November 3, 2019
We welcome our orchestra back to help lead us in worship this week as we continue our liturgical series on the Solas of the Reformation. This week, we'll sing about the great truth of salvation by faith alone, or Sola Fide.
"How Firm a Foundation"
*Disclaimer: this is a bit academic but I hope you'll find it helpful. The first verse opens our corporate singing with a wonderful expression of Sola Fide that deserves some unpacking. "How firm a foundation, you saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in his excellent Word! What more can he say than to you he has said, to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?" Why the capitalization of "Word?" Is the author speaking of the Bible as God's holy Word or is he speaking of the Word who came to dwell among us? They both are certainly worthy of our faith so it's hard to distinguish. Here, I think he intends it to mean both. "What more can he say" lends itself more to understanding the term as the self-revelation of who God is through his Word. It's certainly got a focus on words that are spoken to us. Those words are certainly worthy of our faith. "To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled" points toward Christ. From the Scriptures, we see that Christ is the Word that came to dwell among us and to speak to us. He is the true fullness of God revealed and did so in both word and deed (John 1:1-5; 14-18; Col. 1:15; 2:9). So in this case, we open our corporate singing with a strong expression of our faith in him – his words and his person!
"The Lord Is My Salvation"
Each of these verses lines out for us a different life-stage that we may find ourselves in that requires faith. For this morning, consider the first verse as perhaps you recall your own conversion experience. Note the beautiful language of the grace of God reaching for us and our response to him which is the empty hand of faith: "The grace of God has reached for me and pulled me from a raging sea. And I am safe on this solid ground (how firm a foundation it is, indeed!) the Lord is my salvation. Who is like the Lord our God? Strong to save, faithful in love. My debt is paid and the victory won, the Lord is my salvation!"
"Sing to Jesus"
We'll conclude the corporate singing with a song that shows Christ as our Redeemer and sings of what he's done. We may only rightly see him as Redeemer when we've come to faith in his finished work for us. "Sing to Jesus, Lord of our shame, Lord of our sinful hearts, he is our great Redeemer. Sing to Jesus, honor his name, sing of his faithfulness: pouring his life out unto death."