Rock of Ages, cleft for me
|Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Save me from its guilt and power.
|Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law's demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All could never sin erase,
Thou must save, and save by grace.
|Nothing in my hands 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 mine eyes shall close in death,
When I soar to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.
After World War II there was a desire in the United States for new things; consequently, many new tunes were written for hymns. After twenty or thirty years, however, no one is singing the new tunes; people prefer the traditional tunes. Our hymnal includes almost all the good tunes for hymns. The old tunes are more solemn. This is evident with the tunes for "Rock of Ages, cleft for me, / Let me hide myself in Thee" (Hymns, #1058) and even for "Many weary years I vainly sought a spring" (#322), which has a little faster tempo. Proper tunes for hymns should be neither light nor embellished; on the contrary, they should be solemn and weighty. Brother Nee was very much against embellishing the hymns, because this does not build up our spirit. It is good to write new hymns, but we must adhere to the principle of mainly presenting the truth. I hope that we would understand the fine distinctions here.
We have a hymn in our hymnal (Hymns, #1058) that speaks of the double cure of God's full salvation through the blood and the water that flowed from Christ's pierced side (John 19:34), which save us from both the guilt and power of sin. The blood is for redemption, and the water is for the imparting of the divine life. Guilt is the result of the condemnation of sin, and the power of sin is the entanglement and tyranny of sin. For deliverance from the power of sin, we have God's salvation in the divine life, and for deliverance from the guilt and the condemnation of sin, we have Christ's redemption through the shedding of His blood. Romans 5:10 speaks of the two aspects of God's deliverance from sin: "If we, being enemies, were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more we will be saved in His life, having been reconciled." Here the reconciliation to God through the death of His Son points to Christ's redemption, which delivers us from the guilt and condemnation of sin, and the salvation in Christ's life delivers us from the power of sin.
God saves fallen human beings by resolving the problem of sins and by dealing with our sin. The hymn "Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me" (Hymns, #1058) is a good Christian song. It is a valuable, classic Christian hymn. The key point of this hymn is found in the last lines of the first stanza: "Let the water and the blood, / From Thy riven side which flowed, / Be of sin the double cure, / Save me from its guilt and power." Guilt is due to our outward sinful deeds and shows that we have received eternal punishment; power refers to the power of the sinful nature within us. How can we resolve the problem of sin and sins? It is through the water and the blood which flowed from the Lord's riven side. The blood redeems us from the eternal punishment related to our sins, and the water saves us from the power of sin. This is the double cure mentioned in this hymn. Therefore, this hymn is well written, and the truth in it is very clear.
This shows that we must have a thorough knowledge of the truth. "Let the water and the blood, / From Thy riven side which flowed, / Be of sin the double cure, / Save me from its guilt and power." The Lord's blood washes away our outward transgressions and saves us from the guilt of eternal punishment. The water denotes the Lord's resurrection life, which enters into us and is the power to deliver us from the power of sin. In Romans 7:24 Paul said, "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of this death?" He is speaking of our inward, sinful nature. In 8:1 Paul says, "There is now then no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." The condemnation here does not refer to being condemned to go to the lake of fire but to the condemning within us. Many husbands do not want to lose their temper with their wife. They set their will and pray, but they still lose their temper. After getting angry, they condemn themselves for being wretched, and they wonder who can save them. However, there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, because the law of the Spirit of life has freed us from the law of sin and of death (v. 2). This is what is referred to in the line of the hymn "Save me from its...power." The blood redeems us outwardly, and the life saves us inwardly. Redemption delivers us from our sinful deeds, and salvation delivers us from our sinful nature.
The hymns are another tool for preaching the gospel. We can preach the gospel to others by singing hymns, such as Hymns, #1058. I translated this hymn into Chinese, and Brother Nee polished it and made some improvements, including my translation of the line "Be of sin the double cure." The first cure for sin deals with the record of our sins before God, for which we should receive eternal punishment. The second cure for sin deals with the law of sin within us, which brings us under the ruling of the power of sin. This hymn also speaks of "the water and the blood" that flowed from the Lord's side. The blood deals with the record of our sins before God, and the water denotes the law of the Spirit of life. This law enables us to overcome the law of sin and of death (Rom. 8:2). I mention this because I hope that some young people may be raised up to learn to write hymns.
Hymns, #1058, verse 1 says, "Rock of Ages, cleft for me, / Let me hide myself in Thee; / Let the water and the blood, / From Thy riven side which flowed, / Be of sin the double cure, / Save me from its guilt and power." We have a double problem. On the one hand, we have a record of sins before God. On the other hand, we have the nature of sin within us. Only the blood and water can be the double cure for our sin. On the one hand, the redemptive blood redeems us that we may escape the eternal punishment for sins. On the other hand, the water of life saves us that we may be delivered from the power of sin. Sin not only causes man to suffer eternal punishment, but it also has the power, which is the law of sin, to dominate man from within. In our natural life we have no way to overcome the law of sin and of death, but the law of the Spirit of life can free us in Christ from the law of sin and of death. Only the precious blood can solve the problems concerning our condemned position and our record of sins. Only the Spirit of life can solve our problem concerning the law of sin and of death. God's full salvation consists not only of the redemption through the precious blood but also of the salvation by the Spirit of life.
The writer of this hymn refers to the "double cure." His redemption gives us a double cure. First He washes away our sins, and second He regenerates us. His blood saves us from the guilt of sin and His life saves us from the power of sin. In His redemption Christ can give us a double cure—He washes away our filthiness and He keeps away our death. This double cure is His redemptive work, yet for us to enjoy His redemptive work, we must be willing to be imprisoned in His death. While we are in His death, He has the position to secrete Himself around our being. Then we will surely receive the double cure and we will be produced as pearls for the entry into God's building.
This very godly person, when he counted his sins, considered that every second he committed at least one sin. That is to say that in ten years, there were more than three hundred million sins. Therefore, he wrote that glorious hymn which caused millions of people, who were tired and oppressed by sin, to find rest—"Rock of Ages, cleft for me, / Let me hide myself in Thee"! He wrote:
Oh, is there one as pitiable as I in this world! Besides weakness and sin I have nothing. In my flesh there is no good thing, and how surprising that I could be tempted to view myself so high. The best work I have done in my life only qualifies me to be condemned.
But when he was dying of tuberculosis in London, he leaned his sinful head on the breast of the Savior and said, "I am the happiest man in this world."
John 19:34 - and immediately there came out blood and water!
Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria
Thank you Jesus. You remain the rock of ages my hiding place.
Rock of ages changed my life, there is a second chance for me to change after I fall
Kuje, Abuja, Nigeria
This hymn really blessed my soul today. May the Rock of Ages be my protection all through this year and more years to come in Jesus name.
You remain the Rock. No one else like You. Thanks for the privilege allowing us lean on You.
Abuja, FCT, Nigeria
Am blessed with this hymns for when am no more, my spirit will be with thee my Creator
Rock of ages, our all in all. thank you for your blood that was shed as double cure for SPIRITUAL and physical blessings from all pollutions of flesh and blood.
Edo State, Edo, Nigeria
Great God, thank you for you are full with powers and wonders and your words are yes and Amen! The song is such a power and glorious song of my time.
Lord Jesus wash me with Your precious Blood. Help me to draw close to You daily.
Nakuru, Rift Valley, Kenya
only you God my savior can truly save❤️