CMTDS Monday: Page CXVI, “Rock of Ages”

kings-kaleidoscopeThis week we are featuring Page CXVI (Page 116), with one of my favorite hymns, “Rock of Ages”. Page CXVI is an excellent band who do nothing but re-imagine hymns with their unique sound. The band gets their name from C.S. Lewis’ The Magician’s Nephew, where on page 116 the magical world of Narnia is created through Aslan’s singing.

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 labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
When my eyes shall close in death,
When I rise to worlds unknown,
And behold Thee on Thy throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee

Why it doesn’t suck: This hymn, originally written by Augustus Toplady in 1776, is so theologically rich that it seems unnecessary to explain why it is a favorite. Augustus’ artistic explanation of the double-imputation of Christ, both taking away the wrath of God and imparting Christ’s perfect righteousness, through the imagery of the water issuing forth from the cleft Rock in Exodus 17 is beautiful, and biblically precise. 1 Corinthians 10:4 clearly explains that the Rock, smote by the staff of Moses, represented Christ, who was smote instead by the staff of God, on the Cross. The Rock that was split by Moses provided water for thirsty people, and Christ, the Rock of Ages, was split by the Father to provide living water for dying people. In fact, a common name for God in the Old Testament was the “Rock” (Deut. 32). Augustus also plays on the imagery of God cleaving a rock on Mt. Sinai to hide Moses in to shield him from God’s fully revealed glory, which, unfettered, would have killed Moses (Ex. 33:17-23).

This different imagery of this song reminds us that: Christ is the cleft Rock that we can hide in, and in our union with Christ we see God’s awesome glory, without dying from it; Christ is the Rock that was struck by God’s rod of judgement, so that you and I would never experience that wrath; Christ is the one who provides the holiness and righteousness we need to have communion with God, we come “naked” and he provides the “dress”, we are “foul” and His holy water is what washes us; Christ provides the living water that replenishes the longings of our soul and saves us from the drought of sin. On the Cross, Christ Himself absorbed the cosmic-thirst, He cried out “I thirst!”, and He did it so that you and I never again would. He did it so that we would have a fountain of living-water, bubbling up in our souls. I hope that encourages you today.

Page CXVI’s website:

http://pagecxvi.com/

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