Posted by: rcottrill | May 9, 2018

Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness

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Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf (b. May 26, 1700; d. May 9, 1760); English translation by John Wesley (b. June 28, 1703; d. Mar. 2, 1791)
Music: Germany, by William Gardiner (b. Mar. 15, 1770; d. Nov. 16, 1853)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: German Count Nikolaus von Zinzendorf wrote about two thousand hymns during his life, but only this one remains in common use. Christi Blut und Gerechtigkeit was translated into English by the count’s friend, John Wesley. Incredibly, the original song had thirty-three stanzas. Wesley eliminated some in his translation, and they’re customarily pared down further by hymn book editors, usually to four or five.

Clothes make the man–that saying goes back to ancient times. Shakespeare later took it up in Hamlet, with “The apparel oft proclaims the man.” And humorist Mark Twain gave it a witty twist with, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”

As to what the saying means, it’s certainly true that how we dress may say important things about us. To a degree we could say dressing properly promotes success, at least in some settings. People tend to judge us initially according to our appearance. Part of this involves dressing appropriately. Standards are more lax than in former times but, in most cases, a shoeless, shirtless man will still be barred from fancy restaurant.

Most of us don’t have the financial means to follow the latest fashions, or dress in expensive clothing. But we can work at dressing appropriately, within our means. And we can make an effort to see that our clothes are neat and clean, and modest. Clothing that is too revealing is immodest of course. But so is clothing that becomes a matter or personal pride, or that which displays vulgar or unwholesome printed messages.

Two centuries ago in England there lived a man named George (“Beau”) Brummell. Mr. Brummell (1778-1840) was obsessed with his physical appearance. Looking the absolute best was virtually his religion. Always perfectly groomed, his fancy clothes set the fashion in society. And he was insistently vocal in his criticism of others who didn’t dress according to his high standard. Sadly, being a gambler, and an immoral man, Brummell died sick and penniless.

In the Bible, clothing is used in a couple of symbolic ways. One is to represent our behaviour toward others. We’re to “put off” sinful conduct, and “put on” righteous conduct (cf. Col. 3:5-15). But for this article we’ll look at another application of the symbol, as representing our standing before God.

When a sinner puts his faith in Christ for salvation, he is recognizing that when Christ died on the cross, the death paid his or her debt of sin, and when He rose from the dead, the sinner was given likewise new and eternal life in Him. To put it another way, when the Father looks at Christians in terms of judgment, He sees His holy Son. It’s as though we are clothed in Christ, and His righteousness.

“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ [by a work of the Holy Spirit] have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27). And “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (II Cor. 5:17). The prophet Isaiah anticipates this when he says:

“He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness” (Isa. 61:10).

That is the gist of the present fine hymn which sees Christ as the right spiritual clothing for each of us, a robe that can be ours through faith in Him.

CH-1) Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress:
’Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head.

CH-8) Lord, I believer were sinners more
Than sands upon the ocean shore,
Thou hast for all a ransom paid,
For all a full atonement made.

CH-2) Bold shall I stand in that great day,
For who aught to my charge shall lay?
Fully absolved through these I am,
From sin and fear, from guilt and shame.

CH-24) O, let the dead now hear Thy voice;
Now bid Thy banished ones rejoice;
Their beauty this, their glorious dress,
Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness!

Questions:
1) The hymn asks the question, “Who aught [anything] to my charge shall lay?” (Stanza 2) referencing Romans 8:33. What is the answer to the question?

2) Why is this so, according to the Romans verse? (Explain.)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


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