18 Dec

This, the Power

Not too long ago I was driving back to Crofton from Bowling Green. Christy and Zachariah were snoozing, giving me a few and far between free reign over the radio. I don’t usually listen to music as I drive because it has a tendency to make me drowsy, but I thought I would throw in a CD that I had recently bought: Keith and Kristyn Getty’s “In Christ Alone.”

I’ve long been a fan of the music Keith has produced, but I had never bought a CD. He and his usual co-writer Stuart Townend are known for their hymnic lyric and theological depth. They’re the cream of the crop today! One song on this disc blew me away, and I can’t get it out of my spirit. Maybe it’s familiar to you. It was written in 2005, but I’ve never really heard it. It’s called “The Power of the Cross.” Check it out at Getty Music.

In the first three measures, Keith opens with the melody to “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” and then sets the stage for his wife Kristyn to sing these lyrics:

Oh, to see the dawn
Of the darkest day:
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men,
Torn and beaten, then
Nailed to a cross of wood.
__________
CHORUS
This, the pow’r of the cross:
Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath–
We stand forgiven at the cross.
__________
Oh, to see the pain
Written on Your face,
Bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Ev’ry bitter thought,
Ev’ry evil deed
Crowning Your bloodstained brow.
__________
Now the daylight flees;
Now the ground beneath
Quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two,
Dead are raised to life;
“Finished!” the vict’ry cry.
__________
Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death;
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.
__________
FINAL CHORUS
This, the pow’r of the cross:
Son of God–slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross

In a sentence, this song highlights how ugly sin is and how beautiful Christ is. You know, I cannot fathom the true weight of my sin. I can conceptually understand it. It’s a terrible offense to God that evokes wrath and eternally separates me from Him. But to wrap my mind around how awful it actually is, I’m at a loss. As appalling as I understand it to be, I know that it’s much worse.

And the Bible says that Jesus “became” this sin for me and all that He’s redeeming so that we might know the Father and live. As Paul writes, “[God] made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21). Jesus took my sin, my ugliness and gave me His righteousness, His beauty. That’s the power of the cross. It’s a stain removal instrument in the Father’s hand. In an instant, “death is crushed to death” and “life is mine to live” because of the work of Christ on the cross.

May you trust in Christ and glory in the cross!