Before the Throne of God Above (3)

Every Friday in 2015 we consider a verse from our “Hymn of the Month.”

Behold Him there the risen Lamb
My perfect spotless righteousness
The great unchangeable I Am
The King of glory and of grace
One with Himself I cannot die
My soul is purchased with His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ my Saviour and my God
With Christ my Saviour and my God

With the third verse of this beloved hymn Bancroft keeps our eyes focused on the heavenly scene of the exalted and glorified Christ. Before looking at the specifics of this verse it is worth noting the overall theme of this hymn in beholding Christ. Hebrews 12:2 admonishes us to constantly be “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” as we run the race of life. No matter what happens in life, we are to keep our eyes on our Lord, and this third verse explains why that is.

First, Bancroft calls Jesus “the risen Lamb” and “my perfect, spotless righteousness.” This points to the heart of the gospel, which is the substitutionary atonement. The precious truth that on the cross Jesus became sin and gave us his righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Then calling Jesus” the great unchangeable I Am” from passages like Exodus 3:14 and John 8:58, and pointing to “the King of glory” from Psalm 24, the deity of Christ is set before us. He is no mere man. Nor is he another created being or some lesser deity. To put it succinctly, Jesus is and has always been fully God. John’s Gospel highlights this truth over and over, perhaps most clearly at the very beginning: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

Finally, our attention is put on the precious doctrine of our union with Christ. This is an often-overlooked doctrine, but when the Christian grasps it it is quickly treasured. Being hidden with Christ and being one with him carries with it a myriad of implications. Ephesians says that we were chosen, adopted, blessed, redeemed, and more, all in Christ (1:3ff). Jesus himself says “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). And pointing to the hope of the gospel, Paul says “if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his” (Romans 6:5).

The idea that we are united with our Lord should cause a well of worship to spring forth from our hearts. Hearts of thankfulness. Hearts of praise. Hearts of hope. All because “My life is hid with Christ on high; with Christ my Saviour and my God.”