All I Have is Christ
w/m - Jordan Kauflin
I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave
I had no hope that You would own
A rebel to Your will
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still
But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cost
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross
And I beheld God’s love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace
Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life
Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me
Oh Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You
I am so excited, not only to be “exegeting” this song, but to be introducing it to our congregation soon. The Itzels recorded this song back in 2015 and without a doubt, THIS IS MY FAVORITE WORSHIP SONG! No song I’ve ever heard captures my lost state and God’s sovereign grace in saving me like this one.
I once was lost in darkest night, yet thought I knew the way. How apt a description of a “Romans 1” sinner. Blind, lost, dead and yet, we think we are just fine. Without the conviction of the Holy Spirit, we aren’t even aware of our sin, of the pending just wrath headed our way. Just stand on a street corner one day, and realize that most of the people you see going about their business have no clue about their condition. The sin that promised joy and life had led me to the grave. The world says, “live for today’s happiness, eat, drink, and be merry”, when in reality that broad path leads to hell and death. I had no hope that You would own a rebel to Your will. The old hymn by Isaac Watts “How Sweet and Aweful is the Place” says “While all our hearts and all our songs join to admire the feast, each of us cries with thankful tongues, ‘Lord, why was I a guest?’” Jesus bought us out of the slave market of sin with His blood when we were still in rebellion to Him, and He now owns us. We serve Him.
And if You had not loved me first, I would refuse You still. Romans 3 tells us that there are none that seek after God. A person dead in their trespasses and sins will not, can not call out to God unless God moves in their heart and changes their will that is in bondage to sin. John 6 says that “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him”. We love Him because He first loved us, not the other way around. He doesn’t wait for a dead, depraved person to show love before He shows love to us. Without God’s calling, we would continue to refuse Him in our sin.
But as I ran my hell-bound race, indifferent to the cost, You looked upon my helpless state and led me to the cross. Those people we see on the streets, going through their lives unaware of their condition…that was us. We were hurling, at a break-neck pace toward the hell we so deserved, but God poured out His love to to His enemies and drew us to the cross. And I beheld God’s love displayed You suffered in my place. When God calls us, He opens our eyes, makes the dead alive, and we see our need for Him and the atonement He provides. You bore the wrath reserved for me, now all I know is grace. Jesus stood in the way (interposed) of God’s wrath that was justly aimed at us, and bore it all for us. Now we walk in that state of grace.
Hallelujah! All I have is Christ, Hallelujah! Jesus is my life. I believe all good choruses of songs should be the heart’s response to the doctrine taught in the verses. When we see, so vividly pictured in these verses, what Jesus did for us and rescued us from, our only response can be “All I have is Christ” and “Jesus is my life”. Everything in our life should pale in comparison to serving Him. When Jesus saved us from ourselves, our sin, Hell’s flames, and God’s wrath, how important is spending all of our time on this earth focusing on football or the latest gossip on movie actors, really? Jesus should be our life!
Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone, and live so all might see the strength to follow Your commands could never come from me. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And that (the salvation, the grace AND the faith) is not yourselves; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Not only does the ability to call on the name of Christ come from outside of ourselves, but even the ability to follow God’s commands as a believer can not be achieved in our strength alone. Our prayer should be “Lord, I want to be Yours alone”. Oh Father, use my ransomed life in any way You choose, and let my song forever be “My only boast is You”. We should be praying every day that God would use us for His glory alone. Soli Deo Gloria! (To the glory of God alone).
Bill Itzel has been a worship leader and singer/songwriter for almost 30 years and is based in Westminster, MD. His family tours and leads worship, not only in their home church (Mt. Airy Bible Church), but around the country. This is a blog about congregational worship and the latest news in the The Itzel's ministry.