On The Christian’s Proneness to Wander

I’ve always loved the hymn Come, Thou Fount. The third verse in particular has always been impactful, serving as a reminder of how I continue to need God’s grace to not wander from him.

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:
prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here’s my heart, O take and seal it;
seal it for thy courts above.

However, it is not true that I as a follower of Christ am prone to wander from him. Christian sanctification means that my nature has changed. We are no longer under the dominion of sin, but under grace (Romans 6:6, 14). The power of sin grows less and less over the Christian (Romans 8:13, Galatians 5:24, Colossians 3:1-17) because our nature has been changed to grow more and more in holiness (2 Corinthians 7:1, Ephesians 3:16-19, Colossians 1:10-11, 28, 4:12, Hebrews 12:14, 2 Peter 3:13-14). We are continually strengthened by the Spirit of Christ in grace to fight sin (Ephesians 4:15-16, 1 John 5:4); that is what Christians are now prone to do. Followers of Jesus do not need their heart taken and sealed anew, because we have been sealed by the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of our salvation (Ephesians 1:14-15). Our hearts are bound to God because we have been united to Christ (John 10:28, 15:1-5, 1 Corinthians 6:17, Ephesians 5:23, 30). Asking God to seal and bind the Christian’s heart is akin to asking for Jesus to save the Christian again: salvation has already come and is irrevocable.

I still like Come, Thou Fount because it captures a sense of the ongoing struggle against sin and rests in God’s grace as the solution. But for it to become the consistent anthem of Christian struggle, perseverance, and sanctification ends up selling the redeeming work of Christ short. The hymn He Will Hold Me Fast serves as a beautiful rejoinder to Come, Thou Fount with the second verse in particular capturing the truth about, and reason for, the Christian’s new nature,

Those He saves are His delight
Christ will hold me fast
Precious in His holy sight
He will hold me fast
He’ll not let my soul be lost
His promises shall last
Bought by Him at such a cost
He will hold me fast