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Rocked by the Gospel
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.
This is one of my favorite hymns, and the theology in it is profound—important for us to remember in these tumultuous days!
The Good News (Gospel) of Jesus Christ IS Jesus Christ! He is our Rock, and hidden in Him, as Moses was in the cleft, allows the Glory of God to pass before us and radically change us.
Two other gems from this first verse jump out at me, especially considering the bigness of the Gospel, which we have been discussing of late.
Augustus Toplady, who wrote this Hymn and was a contemporary of John Wesley, recognized the power of the Water and Blood flowing from Jesus’ side. This wound, inflicted by a Roman Soldier to determine if the Lord was actually dead, is known as the “Bridal Wound.” It reminds us of price He paid for His Bride, the Church. It reminds us of the power of being baptized into Him. It reminds us of the Power of the Blood… It reminds us that the Good News of Jesus is both from (a separation from what we were and where we were headed) and for (a life that is transformed from Glory to Glory as the Spirit shows us Jesus)!
It is the final sentence in the first verse that really grabs my heart. Be of sin the double cure, saved from wrath and make me pure.
Toplady understood the magnificence and broadness of the Gospel – that in Jesus, we are not only saved from the Wrath of God which will be poured out upon all who reject the Gospel—but also for immersions in the Water and Blood that transform us NOW toward holy purity.
The Gospel is a package deal. The Church cheapens it when we focus only on one aspect or the other, or demand transformation prior to Salvation.
- We cheapen it with a “cheap grace” that denies the Glory-to-Glory work of the Spirit by focusing solely on “going to heaven.” Walking in God’s blessing and acceptance is critical—but so is walking in His anger-busting, fear-removing, addiction-crushing, soul and body healing transforming grace…!
- The Church cheapens it when all we focus on is goosebumps and signs, minimalizing the very real existence of hell and the deserved wrath that is coming. Going to heaven is sweet; but the rebellion of your life and mine demands Divine retribution—thankfully, a debt fully paid by Jesus!
- We cheapen it with legalistic burdens when we demand change before God releases His amazing Grace… People cannot be transformed and healed by the law—and looking down on and rejecting people in their brokenness is profoundly legalistic.
- Saddest of all, the “progressive” (liberal) church has evidently concluded that we need neither a rescue from punishment nor the power to make us pure, but rather just a license to sin while claiming God’s love covers everything anyhow. His love DOES cover—but only if we surrender to His true Love poured out on us like water and blood, not our “good works” and a bent to call wrong “right,” and right, “wrong…”
Offer people the Full Gospel, and they receive in Jesus our Rock the DOUBLE CURE!!!