[On Thursdays, we "reflect" on a hymn suggested by our readers. To add your favorites (no more than 3, please) to the list, simply leave a comment.]
What a fantastic new hymn! “In Christ Alone,” in my opinion, will stand the test of time because it is a simple melody in the usual construction of four verses. The beauty of this song is that it builds together (1) the sacrifice of Jesus and (2) our response to it.
The song begins with a verse of praise to Jesus. With that verse, we sing that our full faith is in Him, then we move to the reason why. Verse one uses many titles and descriptions of Jesus (my Comforter, my All in All, this Cornerstone, etc.), and powerfully showers Him with praise, but does so from a deeply personal level. After naming all these attributes, verse one ends with “Here in the love of Christ I stand.”
Why “stand” with Him? The rest of the song shares that message which the world needs to hear.
He was the “fullness of God in helpless babe.” He was Immanuel; God with us. But His own people, whom “he came to save” scorned Him. That led to the cross. The song doesn’t just talk about Jesus on the cross, though. It paints a glorious picture of what happened there. In my favorite line, the song states, “‘Til on that cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.” With that simple line, we are preaching the doctrine of atonement, though we might not use that word. What a glorious concept, that “every sin on Him was laid.”
The third verse celebrates the victory over the cross which gives our faith its basis. “Then bursting forth in glorious day, up from the grave He rose again.” That is the event that shook the world and gives us our hope. Because He overcame death, the cross has its power. That being true, “Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me.”
The final verse truly provides the “so what” to the song. Here are the great words that conclude a wonderful hymn:
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 every pluck me from His hand.
‘Til He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I stand.
The song is destined, in my opinion, to be widely accepted and used in a very short time, and for good reason. Very few newer songs contain quite so much theology as does this one.
Enjoy this version of the hymn. (You’ll need to turn up your speakers, as the video is recorded at a low volume.)