Myself God’s Sanctuary
Truth is often found in unexpected places, and here’s a good example of that. Frederick Faber was already noted as a poet during his university days but is best known for his hymns “Faith of our Fathers” and “There is a Wideness in God’s Mercy”, among others. He became an Anglican minister in 1839, but then he became a Roman Catholic priest in 1847. At that time such a change would have caused considerable criticism.
Somewhere I discovered the following poem he wrote, and have used it for many years because of the truths it declares which are not regularly taught in churches of any persuasion today. I particularly use it in the “In Christ, Christ In” seminar, where I put great emphasis upon the New Creation in Christ, and it will appear in the forthcoming book of the same title. Here are the first four verses:
How have I erred! God is my home, and God Himself is here.
Why have I looked so far for Him Who is nowhere but near?
Yet God is never so far off As even to be near;
He is within, our spirit is The home He holds most dear.
To think of Him as by our side Is almost as untrue
As to remove His throne beyond Those skies of starry blue.
So all the while I thought myself Homeless, forlorn, and weary;
Missing my joy, I walked the earth Myself God’s sanctuary.
These verses specifically address that there is no separation between a New Creation and the God Who placed him or her in Christ, just as there is no separation between Christ and the Father. “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you” (John 14:20). Also scriptures like Romans 8:35 and 38 jump to mind.
Even though many get comfort from hymns such as “The Garden”, where the chorus proclaims, “And He walks with me and He talks with me”, and similar hymns, the New Testament truth is clear that “he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him” (I Corinthians 6:17). Just as two parts of hydrogen and one part of oxygen make water, you cannot separate the parts when you drink. Faber is making the strong point that God in Christ is in us, not just with us.
The fourth verse is a particular favorite due to the contrast between the average Christian and one who has found and accepted and enjoys the truth that Christ lives in him or her, as Paul so clearly taught in Galatians 2:20, “Christ lives in me.”
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