I Will Stay with Christ

Ausbund, 6, Mit Lust so will ich singen

I will sing with gladness! My heart rejoices in God who made me wise enough to escape eternal death! And I praise you Christ from heaven who turns away my grief—you whom God sent for my example and light, to call me into your kingdom before my end.

There [in the Kingdom of Christ] I will be joyful with him forever, and love him from the heart. I love his righteousness that guides all who seek life—here as well as there. Righteousness lets itself be scorned as well as praised. But without it nothing survives.

The one that opposes righteousness poisons others. We find many like that—many that preach God’s word but stand in hatred and jealousy. They have nothing of God’s love within them, and their cheating and treachery is evident to all. We have seen in these last times how those that come in sheep’s clothing are ready to tear others apart like wolves. They hate all the godly. They block the way to life and to the sheepfold of Christ.

That is what false prophets and hypocrites do: They curse and fume until their faces change. They call on the authorities to kill us because Christ has abandoned them. But I praise Christ who—moved by grace—is patient and friendly to us. Like his Father, he shows us love, something no hypocrite can do. We must discern the difference!

Listen carefully to me: Lambs on the meadow that seek nothing but God’s honour have no reason to worry about possessions and goods. Christ holds their wellbeing in his hands. Christ forces no one into glory. Only the one that comes through faith and true baptism—the one that repents with a pure heart—will live there with him. Christ bought his way to glory at the price of his blood.

Christ did his work willingly. It caused him no regret. Now he shows it to us and gives us his holy power. The one that lives in his love grows with the sap of God. Love to God through Christ is the only thing that counts. Neither boasting nor complaining will impress God or make him change his mind. The one without love in his heart finds no place to stand before him.

Pure love in Christ leads to the sparing of one’s enemies here. The one that inherits all things with Christ understands that he must show mercy like Christ showed mercy. Doing this, he is always joyful. Christ accuses no one, like the hypocrites of today. Those that do not carry the love of Christ nor understand his words, yet who want to be shepherds and teachers, will come to no good end. Their wages are eternal death.

Christ hates no one. Neither do his servants that stay on the right path and follow his steps. In him they have the light of life for which they thank him with all their hearts. This is the mind of the godly. But those that show evidence of jealousy and hatred cannot be Christians. Inclined to evil they strike with their fists and run before Christ like murderers and thieves. They spill the blood of the innocent and love everything false. In this, one may know who is not on Christ’s side and who pulls his commands apart like the children of Belial. They do what Cain did to his brother Abel—they murder the innocent for doing what God desires.

With this I will close. But take note, all godly souls! We should not neglect to study Adam’s fall. He took the serpent’s advice, disobeyed God, and death came upon him. So it will be with those that withstand Christ, those that set their affection on worldly lusts and do not know the love of God.

This now is the end of my song. I will stay with Christ who knows my earthly distress!

Felix Manz, ca. 1498-1527, Zürich, Switzerland of patrician family, found Christ as college student, baptised 25 January 1525 (first adult baptism in Reformation era), publicly drowned, Zürich

Leave a reply