In Christ alone, my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song.
Those words have been engrained in my mind ever since I was six years old. At the time, my family went to a small family-integrated church. A few years later, we joined an equally small traditional baptist church, and a few years after that, we found ourselves at my current church, a southern baptist church five times as big as the previous two.
One thing each church had in common is that all three of them chose often to sing this contemporary hymn. In Christ Alone, written by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty, has become one of the most well known of all Christian songs. Most likely, it earned this classic status due to its theologically rich teachings which lie right at the core of the meaning of Christianity.
We’ve heard the song. We know the message. Countless Christians, young and old, sing its anthem.
But do we live it?
Indeed, our salvation is only through Christ. But this theme of “In Christ” applies to more than just our salvation. We depend on Christ for so much more!
In Christ, we have hope
Maybe you’re awaiting a new job opportunity, preparing for your wedding day, or just looking forward to the weekend. And there’s nothing wrong with looking forward to God-given blessings! But the song doesn’t say, “In weekends alone, my hope is found”, or “In a wedding alone, my hope is found”, or “In a new job opportunity, my hope is found”. Nor does it say, “In Christ, my hope is found, but it’s also found in X, Y, and Z.” Our hope must be only in Christ.
Is it okay to “hope” for good things? Or to look forward to special occasions? Of course! But if you find that your contentment and satisfaction is resting on it, you need to seriously ask yourself whether you are placing your hope in Christ alone.
In Christ, we have peace
For the past couple of weeks in the United States, we’ve experienced tragedy as hurricanes Harvey and Irma swept across our coasts, and wildfires up north have burned thousands of acres. Of course, our natural response is to freak out, to fear, and to worry. What calms our fears? A change in the weather predictions? Or the truth that God is sovereignly working through even tragic events for the good of his children and for his glory, and that nothing is out of his control?
Remember the second part of the first stanza?
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.
Are we looking to Christ for our peace?
In Christ, we have confidence
Finally, see how we declare our identity and security in Christ after singing of his work on the cross and his victorious triumph from the grave:
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 power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand. Till He returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.
Fellow Christians, we must be satisfied in Christ and Christ alone. Our hope, peace, and confidence are found not in what we can do for God, but in what he has already done for us. When you’re tempted to place your confidence in your own works, turn your eyes to the work of Christ on the cross. See Jesus, bleeding and dying, suffering unimaginable pain and the heaviest weight of sin for your sake. If this is what it took to save you from your sinful self, you have no reason to place confidence in that very same self that needed saving. Our confidence doesn’t belong in ourselves or any other human being or facet of this fallen world.
It’s tempting to “move on” from the work of Christ, to think that now we can do this on our own, now we can do what’s right, now we can have the power ourselves to live this life. But we forget that the only way to have power over sin and confidence before a holy God is through him.
The Christian life is one of daily dependence on God to meet our needs and work in us and through us for his glory. We depend on God for diligence when hours of studying are needed to pass an exam. We depend on God for wisdom when it’s time to choose a job or commit to a spouse. We depend on God for patience when precious little babies turn into crazy kids who drive us to the verge of insanity, and for energy to clean up the million and one messes they make.
No matter what age or stage of life we’re in, we must constantly depend on God, praying for his power through the Holy Spirit. He is the source of all that is good in us, the sovereign Lord over every aspect of our lives. If we want him to work in and through us and shape us into Christ-likeness, we must be ever tapping into the source.
Our justification was an instantaneous act of God. But the impact of that single act should extend to every last second and every last corner of our lives. We are saved through Christ, and furthermore, we live through Christ.
Our worth is found in Christ, our joy is found in Christ, our peace is found in Christ, and our hope is found in Christ, not in what we have or what we can do. And only when we have a right understanding of our constant need for Christ can we truly live as we ought.
We must truly depend on Christ Alone.