The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The LORD’s right hand has done mighty things! The LORD’s right hand is lifted high; the LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!” … … I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.Psalm 118:14-16, 21
As I read these verses in this wonderful psalm I thought of one of my favourite Cowper hymns, ‘There is a fountain filled with blood’, and especially the verse: “When this poor, lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave, then in a nobler, sweeter song [which I’ll at last be able to sing in tune!] I’ll sing your power to save.”
On reflection, it is probably true that the common theme of ALL my favourite hymns is God’s amazing, SAVING grace. When the troubles and pressures of life press in on me, the thing that keeps me going the most is KNOWING that, in spite of my weakness, failings, and my innately sinful heart, my loving God, through the sacrifice of his own Son, has SAVED me!
Many years ago I did a study of the Greek verb ‘to save’ throughout the NT, and found that it occurs in at least three tenses: ‘I HAVE BEEN saved’ (perfect), ‘I AM BEING saved’ (present), and ‘I WILL BE saved’ (future). In my daily reading of the Scriptures I am reminded of these three things: firstly, having been JUSTIFIED, I exist in a SAVED state and nothing can snatch me from my God’s powerful hand (John 10: 28-30); secondly, by his grace I am constantly BEING SAVED, from my own sinful nature as well as from outside attacks, as the Holy Spirit does his ongoing, gracious work of SANCTIFICATION IN ME; and thirdly, I can look forward in HOPE to when I die or when Jesus, my Saviour, returns and I am finally GLORIFIED in his eternal presence.
Is there anything that could be more wonderful, satisfying, fulfilling or reassuring than this? “God’s my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? He’s my strength in tribulation, my anthem clear. Though against me rose a nation, bent on war and devastation, still he is my consolation, my hope and cheer. For his shelter is my keeping, in troubled days. When the evil times are creeping, songs I shall raise. When the enemy besets me, God in heaven ne’er forgets me, high upon a rock he sets me. To him be praise! I have asked the Lord for one thing, that will I seek; safety that his walk affords me, and all the meek. With the faithful to assemble in the beauty of his temple, and before his presence tremble when he shall speak.” (Welsh tune: “All Through the Night”).