Come Thou Long Expected Jesus 5
By thine own eternal Spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all-sufficient merit
raise us to thy glorious throne.
Today, we come to the last part of Charles Wesley’s famous hymn, which originally was written as a prayer! The vision of life as a Christian is summed in these last few lines where we find petitions to God that He might be intimately known in our lives: that by His Spirit He might rule and raise up, for God’s deep longing for us is to be with Him.
The longings in our own hearts are deep. On a personal level, we long for security, love, relationships and meaning, for us and for those we love. We know in our hearts that, as part of living out the Gospel, we are called to think beyond the limits of our own lives and “bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners.” (Isaiah 61:1b-2b) We have a high calling!
When we are honest about for what we long and, as Christians, to what we are called, we begin the work of figuring out what God is asking of us today: what He wants of and for us. God ruling in our hearts alone does mean He reigns in an oppressive way. He wants us to think of Him first and to do His bidding first, to be our chief desire, to live with Him as our audience of one. He wants to be our only thought. If we think of Him first, then He has our whole heart. It is in seeking first the kingdom of God that we find peace and our longings and needs met (Matthew 6:33).
Yet how does this not become vanity in our own efforts? In Ephesians 2:6, we read that He has “raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Wesley takes us there. God will raise us up on His glorious throne and will take us into His heart and seat us in heavenly places. It is His gift to us. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God…” (Ephesians 2:8)
God rules in our hearts alone when we surrender to the much-needed gift that Christ has offered to us, the merits He won on our behalf, and when we stop trying and start looking for the One who is to come.