“Of the making of many Christian congregational songs there is no end” (a “take-off” of Ecclesiastes 12:12). And in many cases, I wish there was an end! Why? Because so many are either doctrinally weak or just plain “off.” Along with that, many are man-centered—lacking a focus on God and what He’s done in and through the glorious gospel of His Son Jesus Christ.
Then along comes a song like we sang this past Sunday, and I totally change my mind. I do not want songs like, “Now Why This Fear” to stop. And if you were there on Sunday, I have a feeling you’re thinking the same thing.
As many of you heard, this song was actually mostly written in the 1700’s by Augustus Toplady (author of “Rock of Ages”). I say mostly, because recently a man named Doug Plank took the song, added some words and changed the tune. The combination is wonderful.
In the opening of the song, a question is put to the soul of the singer: “Now why this fear and unbelief?” And we gather from the rest of the song the “fear and unbelief” has to do with the fear of facing God’s wrath for sins he/she has committed. The person has blown it and is doubting (thus, unbelief) that God could forgive yet again.
Beloved, does this sound familiar to you? Do you, too, ever waver in unbelief, thinking that surely God is going to give up on you? That since you’ve sinned yet again, He’s reached his limit with you and will reverse His decision to save you? That you’ll be condemned forever? Maybe you don’t actually think God will “throw in the towel” on you, but you live your daily life under a dark cloud of guilt, misery, and shame. Perhaps you do this as a twisted way of appeasing God for your sin (like if you acted miserable enough, He’ll be more inclined to forgive you)?
O, brother or sister in the Lord, you are not understanding or living in light of the Gospel! Let the next two questions from this song hit you:
Has not the Father put to grief
His spotless Son for us?
And will the righteous Judge of men
condemn me for that debt of sin
now cancelled at the cross?
Your sins have been dealt with! And they were dealt with by Jesus Christ the Righteous! He’s taken your punishment, provided His perfect obedience, and it is counted as yours! You and I dishonor this glorious work by moping around being miserable or disbelieving that God has truly forgiven us or will somehow go back on His promise to save. So, let your soul be grounded in Christ and His achievements on your behalf:
Complete atonement You have made
And by Your death have fully paid
The debt Your people owed.
No wrath remains for us to face
We’re sheltered by Your saving grace
And sprinkled with Your blood.
Be still my soul and know this peace
The merits of your great high priest
Have bought your liberty
Rely then on His precious blood
Don’t fear your banishment from God
Since Jesus sets you free
How do you feel now, Christian? Do you feel refreshed in the Gospel? Have you been stirred to joy and wonder at this gracious reality of a right standing with God owing to Christ? I pray so.
I believe this is why Doug Plank added the following Chorus and bridge:
Jesus, all my trust is in Your blood!
Jesus, You’ve rescued us
Through Your great love.
How sweet the sound of saving grace!
How sweet the sound of saving grace!
Christ died for me!
“All my trust is in Your blood.” When the guilt and shame is beginning to mount and you and I are tempted to run away from God, it’s at this very point when we must trust once again what has been done on our behalf on the cross of Christ. This is where hope, forgiveness, and joy is found in this life we live—yes, even in the midst of our own sin. Abandoning the finished work of Christ doesn’t do any good whatsoever. We must remember—we must fix the eyes of our heart upon this glorious and gracious reality.