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‘He shines in all that’s fair’

July 2017 | by Colin Hart

Psalm 24:1 proclaims, ‘The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it’. Our world was made by God and belongs to him. The evidence of our Creator is all around us.

As Romans 1:20 says, ‘For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse’.

So, we can say of God that, ‘He shines in all that’s fair’. This line comes from a hymn penned over 100 years ago by the American pastor, Maltbie D. Babcock:

‘This is my Father’s world,

The birds their carols raise,

The morning light, the lily white,

Declare their Maker’s praise.

This is my Father’s world:

He shines in all that’s fair;

In the rustling grass I hear him pass;

He speaks to me everywhere.’

Many passages of the Bible attest to the fact that, even after the Fall, something of God’s character shines through in his creation. And because he is the Creator, God is intensely interested in his world.

Providential care

Proverbs 15:3 tells us that, ‘The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good’. Psalm 104 talks about God’s providential care for men and animals: ‘He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate — bringing forth food from the earth’ (v.14).

In a famous passage describing the glory of Jesus Christ, Colossians 1:16 reveals that, ‘All things were created by him and for him’. So, we learn that the Father made this whole universe by the Son and for the Son.

The apostle Paul goes on: ‘For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross’ (1:19-20).

God is holy and so the only solution to man’s sin is found in Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection. Before ascending to heaven, Christ commanded that this good news should be taken to all nations.

Stability

But, for this gospel message to be proclaimed, there has to be stability in the world, so that ordinary life can continue. God promised this, even in the aftermath of the worldwide Flood: ‘As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease’ (Genesis 8:22).

Not only does God ‘shine in all that’s fair’, he provides for all he has made. This points us to common grace, God’s blessings to all people outside of salvation. As Jesus taught, his Father ‘causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous’ (Matthew 5:45).

God gives marriage and the family to people everywhere, for the good of children, communities and society as a whole. Every person is made in God’s image and has a conscience. God also institutes nations and governments to restrain evil by the force of law or arms.

In a democracy, Christians can seek to influence their political leaders for good. Every Christian in the UK has freedom to speak out and the freedom to vote, a privilege denied to many people across the world today. Because God has a concern for this world, we should too. Let us be ‘the salt of the earth’ and ‘the light of the world’, as Christ commanded (Matthew 5:13-16), especially when there is so much that is wrong in society.

Let’s do those good works which adorn the gospel (see Titus 2:10). We have the opportunity to glorify Christ in our different callings here in a fallen world, in this brief time before eternity dawns.

Only when Jesus returns, inaugurating a new heaven and a new earth, will everything be put right. We can look forward to that great day with joy and with confidence. As the final verse of Babcock’s hymn says:

‘This is my Father’s world.

O let me ne’er forget

That though the wrong

Seems oft so strong,

God is the ruler yet.

This is my Father’s world:

The battle is not done:

Jesus who died shall be satisfied,

And earth and heav’n be one.’

Colin Hart

Director of the Christian Institute (http://www.christian.org.uk). This article is used by kind permission.