No Worms in Heaven

IT HAPPENED TO ME LAST WEEK. Isaac Watts did it again. One of his best hymns (he wrote over six hundred!) lingered in my head for more than an hour before I formed the words with my mouth. I suddenly listened to what Watts wrote over two centuries ago:

Alas! and did my Savior bleed? / And did my Sovereign die?

Would He devote that sacred head / For such a worm as I?

I frowned as that last line faded away. A "worm"? Does God see people as "worms"? When Christ died, did He "devote that sacred head" for worms? Now obviously, Watts wanted to portray a vivid illustration of sinful mankind—lost, undeserving, spiritually worthless, wicked within. Dipping his brush in Job 25 and Isaiah 41, Watts painted such a picture, using the very term Scripture uses—worm. He was biblical and therefore justified in his choice of terms for the text. Frankly, we were worm-like when our righteous God found us. We were lowly, wandering, dirty, unattractive, grubby creatures.

But I fear that this "worm theology" creates enormous problems.

It wears many faces—all sad. It crawls out from between the mattress and the springs in the morning saying, "I'm nothing. I'm a worm. I can't do it. I must annihilate self-respect . . . crucify all motivation and ambition . . . and if any good accidentally seeps out, I must quickly hide it or categorically deny I had anything to do with it. I'm a worm. Good for nothing except crawling slowly and being stepped on."

But there is another perspective. We are not worms destined to crawl in the dirt of shame; rather, in Christ, we are in an exalted place:

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God's right hand. . . . For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.

COLOSSIANS 3:1, 3

We may have been like worms before Christ found us, but now that we belong to Him, we live in an exalted place! Now that's a perspective worth meditating on today.

Devotional content taken from Good Morning, Lord . . . Can We Talk? by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2018. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved. The full devotional can be purchased at tyndale.com.


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