In Christ Alone

In Christ AloneIn Christ Alone (My Hope is Found)

Words and music by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

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 strivings 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 the cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.
For ev’ry 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, sin’s 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 pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand;
‘Til He returns or calls me home, here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand!

My friend Scott Wenger calls this song “Christianity in a box.”  I think that’s a great succinct description for this modern-day hymn.  It has a redemptive-historical progression.  It is intensely personal for the Christian, so much so that I have a difficult time choking back tears of joy and hope at the line “then, bursting forth in glorious day, up from the grave He rose again!”  It is at peace in this world yet yearns for the next.  It is in short, a thoroughly biblical, communal confession of the gospel.

Let’s take a brief look at how saturated in the language of the Bible are the themes of this song.

Stanza 1

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 strivings cease.
My comforter, my all in all, here in the love of Christ I stand.
 

Christ is again and again described as the Christian’s hope.  Indeed, there is no other name under heaven by which men may be saved (Acts 4:12).  Formerly, the Gentiles (who were separated from Christ) had no hope.  But now that Christ has come and the gospel has gone into the world, we who believe have been brought near to God by the blood of Christ (Eph 2:12-22).  Christ does not provide hope for just this world–that would be pitiful (1 Cor 15:19); rather we have hope in this world and a glorious hope beyond the grave (2 Thess 2:16; 1 Tim 1:1; Tit 2:13; 1 Pet 1:13; 3:15).  Christ is the true light (John 8:12; 9:5; Acts 26:23; 2 Cor 4:4, 6; Eph 5:14).  In Christ alone is found true strength (Acts 9:22; 2 Cor 12:10; 1 Tim 1:12; 1 Pet 4:11).  And Christ is the Christian’s song (Rom 15:8-9; Heb 2:11-12; Rev 5:9; 14:3; 15:3).  The Bible frequently calls the Lord “my strength and my song” (Exod 15:2; Ps 118:14; Isa 12:2).

Christ is the cornerstone of the Church (Luk 20:17; Acts 4:11; Eph 2:20; 1 Pet 2:6-7) who is not rejected by his people who have been redeemed from the world of sin and death.  He is our “solid ground” (Ps 40:2; Luk 6:47-49; 1 Cor 3:11), firm through the fiercest drought (Rom 8:35-37) and storm (Matt 8:24-27).

The love of Christ takes us to the greatest heights (Eph 2:4-7) and gives us the deepest peace (Eph 3:14-21; Col 1:20; 3:15; 2 Thess 3:16).  He stills our fears (Heb 13:6; Rev 1:17-18), he causes all strivings against God to cease (Isa 41:11) and redirects our strivings to kingdom purposes (Luk 13:24; Rom 15:30; 1 Cor 14:12; Heb 4:11; 12:14).

The Spirit of Christ is the great comforter (Jer 31:13; 2 Cor 1:3-7; 2 Thess 2:16-17) and is the “all in all” (1 Cor 15:28; Eph 1:23; Rev 1:8).  It is here in the love of Christ that the Bible and this song urge us to stand.

Stanza 2

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 the cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid; here in the death of Christ I live.

Believe it!  Jesus Christ is the fullness of God who came to this world as a little baby (Matt 1:16; Col 1:19; 2:9; 1 John 4:2).  He came as a love gift from the Father (John 3:16) to be our righteousness (Rom 5:17; 1 Cor 1:30; Phil 3:9), yet he was rejected by the very ones he came to save (Isa 53:3; Luke 13:34; John 1:11).  This rejection culminated in his execution on a cross (Matt 27:35-50).  But it was not readily apparent that his death was special until Jesus and his apostles gave us its interpretation and signficance: the wrath of God was satisfied/propitiated (John 3:36; Rom 3:22b-26; Heb 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 4:10).  The Christian can be confident that the wrath of God will not land on him because Jesus has once for all borne the full penalty for all the sins of his people (John 1:29; Heb 9:24-28).  It is something of an oxymoron to those who do not understand the paradox of the Christian faith.  Our weakness is our strength.  We glory in our weakness.  We live in the death of Christ (Rom 6:8; 2 Cor 4:11; Gal 2:20; Phil 1:21).  This is why we are baptized, it is (among other things) a following in Christ’s footsteps in death to this life and resurrection to the new life in Christ.  Amen!

Stanza 3

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, sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine, bought with the precious blood of Christ.

Back to the story…we see today what the world did not see for 3 days after Christ was crucified, dead, and buried.  According to the Apostles’ Creed, “he descended to the dead.”  This must have appeared to those who believed in and loved Jesus as the most crushing defeat imaginable.  Their hopes for life and salvation were solely wrapped up in his life.  And then he was dead (Luke 23:53).  This defeat seemed eternal and cosmic.  Darkness and the prince of darkness had won a (the?) great victory (Mark 15:33; Luke 22:53; John 8:12).  Was all hope lost?  The answer came on the third day, the first of the new week (and the new age) when he burst forth from the grave in glorious day and rose again from the grave (Matt 28:1-10; Rom 6:9; 1 Cor 15).  Now he stands in victory over the vanquished foes of sin and death (Rom 5:12-21; 1 Cor 15:54-57).  For the Christian, the one who is united to Christ and thus shares in all his benefits, the curse of sin has lost its grip (Rom 8).  This blessed truth is applied corporately to the Church as Christ’s beloved bride and people, but it is also intensely personal.  The Bible promises that I belong to Christ (Rom 1:6; 7:4; 1 Cor 15:23; Gal 5:24), and Christ belongs to me (Acts 3:6; 8:9; Rev 19:7-9; 21:2-5).  I am not my own, for I have been bought with a price, namely the precious blood of Jesus (1 Cor 6:19-20; 7:23; 1 Pet 1:17-21).

Stanza 4

No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand;
‘Til He returns or calls me home, here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand!

Because of the great work of redemption and salvation that Christ accomplished once for all in space and time almost 2000 years ago, the Christian now lives a life in the wake of Christ’s finished work.  The guilt of sin is gone for the sinner who trusts in Christ (Rom 4:7-8; 1 Cor 1:4-9; Col 2:13-14; 1 John 2:12).  The fear that once accompanied death can never again be a fear of the second death (1 Cor 15:54-58; Heb 2:14-16; Rev 20:6).  No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me.  Our hope is not in some power of the miraculous or health or wealth or power or influence.  No, the Christian experiences the power of Christ in the confidence lived in victory over sin and death.  And we can be confident that Christ and his powerful work in us will not cease or prove to be in vain (Phil 1:6) because Jesus commands our destiny from beginning to end (Rom 8:29-30; Eph 1:3-14; 1 Thess 5:9-11).  Nothing can ever pluck me from the hand of God (Rom 8:31-39) until he returns or calls me home (Acts 1:10-11; 1 Thess 4:13-18).  Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand by staking my ground and my hope on these glorious promises of my God.  Amen!

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2 Responses to In Christ Alone

  1. Micky says:

    SAVED BY GRACE
    About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actuallythought I was in hell. I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staff was very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th September 2004, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages . God LOVES me so much. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17].
    PEACE BE WITH YOU
    MICKY

  2. Deborah says:

    There was a time in my life i drifted from the Lord and went my way but Jesus never gave up on me. While i was still pleasing the Devil, Jesus came to me and said in that still small voice,”Trust me”. I began to wonder why as holy as he is, he came to that dirty place in other to show me how much he loves me,he practically demonstrated his love for me. Although my journey back to Christ was gradual, i finally put my trust in him as he demanded, and now “No guilt in life, no fear in death,this is the pow’r of Christ in me; ……. To my final breath, Jesus commands my destiny. No pow’r of hell,no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from his hand;’Til he returns or call me home, here in the pow’r of Christ i stand.

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