Sunday, June 26, 2016: New Song Sunday – “Rock Of Ages”

“. . . and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by.” (Exodus 33:22)

Once again we’ll be learning a new song together this Sunday at LifePoint’s gathering. The song is The Modern Post’s rendition of Augustus Toplady’s classic hymn Rock Of Ages. Directly below you’ll find a video performance of the song. Also below are lyrics, an explanation of why we’ve chosen this song for corporate worship, and a link for download from iTunes.

I pray you will use these resources to make the most of the Lord’s Day. Enjoy!

Song Lyrics

Rock of ages cleft for me
Let me hide myself in Thee
Let the water and the blood
From Thy wounded side which flowed
Be of sin the double cure
Save from wrath and make me pure

Not the labors of my hands
Can fulfill the law’s commands
Should my passion never fade
And my efforts all be weighed
All for sin could not atone
You must save and You alone

Rock of ages
No one takes Your life
Yet You died that I might live
Costly grace You freely give
Rock of ages
You have paid the price
You were cleft to cover me
Let me hide myself in Thee

Nothing in my hand I bring
Simply to the cross I cling
Naked, come to Thee for dress
Helpless, look to Thee for grace
Wretched, to the fount I fly
Wash me, Savior, or I die

While I draw my final breath
I’ll rest upon Your grace
And when I close my eyes in death
I’ll wake to see Your face

Lyrics by Augustus Toplady & Dustin Kensrue
© 2013 Dead Bird Theology, It’s All About Jesus Music & We Are Younger We Are Faster Music (Music Services, Inc.)

Why This Song?

As I alluded to in a recent post, there’s a significant deficit in the lyrical content of the majority of modern worship music. Important biblical themes are largely absent from the church’s song catalogue, which is part of the reason why I’m thrilled to introduce Rock Of Ages to LifePoint.

I believe this song will help us to sing the truth of God’s Word more robustly, as it presents us with some of the more rarely-sung aspects of the Gospel in their full, biblical force. In fact, three specific lyrical themes in this song come to mind. These themes will help us to consider how the Gospel applies to life. Let’s explore each of them.

(1) We cannot come to God on our own.

The song begins with these words,

Rock of ages cleft for me
Let me hide myself in Thee 

This is a direct reference to Exodus 33:22 (quoted above) where Moses, after asking God to reveal His glory, is hidden in the cleft of a rock as God’s glory passes by him.

That might seem strange. Why did Moses have to be hidden in the rock? The answer is found in v. 20 where God says, “Man shall not see me and live.” In other words, sinful human beings cannot look upon a holy God without being consumed by His righteous wrath. We are too impure and too offensive to come into His presence on our own.

We, like Moses, need a Rock of refuge. And, in being broken (or “cleft”) for us on the cross, Jesus has become that Rock for us. His finished work is a sinner’s “double cure,” delivering us from God’s wrath and purifying us to stand confidently in His holy presence. Christ’s sacrifice is the entire basis of our worship.

(2) Works-based self-salvation is out of the question.

One of the central doctrines of Christianity is that all who trust in Christ are justified by grace through faith alone, able to come to God on the basis of Christ’s righteous merit (which is what I was getting at in the first point). And yet the patterns of our lives reveal that we too often fail to grasp this profound doctrine at a heart-level. We much prefer our merits to Christ’s, which is why we so badly need to sing,

Not the labors of my hands
Can fulfill the law’s commands
Should my passion never fade
And my efforts all be weighed
All for sin could not atone
You must save and You alone

And,

Nothing in my hands I bring
Simply to the cross I cling
Naked, come to Thee for dress
Helpless, look to Thee for grace
Wretched, to the fount I fly
Wash me, Savior, or I die

These lyrics impress upon our hearts the reality that our best attempts to prove ourselves before God and men will always be woefully insufficient. But that often doesn’t stop us from trying.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we’re guilty of believing this false gospel of self-salvation in a thousand different ways. But being uber healthy by eating all organic and going to CrossFit five times a day won’t save us. Making boatloads of cash won’t buy God’s approval. Living piously will get us no closer to God. Our sense of moral rectitude won’t do it either. No, our confidence must be in Christ. Our justification before God is found in Him alone (Is. 45:25; Lk. 18:14).

(3) Death is unavoidable.

We are going to die. Too often our hectic pace of life distracts us from being confronted by that uncomfortable reality, which is why we need lyrics like these to make us pause and remember the fleeting nature of human existence,

While I draw my final breath
I’ll rest upon Your grace
And when I close my eyes in death
I’ll wake to see Your face

The Bible doesn’t shy away from death, nor should our sung-worship. We would do well to learn how to sing with the psalmist, “O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!” (Ps. 39:4).

Only people who hold firmly to Christ as their Rock can be that honest about death, for they, like Paul, have realized that to depart and be with Christ is far better than anything this world can afford them (Phil. 1:23).

All that being said, I hope you can see why this song is worthwhile for LifePoint. As we sing the biblical themes it sets forth, I pray that our hearts will be so consumed with Christ that we seek to live every moment in light of His precious Gospel. That kind of Gospel-saturated living isn’t always easy or comfortable. It will require us to consider some things we’re prone to forget or ignore—like our own sinfulness and the certainty of death. But if we’re willing to live that way, Christ will reveal again and again that He alone is the Rock of ages.

Songs for Sunday, June 26, 2016:

All Creatures Of Our God And King
As performed by Norton Hall Band

Rock Of Ages
As performed by Northwest Collective

Speak O Lord
As performed by Keith & Kristyn Getty

Jesus Is Better
As performed by Austin Stone Worship

O Praise The Name (Anástasis)
As performed by Hillsong Worship

About Tyler Greene (156 Articles)
Tyler Greene is the Associate Pastor of Worship Ministries for LifePoint Church in Ozark, MO.

2 Comments on Sunday, June 26, 2016: New Song Sunday – “Rock Of Ages”

  1. Lindy Massey // June 23, 2016 at 6:54 pm // Reply

    I totally appreciate your words here. What a wake up call to my self awareness (selfish awareness) if that make sense. Thanks for you spirit filled words.

    Like

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