This month’s hymn is the new “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” by Keith & Kristyn Getty. This 2005 version shares a title with the 19th century classic hymn, but brings a fresh application for cross-centered living. In an on-line article titled “Story Behind: Beneath the Cross of Jesus,” Keith Getty reveals the context for this modern hymn as “the body of Christ and how we relate to each other.” Each verse pulls in key truths from scriptures that deal with our life together beneath the cross. Beneath the cross of Jesus, we find a new citizenship, a new family, and a new life.
Verse One: A New Citizenship
The first verse emphasizes our new standing in Christ. Although we formerly walked according to the course of this world and were dead in our sin, God saved us by His grace. [Eph 2:1] Christ says the same thing to us that he says to the unbelieving Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands… Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” [John 2:20-27] Every believer has this testimony of being rescued from the domain of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of God’s Son. [Col 1:13] It is a unifying thought that we are no longer strangers and aliens, but fellow citizens with the saints. [Eph 2:19a]
Verse Two: A New Family
Not only are we fellow citizens, but also part of God’s household. [Eph 2:19b] Jesus said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” [Matt 12:49] See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. [1 John 3:1] Yet, even a family such as this needs reminders that we should not speak against another brother or judge a fellow believer, lest we be judged ourselves. [James 4:11, 5:9] Remember that we were strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. [Eph 2:12-13]
Verse Three: A New Life
We live the Christian life beneath the cross of Jesus. Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” [Luke 9:23] Christ, the suffering servant, left us an example so that we can walk in the same manner as he walked. [1John 2:6] While suffering and service are the manner in which we are to walk, it is the promise of being united again with Christ that is our hope. When Jesus ascended to Heaven in the book of Acts, the disciples were told that He would come again in just the same way as they saw Him go. [Acts 1:9-10] And when Christ comes again, it will be to collect His bride, the church. The bride of Christ is made up of believers from every nation. [Rev 7:9] Together, we will experience the joy of being presented to Christ without blemish, having been washed with water and the word. [Eph 5:26-27] We live our lives in joyful anticipation of this heavenly reunion will all the saints and our Bridegroom. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. [Gal 6:10]