Two Songs about the Holy Spirit

As I thought about the prayer from Valley of Vision that I posted yesterday, the two songs about the Holy Spirit that I posted at the end of this post came to mind. The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our salvation, constantly assuring us we’re God’s children and convicting us of sin, while providing the power to overcome that sin.

I could quote several chapters about the Holy Spirit from Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians,   Galatians, Ephesians, and Hebrews at this point, but for the sake of space and time, I’ll just list a few pertinent passages to accompany these songs. (Every time I read the passages about the Holy Spirit and decide to only quote a few verses, I feel like I am short-changing Him and not doing justice to explain His work in salvation and sanctification, but the truth of the matter is that I do not have the time or ability right now to say everything I want to say. It’s also difficult to cut out any of Paul’s arguments, since he doesn’t make just passing comments about the Holy Spirit or state truths in short, pithy statements.) It might not look like it, but I have limited myself to just a few of my favorite passages.

Romans 5:1-5

5 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Romans 8:1-17

8 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

 2 Corinthians 3:2-6, 12-18

You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all.And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. 14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Ephesians 2:18-22

18 For through [Christ Jesus] we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

And now, finally, two of my favorite songs about the Holy Spirit.

“Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart”

Text by George Croly

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
Wean it from earth; through all its pulses move;
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art;
And make me love Thee as I ought to love.

I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies,
No sudden rending of the veil of clay,
No angel visitant, no opening skies;
But take the dimness of my soul away.

Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh;
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear.
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh,
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.

Teach me to love Thee as Thine angels love,
One holy passion filling all my frame;
The kindling of the heaven descended Dove,
My heart an altar, and Thy love the flame.

One of the most beautiful arrangements of this song I have ever heard is by Dr. Dwight Gustafson. I searched in vain for a video of a choir singing it. If anyone can find an embed-able version of this song, please let me know.

“Holy Spirit, Living Breath of God”

Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
© 2006 Thankyou Music

Holy Spirit, living Breath of God,
Breathe new life into my willing soul.
Bring the presence of the risen Lord
To renew my heart and make me whole.
Cause Your Word to come alive in me;
Give me faith for what I cannot see;
Give me passion for Your purity.
Holy Spirit, breathe new life in me.

Holy Spirit, come abide within;
May Your joy be seen in all I do—
Love enough to cover ev’ry sin
In each thought and deed and attitude,
Kindness to the greatest and the least,
Gentleness that sows the path of peace.
Turn my striving into works of grace.
Breath of God, show Christ in all I do.

Holy Spirit, from creation’s birth,
Giving life to all that God has made,
Show your power once again on earth;
Cause Your church to hunger for Your ways.
Let the fragrance of our prayers arise.
Lead us on the road of sacrifice
That in unity the face of Christ
Will be clear for all the world to see.

In this video, Keith Getty speaks about writing the hymn.

And in this video, you can hear the entire performance of this lovely hymn as it is paired with “Gabriel’s Oboe,” which is one of the most beautiful melodies ever composed, in my opinion. This arrangement is also on the Getty’s newest cd, Hymns for the Christian Life.

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“O Thou in Whose Presence My Soul Takes Delight”

I’ve continued to think about the shepherd imagery in the Bible and found this hymn in which the imagery figures.

O Thou in whose presence my soul takes delight,
On whom in affliction I call;
My comfort by day and my song in the night,
My hope, my salvation, my all.

Where dost Thou, dear Shepherd, resort with Thy sheep
To feed them in pastures of love?
Say, why in the valley of death should I weep,
Or alone in this wilderness rove?

He looks, and ten thousand of angels rejoice,
And myriads now wait for His word;
He speaks, and eternity, filled with His voice,
Re-echoes the praise of the Lord.

Dear Shepherd, I hear, and will follow Thy call,
I know the sweet sound of Thy voice;
Protect and defend me, for Thou art my all,
And in Thee I will ever rejoice.

v. 1-3 by Joseph Swain,1791
v. 4 by Unknown author

“Praise the Lord Who Reigns Above”

Lynn Smith played this hymn during the Sunday evening service and I thought it was a good song for Thanksgiving week.

Praise the Lord Who reigns above and keeps His court below;
Praise the holy God of love and all His greatness show;
Praise Him for His noble deeds; praise Him for His matchless power;
Him from Whom all good proceeds let earth and heaven adore.

Publish, spread to all around the great Jehovah’s name,
Let the trumpet’s martial sound the Lord of hosts proclaim:
Praise Him in the sacred dance, harmony’s full concert raise,
Let the virgin choir advance, and move but to His praise.

Celebrate th’eternal God with harp and psaltery,
Timbrels soft and cymbals loud in this high praise agree;
Praise with every tuneful string; all the reach of heavenly art,
All the powers of music bring, the music of the heart.

God, in Whom they move and live, let every creature sing,
Glory to their Maker give, and homage to their King.
Hallowed be Thy Name beneath, as in heaven on earth adored;
Praise the Lord in every breath, let all things praise the Lord.

Charles Wesley, 1743

Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed

Quote

This is one of my favorite hymns. I love the rich text and the message of the song.

Alas! and did my Saviour bleed,
And did my Sovereign die!
Would he devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I!

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree!
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide,
And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker, died
For man the creature’s sin.

Thus might I hide my blushing face
While his dear cross appears;
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt mine eyes in tears.

But drops of grief can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe;
Here, Lord, I give myself away,
‘Tis all that I can do.

Isaac Watts, 1674-1748
Written in 1709

My current favorite version of the hymn is Nathan Clark George’s recording on Pull Up a Chair, which you can listen to here.

What is your favorite recording of this hymn?