The Hobbit, John Newton, and Romans 8

This weekend I started reading The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien to Sam, Olivia, and Everett. Bilbo Baggins, the Hobbit in question, is drafted into an adventure by Gandolf the wizard. After a month on the trail, sloshing down muddy trails Bilbo says, “I wish I was at home in my nice hole by the fire, with the kettle just beginning to sing!” How often do we echo that same sentiment? Just like the Israelites in the wilderness we long for the comforts of Egypt.

John Newton’s hymn “Begone Unbelief” offers this hope:

Though dark be my way, since He is my Guide,
’Tis mine to obey, ’tis His to provide;
Though cisterns be broken, and creatures all fail,
The Word He has spoken shall surely prevail.

Indeed, the word He has spoken will surely prevail. That must be our hope. His word, the eternal Logos, Christ resurrected once and for all from the dead, the source and cause of all our hope and joy. So when it is dark, when it is gloomy, when our trials close in around us, cling to this, that God uses all of these things to conform us to the image of his Son and that is the ultimate good, that his Son might be glorified as the firstborn among many brothers.

Romans 8:28-30:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

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