Posted by: rcottrill | July 6, 2011

The Solid Rock

Words: Edward Mote (b. Jan. 21, 1797; d. Nov. 13, 1874)
Music: William Batchelder Bradbury (b. Oct. 6, 1816; d. Jan. 7, 1868)

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

It’s often been said that we can’t live without hope. Hopelessness causes an individual to withdraw emotionally, if not physically, from social interaction. In the extreme, it can lead to suicide. But it’s important to define what we mean by hope. In general conversation, it’s a wish, or longing for something better to come. We hope our spouse can find a job, we hope it won’t rain on the picnic Saturday. It’s something we desire, but there’s no certainty in it.

Hope, as the word is used many times in the Scriptures, is something different–especially when it’s used of our relationship with God. The hope the Bible describes is not a wish or a maybe, but a certainty, grounded in the saving work of Christ, and the sure promises of God. We might define biblical hope as: the joyful certainty of future blessing. Our hymn of hope begins:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ name.

On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Think of that, in relation to a few passages of Scripture. Hope of this kind is produced in us by “the God of hope,” through an inner work of the Spirit of God. “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13).

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (I Pet. 1:3). “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (I Cor. 15:19-20).

Our Saviour is “the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope (I Tim. 1:1). Therefore, “We…have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus” (Heb. 6:18-20).

CH-3) His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.

It’s our own hope in Christ that can draw others to Christ. We should be able to testify as to why we have the joyful certainty of future blessing. “Be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (I Pet. 3:15).

And as we look forward to the Lord’s return, “We should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ” (Tit. 2:12-13). As Mr. Mote puts it, in CH-4:

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

1) What are some ways you could help a Christian whose hope is weakened?

2) See if you can give a clear explanation of the “reason for the hope that is in you”?

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


  1. Thanks for commenting on my Ryle quote (Where must a person go?). I enjoyed reading your commentary here on one of my most favorite hymns. Blessings to you, in Christ our only hope,

    • Welcome! Drop by any time. 🙂 (I actually copied the Ryle quote, and will likely use it in a church bulletin in the near future. Thanks again.)


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