Wednesday, April 19, 2006

from 3/29 - The Power of the Cross (2)

Last week I introduced Keith Getty and Stuart Townend’s new hymn “The Power of the Cross” to you. I was listening to a recording of it this afternoon that had Keith Getty talking about it a little bit before the music. He said they went through some 18 stanzas before they got it boiled down to the 4 that we have. In an article about the hymn, they gave three goals they had when writing the hymn. The first I shared with you last week. They wanted the hymn to provide the church:

1) An opportunity to remember His sufferings
I remember hearing a family friend say once that Baptists are, as a whole, so afraid of Holy Week that we don’t do good Friday services because we would have to leave with the thought of Christ still on the cross on our minds and wouldn’t get to celebrate the resurrection until Sunday. Folks, I think it’s healthy to do that. When we rush through to the resurrection, we fail to contemplate what our sin put Christ through. Getty and Townend also hoped to craft:

2) A hymn teaching what Christ’s sufferings achieve on the cross “When we talk of the Father’s plan and the Son’s sacrifice, we should not think of the Father laying on the Son an ordeal He was unwilling to bear, nor of the Son extracting from the Father a salvation He was unwilling to bestow. It is true that the Father gave the Son. It is equally true that the Son gave Himself. We mustn’t speak of God punishing Jesus or of Jesus persuading God the Father. We must never make Christ the object of God’s punishment or God the object of Christ’s persuasion. For both Father and Son are subjects, not objects – taking the initiative together to save sinners.” (John R. W. Stott)

3) A hymn which explains what Christ’s sufferings on the cross mean for us every day as we live:
In their own words: “All of it. Every thought, deed, word, the very disposition of my sinful heart is forgiven completely through the cross and resurrection. Not through my own effort, not through any strength in me, not through any man-made plan but wholly through the power of the cross.”

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)

That’s enough to think about for now …


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