This weekend, as I was riding back to the dorms with my friend Joe, we listened to In Christ Alone by Keith and Kristyn Getty. Since we both knew the words, we sang, Joe as a tenor and my failing bass, I felt my heart and mind working together to affirm the beautiful truth that is found in those words.
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….
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,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.
As I listened to Kristyn Getty’s beautiful voice sing that last stanza, I began to think about the words and relate my thoughts to my friend. I knew before that this was a very reformed hymn but I was refreshed to have my faith sung in my ears and to remember that this comes from Scripture. Within the last stanza there is a definite flavor of Calvinist teaching that may escape some singer’s lips without their realization; I can only hope they would sing the song in faith. This entire stanza is synonymous with the truth found in Romans 8. Stuart Townend and Keith Getty, the writers of this hymn, conclude the hymn this way to pound in the assurance of faith and hope we have in Christ alone. My favorite part of the hymn is the last four lines. This is from Romans 8: 38-39, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This is a foundational statement for the “Calvinist” tenet Perseverance of the Saints. It is the biblical idea that those who are saved will remain in God’s hands until they are glorified and brought home to heaven. This means that they cannot and will not permanently fall away. A man may slip and stumble but if he is restored to salvation then you may rest assured that he was truly a Christian and that time of stumbling is one of God’s means to bring that child back into the fold. Think of David, when he sinned against Bathsheba; he sinned wickedly, seemingly to fall, but he repented and was forgiven. This tenet of faith gives us great hope and assurance that we will never fall away. This is not only affirmed in Romans 8 but also in Philippians 1:6, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” This is even espoused by Christ in John 6: 37-39, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.” My salvation, from beginning to end, rests in the power of Christ. He chose me in love from before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-5) and will complete it when I go to be with him (John 6:39). I find great joy in this and even told my friends this as we arrived at the dorms. Walking in this truth makes me want to jump up and down for joy because this is one of the many evidences of Christ’s love for the elect. So whether I die of old age or by the sword or whether the devil tempts me, I will never fall away because of the love that he has for me. Blessed be the name of Our Father and of the Lord Jesus Christ, the author and perfector of our faith.
An Afterthought: As I walked back to my room, I couldn’t help but wonder of what the music will be like in heaven. Oft when I listen to classical music symphonies, I get into the movement of the music and how dramatic and grand it truly is. Imagine then the music in heaven and all those whom God has gifted with musical instruments; I suppose there will be those in heaven. Imagine the sound of the voices of all those saved and gathered before the thrones! John tells us that it is a number no one can count! But on top of all that, which magnificent as it is, it will never compare to the sound of the voice of our Redeemer and God! His voice is like thunder and the roar of many waters; imagine the sound of Niagara Falls and something a billion times louder! The Psalmist tells us that when he speaks the earth melts! But O imagine the sound of God singing over us! Oh it will be so beautiful and so glorious! Praise be to the Lord Almighty!