Friday, March 25, 2011

In My Place

My ears perk up when I hear a contemporary song that seeks to express more substantive biblical truths like propitiation (Christ's death on the cross which turns away God's wrath over sin) and the vicarious atonement (Christ's sacrifice was substitutionary in nature...He took our place on the cross).  This song by Matt Boswell and Michael Bleeker is based on 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 and Romans 5:8-9.

In my place, He stood condemned
He who knew no sin became sin for us
That we might become, His righteousness

Bearing all my sin and shame
The punishment and blame  He conquered the grave
That we might become, the heirs of grace

In my place, Jesus died
The spotless Lamb laid down His life
The wrath of God was satisfied
In my place, Jesus died  

Nail pierced hands, Bleeding side, His body bruised, My God crucified
A crown of thorns, Dying cries, His flesh was torn, My God crucified

Hallelujah, What a Savior!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spirit of God, You Know Our Every Need

This text was recently written for a friend at the passing of his father. It is set to the tune ELLERS.  It contains thoughts from Romans 8 and the book of Revelation.

1.  Spirit of God, You know our ev'ry need;
     You hear our cries and for us intercede;
     Your sighs and groans, too deep for any word,
     Before the throne of grace are clearly heard.

2.  As for God's saints, all things work as they should;
     Both fair and foul are molded for their good:
     Foreknown, predestined, called and justified;
     Washed clean in Christ, in Christ are glorified.

3.  What shall we say to all that God has done,
     Who, in His love, conforms us to His Son?
     Shall tribulation, nakedness or sword
     Remove us from the love of Christ our Lord?

4.  No!  For we conquer in and through His grace;
     Not even death can loosen His embrace!
     He, our Good Shepherd; we without alarm
     Pass through death's valley cradled in His arm.

5.  In life and death, God's own are dressed in white;
     Christ's righteous robe clads children of the light
     Through death to life, with those from ev'ry land
     Who sing His praise with vict'ry palm in hand:

6.  "Worthy is Christ, the Lamb who once was slain!
     Worthy is Christ, forevermore to reign!
     Blessing and honor, might and glory be--
     Amen!"  They sing with joy eternally.

7.  They serve the Lamb who sits upon the throne;
     Hunger and thirst by them no more are known;
     Nothing will cause them pain or want or fear,
     As from their eyes God wipes away each tear.

8.  Spirit of God, support us now we pray,
     Keep us by grace through faith until that day
     This earthly temple too is put to bed,
     To wait the resurrection of the dead.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Now, Even Now, Declare a Fast

This Ash Wednesday text was written in 2006 to the glory of God for Henry V. Gerike who had requested a text specifically for Ash Wednesday.  It is written to the somber tune LLEF.  The text speaks of the ongoing significance of Holy Baptism in the life of the believer who lives in daily contrition and repentance: daily dying to sin and daily rising again to new life in Jesus Christ.

1.  Now, even now, declare a fast;
     Tune, humbly turn--renounce your sin;
     Tear not your robe for guilt amassed
     But truly rend your heart within!

2.  What shall I bring for daily vice
     Proffered before my Maker's eyes?
     A contrite heart, the sacrifice
     That You, O God, will not despise.

3.  Ash, only ash I am, O Lord;
     Dust, and to dust I shall return.
     Death is my end, my just reward,
     Solely the wage for sin I earn.

4.  What shall I do?  Where ought I go
     To gain the grace I dearly want?
     Only to Christ, who will bestow
     Life from His pure baptismal font.

5.  Drown, sinner, drown beneath its wave;
     Rise, saint, arise--in Christ made new:
     Live out the life your Savior gave,
     By words you say and works you do.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Perpetua, the Noble

On this date in the year 203, two North African women, Perpetua and Felicity, were martyred at Carthage along with three Christian men, Saturninus, Secundulus, and Revocatus.  All five were thrown to the beasts in the arena for the sport of the pagan crowd.  The three men faced a bear, a leopard and a wild boar; the two women faced a rabid bull.  After being mauled by the animals, the five were put to death with the sword by the Roman soldiers.  "They were killed with the sword...of whom the world was not worthy."  (Heb. 11:37-38)

Perpetua, the noble;
Felicity, her slave:
They would not turn from Jesus
And so their lives they gave!
May we, who trust in Jesus,
By word and deed proclaim
A faith that will not ever
Renounce His saving Name.