Monday, February 24, 2014

In Christ Alone

Hi there.  

I have been truly blessed by a song lately.  So much so that I wanted to draw attention to it in hopes you would be equally blessed.  This song has been classified as a contemporary hymn and has become one of the most popular songs to be included in worship sets in the last 10 years.  

The lyrics encapsulate the entire gospel from life, to death, to resurrection.  This is very important because, as we worship we need to be contemplating what Jesus did for us through His perfect life of obedience and His atoning death on the cross.  

I included two links here so that you can listen to it if you like.  The first is a recording by the original artists who wrote and performed the song Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.  They wrote it and Kristyn Getty, Keith's wife, is singing it in the video.  This original version has a very Celtic feel which some will enjoy.   It has been remade several times.  I particularly like a version recently arranged by Kristian Stanfill, worship leader at Louie Giglio's church, Passion Church in Atlanta.  It has a more contemporary worship feel. He included a tag at the end which I find very effective.

Unfortunately, his version leaves out the second verse.  I am not sure why he did that, but I hope it is not for the same reason that the Presbyterian church(USA), not PCA, denomination was trying to leave it out.  The PCUSA is a more liberal branch of the Presbyterian church than the PCA for those who don't know what the distinction is.  Actually, they just wanted to change the third line of the second verse from "Til on that cross as Jesus died, The wrath of God was satisfied" to "Til on that cross as Jesus died, the love of God was magnified".  While this line is true, God's love is already emphasized in other ways in the song in all that He did for us at the cross.  But to remove the lyric "the wrath of God was satisfied" is to remove a crucial piece of understanding of what Jesus did for us at the cross thus minimizing the "magnification of God's love" as they would like to put it.  So it is actually having the opposite effect.  The PCUSA is not alone in their discomfort with these lyrics but they made the news because they wanted permission to print this song in their new hymnals with the above stated change and the writers would not allow it.

You see many people today have a problem with the idea that God poured out His wrath toward all the sins of those who would place their trust in Him, past, present and future.  And that He poured it out onto His Son Jesus while He hung on the cross.  Jesus paid the penalty and removed the guilt of all true believers and followers of Christ at the cross.   It is known as "penal substitutionary atonement" in theological terms and it  is a crucial part of the gospel story and it is biblically accurate.(Romans 3:24-26, Romans 5:9-10, 1 John 4:10)  These verses speak to the idea of propitiation which means, " to appease or satisfy".  This idea makes some people uncomfortable but I believe it is crucial to our understanding of what Christ did for us on the cross.  To fully appreciate His mercy and grace, we must understand His wrath and justice. A price had to be paid for our rebellion against a holy and just God.  This same God, in His great love, chose to send his Son, who came willingly, to pay that price and satisfy that sin debt rather than destroy all sinners in their sin.(Romans 5:8, John 3:16) All you have to do is repent and believe for this to be available to you.(Mark 1:15)  May it be so in your life in Jesus name, if it not already.

I have included the full lyrics as written by the original authors and a link to both versions of the song.  They may show up in the body of the email.  If not, hopefully you can click on the link.  If not, just cut and paste in your browser.  Give both versions a listen and meditate on the goodness of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ as you do.  I pray it is a blessing to you.

Love in Christ alone,


In Christ Alone
In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song, 
This Cornerstone, this solid ground, Firm through the fiercest drought and storm, 
What heights of love, what depths of peace, When fears are stilled, when striving's cease,
My Comforter, my All in All, Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh, Fullness of God in helpless Babe, 
This gift of love and righteousness, Scorned by the ones He came to save
Til on that cross as Jesus died, The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid, Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day, Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory, Sins curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine, Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death, This is the power of Christ in me
From  life's first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man, Could ever pluck me from His hand
Til He returns or calls me home, Here in the power of Christ I stand

TAG (by Kristian Stanfill)
I find my strength, I find my hope, I find my help, In  Christ alone
When fear assails, when darkness falls, I find my peace, In Christ alone
I give my life, I give my all, I sing this song, to Christ alone
The King of Kings, The Lord of All, all heaven sings, to Christ alone

Til He returns or calls me home, Here in the power of Christ I stand

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