I really don’t know why, but “Rock of Ages” is my second favorite song. Perhaps it is the haunting melody, or maybe it is the message that there is no hope with Jesus Christ and the grace that He bestows. The Rock is a place of safety. The Rock brings shades in during the heat of the day. The Rock is a fortress, a place in which we can hide from the enemy of our souls. Plus look at the phrase, “be of sin the double cure.” It is not only for salvation, but also for sanctification.
“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.”
–Augustus M. Toplady
It is not of works, lest any man should boast, but it is through His grace. We can work our fingers to the bone to try and earn salvation–it won’t happen. We can do great works of kindness and benevolence–still no salvation. Sacrifices, rituals, jumping at the altars, and tears–all these do not work.
“Not the labors of my hands
can fulfill thy law’s commands;
could my zeal no respite know,
could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone;
thou must save, and thou alone.”
We are helpless; we are hopeless without Christ. Perhaps this is why man fights against God so much. Man likes to think he can do great wonders, and he can, but he cannot save himself. If he tries there is only frustration and despair. It must be Christ and Christ alone. When all efforts have gone and there is nothing left to do–then cling to the cross.
“Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to the 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.”
That last wilderness awaits all of us. Death is a mystery and defies imagination. We try to conjure up images; there are records of “death and near death” experiences, but it is that last wilderness in which everyone must trod. But with Jesus Christ we can enter that time and be ready to soar. In that day we shall truly see Him as He is, in all of His splendor, majesty, and glory.
“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.”