Isaac Watts, the lyricist of such hymns as “Joy to the World” writes in this hymn of Christ, our sacrifice. The hymn contains all the necessary elements…confession of sin, assurance of pardon, indeed the Gospel itself.
Not all the blood of beasts
On Jewish altars slain
Could give the guilty conscience peace
Or wash away the stain
But Christ, the heavenly Lamb
Takes all our sins away
A sacrifice of nobler
And richer blood, than they
My faith would lay her hand
On that dear head of Thine
While like a penitent I stand
And there confess my sin
My soul looks back to see
The burdens Thou didst bear
When hanging on the cursed tree
And hopes her guilt was there
Believing, we rejoice
To see the curse removed
We bless the Lamb with cheerful voice
And sing His bleeding love
This, dear friends, is the message we’re to proclaim. Who dares suppose they have better news than this to sing or preach?
Unfortunately, the answer is many. People would rather reserve the gospel for those who are not yet Christians. Is that the way the apostles did it? (The answer is, of course, no.) Are we supposed to be proclaiming the Gospel in the same way at the apostles? The answer is a resounding yes.
The declaration is objective. It is not your personal story.
The declaration is to be the sum and substance of Christian preaching.
The declaration is to be applied to the hearer.
In the coming entries, I’ll try to unpack these ideas.
Really interesting post and not something I have thought about to much before. Your right it does seem that we are not reminded enough of the gospel message at church. We are still sinners too even though we are Christians so your right its important to be reminded often we have a savior who forgives and washes us clean!
Anyways great lyrics in this song!
“In the coming entries, I’ll try to unpack these ideas.”
I look forward to reading them!
With all due regard, I would hesitate to describe this hymn as the manifestation of the full Gospel. While it certainly provides a vivid picture of the Cross, any illusion to the Resurrection seems noticeably absent.
It is important to sing the Gospel. Singing seems to penetrate deeply into our hearts and minds. I would like to see more Christian communities constructing everything they do around the Gospel.
For another hymn that allows us to sing the Gospel to ourselves:
“Having beheld the Resurrection of Christ, let us worship the holy Lord Jesus, the only sinless one. We venerate Thy cross, O Christ, and Thy holy Resurrection we praise and glorify. For Thou art our God, and we know none other than Thee. We call on Thy name. O come, all ye faithful, let us venerate Christ’s holy Resurrection. For behold, through the cross joy hath come into all the world. Ever blessing the Lord, we praise his Resurrection: for by enduring the cross, he hath slain death by death.”