1. In the church below,
    Wheat and tares together grow;
Jesus soon will weed the crop,
    Pluck the tares in anger up.

Refrain
Soon the reaping time will come,
And angels bring the harvest home.

2. Will the tares then say,
    “God’s commands we can’t obey!”
Yet they heard, and yet they knew,
    Yet among the wheat they grew!
Refrain

3. How much worse their case,
    Who despis’d the means of grace,
Turning from the word of faith,
    They have walk’d the path of death.
Refrain

4. Unto those we meet,
    We may seem like precious wheat;
But the Lord’s all-searching eyes,
    Sees the heart without disguise.
Refrain

5. Tares serve various ends,
    Some because of praying friends;
Some, the Lord against their will,
    Makes His counsels to fulfill.
Refrain

6. Though they grow so strong,
    God will not require them long;
When He comes to save His own,
    Tares shall into hell be thrown.
Refrain

7. Oh! and is it so?
    Must we all to harvest go?
Will each man be wheat or tare?
    Heed the warning and prepare!
Refrain


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The text was taken from Hymns for Second Advent Believers (1852), but was originally written by John Newton and published in his collection, Olney Hymns (1770).

The text was modified slightly to fit the tune (a German folksong). Also, the second verse was improved. The original said:

2. Will it relieve their horrors there,
    To recollect their stations here;
How much they heard, how much they knew,
    How much among the wheat they grew?

But it has been adapted to fit the times we live in, when the Law of God has been set aside by the professing Christian world:

2. Will the tares then say,
    “God’s commands we can’t obey!”
Yet they heard, and yet they knew,
    Yet among the wheat they grew!

There are two ways of setting aside the Law of God:

  1. Declare that it is not applicable to Christians. Primarily, this excuse is to get around the Sabbath commandment, as most professed Christians will admit that the other nine commandments should not be set aside. So to get rid of the claims of the fourth commandment, which would compel them to give up their Sunday tradition, they set aside the whole Law.
  2. A more subtle way of setting aside the Law is to teach that we cannot keep it perfectly. On face value, this seems quite reasonable: after all, we are weak mortals, with many frailties; surely a good God would not expect a poor weakling to lift 1000 pounds?! But this apparently simple solution brings in two other huge problems:

    First, it makes God into a tyrant because He made a Law that is too difficult for us to keep, and then asked us to keep it! This is a virtual denial of the power of the gospel, which “saves to the uttermost” (Hebrews 7:25) and is “able to keep us from falling.” (Jude 1:24)

    Second, it opens the door for excuses to sin. If we can’t keep the law perfectly, then which commands are too hard for us to keep? Where can we expect to fail? And where will we draw the line of what is acceptable behavior for a Christian and what is not? Having set aside the whole Law as a standard, we are left to invent our own human standard. This is legalism and Phariseeism. It is human righteousness, and not the righteousness of Christ.

This song conveys the solemn thought that among those who claim to be waiting for their Lord’s return are wheat and tares. It is hard to distinguish between them by mere outward appearances. The difference is in the heart, and will be brought out by the presentation of heart-searching truths, by test and trial, and that failing, at the Lord’s return. For in the presence of Him whose piercing eyes read the inmost hidden thoughts, no pretended righteousness will be able to endure. This is why the book of Revelation clearly states:

Revelation 6
15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.

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