Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Comments on a Hymn

Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me

The hymn writer, in various ways, declares again and again that he is unable to do what is necessary to be right with God. There is the guilt and power of sin. There is his resulting foulness before God. Cleansing is required. Atonement is required. But he is powerless to make any of that happen. And Judgment Day is coming. So, he appeals to Jesus to save him. That's the hymn.

The power of the hymn comes home as a common, modern assumption is exposed and rejected. The attitude of too many Christians today is that since all has been forgiven, appeal to Jesus is now unnecessary. The hymn writer disagrees. It's his opinion that since we Christians continue to sin we need to continue to appeal to Jesus to save us. Those who have adopted the modern assumption need not sing this hymn. It can make no sense to them. But those who understand the truth that the hymn writer understood will sing it with great feeling.

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure;
Save from wrath and make me pure.

Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,
When I soar to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.

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