Sabbath: Living by the Spirit
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Read for This Week’s Study:

Gal. 5:16–25; Deut. 13:4, 5; Rom. 7:14–24; Jer. 7:9; Hos. 4:2; Matt. 22:35–40.

Memory Text:

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16)

One of the most beloved Christian hymns is Robert Robinson’s “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” Robinson, however, was not always a man of faith. The death of his father left him angry, and he fell into debauchery and drunkenness. After hearing the famous preacher George Whitefield, Robinson surrendered his life to the Lord, became a Methodist pastor, and wrote that hymn, which originally included the lines: “Oh, to grace how great a debtor/Daily I’m constrained to be!/Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, Bind my wandering heart to Thee.”

Uncomfortable with the line about the Christian heart’s wandering, someone changed the words to read: “Prone to worship, Lord, I feel it, Prone to love the God I serve.”

Despite the editor’s good intentions, the original words accurately describe the Christian struggle. As believers we possess two natures, the flesh and the Spirit, and they are in conflict. Although our sinful nature will always be “prone” to wander from God, if we are willing to surrender to His Spirit, we do not have to be enslaved to the desires of the flesh. This is the thrust of Paul’s message in the texts for the week .

*Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, December 17.

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Sabbath: Living by the Spirit — 8 Comments

  1. I'm having a tad of problem with this opening. The mention of a change made me curious. I've searched and seen several edited versions but none mention or show this change. Where can I find it?

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    • Hello.
      I also looked at this story of a change in this song with a little questionmark. And I think this story is a little misleading. I found the story in a bible-commentary to Gal 5 on the net. [link to website edited out See comment guidelines]
      And there the story goes like this:
      ----------------------------
      "There is a song we sing entitled “Come Thou Fount” (play hymn) by Robert Robinson.
      Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
      Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
      Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
      Call for songs of loudest praise.
      It is a wonderful hymn. In the last stanza are these words:
      Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
      Prone to leave the God I love;
      After this song was written, someone looked at it and said, “That is not my experience—I’ll change that.” So in some hymnbooks we find these words:
      Prone to worship, Lord, I feel it,
      Prone to love the God I serve.
      --------------------------------------------
      The story, in a slightly different version, is in the netadress
      [link to website edited out]
      That means that the change was done, not in the lines mentioned in the quarterly, but in the next line.
      I cannot either find this changed version in any songbook I have, neither in all the versions given in Wikipedia
      [link to website edited out]
      But the story has a good point, anyway..

      Regards Trygve Andersen
      Norway

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  2. this is such a blessing , to be able to share gods word with my family. i have sang this song over and over and never seen it in this light. we are willing to surrender to his spirit.

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  3. It is a blessing to be able to discuss Gods word globally. This is a very interesting lesson, what caught my attention is the fact that there is a conflict between the flesh and the spirit. therefore we need to crucify the desires of the flesh to walk in the spirit.

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  4. Though I haven't gone in details to ascertain the changes said to have been made on this song, I find the whole point well driven home. Yes, our hearts are prone to wonder a way from God but thanks to His love and mercy in that through the Holy Spirit, our hearts are constantly reminded to return back to the giver of life.
    Brethren, let's not look much at the history of the song but the purpose of the lesson writers- which is of course to show us how flesh and the spirit are ever in conflict. Happy Sabbath to everyone!

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  5. point well made Wanqija. lets stop looking at the forest and see the trees! the lyrics of the song may or may not have been changed, but the Word of God says that there is an ongoing conflict between the spirit and the flesh!! you know it, and I know it. That's the real challenge of the christian experience and That's the real point. Walk in the spirit and let the fruit of the spirit be manifested in our behavior more and more. The victory is already won! Hallelujah!!

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  6. Hey family, while its very good to do our research on ths Sabbath School lessons and on various points, lets not get distracted. Yes true some points may seems way off you me but on the other hand it may come handy and or helpful to someone else. Therefore let's search for the context of the issue at hand

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  7. Just a point of observation: The new (changed) lyrics, as cited in the lesson, are something which I had never seen before. Clearly, our hymnals have the original lyrics. I'm sure that the lesson author understood this, and was merely trying to make a spiritual point, not sound an alarm.
    *
    I hope this helps someone. God bless!

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