you for sharing! I totally enjoy your post.
    Is it permissible to share this with friends?

    1. Tom Smith

      Glad you enjoy the post! I’d be happy if you would share the posts with your friends! The preferred way would to be to provide them with the link to the post you enjoyed so that they would actually come to the blog. If you wish to republish a post, I would ask that you request permission and then give a proper citation. To print copies to share with friends is also fine with citation at the bottom. Thanks for asking.

    2. Tom Smith

      Yes, that is fine. It is best to give them the link to the original post on the blog. If you print it or share it in another way, please make sure to follow it with an acknowledgement referencing the source. Thanks for asking and thanks for sharing!

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