In Christ Alone
w/m Keith Getty, 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 that 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.
This is one of our favorite songs to sing at MABC, one that really put the songwriting team of Keith Getty and Stuart Townend on the map, launched the worldwide phenomenon of The Gettys, and started the modern hymn movement. Needless to say, if you are writing a new hymn…use this one as the measuring stick! The two things I love most about this song are, 1. there is so much doctrine in just 4 verses. The last writer I know of to put this much doctrine into songs was Isaac Watts in the 17th & 18th centuries. And 2. while the song is a song from the writers perspective…it is all about the person and work of Christ. Since there is so much here, let’s get started…
In Christ alone my hope is found. Hope, as the Christian defines it, is not a guess, but a certainty. When we say our hope is in Christ, we say, we have a solid foundation that our faith is built upon, a God who is faithful to His plan and promises. He is my light, my strength, my song. All we have, all our ability to do anything, comes from God and He is the one we sing about. We don’t sing our praises, but His. This cornerstone, this solid ground, Firm through the fiercest drought and storm. Anyone who has trusted in Christ through the trials of life, knows that all other “foundations” are sinking sand. Through Christ alone, we can count it joy in the trials, knowing that nothing can happen to us that God does not allow.
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. Wonderful poetic wordplay here of heights and depths, without going off into the mystic deep end as some poets do, the writers teach us…yes teach us (which I love songs to do) that our peace and comfort through the storms, our ability to stand, regardless of what we face, comes…well…in Christ alone.
In Christ alone, Who took on flesh, Fullness of God in helpless babe! Here the doctrine of Christ being fully God and fully man are so wonderfully described, picturing Christ as the helpless baby, yet still 100% God. This gift of love and righteousness, Scorned by the ones He came to save. Here we see the holiness of Christ referenced…in contrast with our unholiness and even mocking rebellion against the one who loved us regardless of our state. 'Til on that cross as Jesus died,The wrath of God was satisfied. Some modern worship bands and denominations have removed this verse because it speaks of God’s wrath…it’s not a nice, seeker-sensitive thing to talk about. I am glad they spelled it out so clearly because the hyper-grace movement has forgotten that being saved loses its meaning if you never tell what you have been saved from. We are not saved from the Devil. Christ saved us from God and His wrath (Matthew 10:28) For ev'ry sin on Him was laid, Here in the death of Christ I live. Every sin, of every person who will put their faith in Christ was paid for, past, present, and future, on the cross.
There in the ground His body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain. Just wonderful writing here contrasting the light of the world with the darkness. Any presentation of the gospel in a song, must include the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ: 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. Before we are saved, we are under not only the penalty but the power of sin. It has dominion over us. Through the blood of Christ, sin is defeated and has no control over us, the only thing we have left to fight is the flesh that our new nature is encased in. For I am His and He is mine, Bought with the precious blood of Christ. Before we were saved, we were children of the devil, and we were slaves to sin. Now, being bought out of that slave market by the blood of Christ, our new Master is Jesus.
No guilt in life, no fear in death, This is the pow'r of Christ in me. Our shame and guilt are gone, not because of our own work, but the work of Christ. We have an eternal hope that our sins, past, present and future are gone, never to be remembered again. From life's first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny. I really like this line, as it speaks to more than just Jesus’ lordship over our lives as believers. Yes, He is our Lord now that we are saved, but even outside the realm of our saved life, God is sovereign and every breath is orchestrated by God…even the ones we take before we are saved. Nothing happens in this world that God has not decreed to happen, or allowed to happen. Our salvation is sure for those whom He has foreknown (fore-loved), He has predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ…it will happen! And every one of those people, He calls, and all He calls, He justifies, and everyone He justifies, He glorifies! Therefore 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
Bill Itzel has been a worship leader and singer/songwriter for 26 years based in Westminster, MD. This is a blog about congregational worship and the latest news in the The Itzel's ministry.