Written by Drew Naumann / November 2015
Reverend Augustus Montague Toplady, as tradition has it, was traveling one day near Burrington Combe when a storm overtook him. He found shelter in a nearby gorge under a rock, where the name for a new hymn struck him: “Rock of Ages”.
Today, we live in a world where it seems that adaptability is at a premium. The songwriter Bob Dylan wrote in regards to change, “You had better start swimmin’, or you’ll sink like a stone”, and this appears to be a more common thought process in religion than what Jesus tells us regarding the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Psalm 118 tells us to expect opposition toward this marvelous truth. But instead, the almighty Rock of Ages that Toplady wrote of while huddled in a crevice is egregiously mistaken for putty, shaped in the image of whatever the masses demand.
Even the free gift of salvation, which is given to any who would call on the name Jesus, is tossed to the side. “Too exclusive”, the world says. “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is”, Satan tells us. “You’re a good person, you don’t need Him”, our flesh would have us believe.
Though the way to salvation is secure and guaranteed in Christ, so many find it unappealing and feel the need to try and forge their own path.
It is necessary then, especially in this time so saturated with the overhauling of fundamental morality, that we all reflect on our faith in Christ, our Rock of Ages. Our Rock is immovable and of very defined features, and the storm of the world will try with all its might to erode that Rock away into an image of itself. Only by taking shelter in the Rock can we be saved from the storm.
“15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” -Matthew 16:15-18
The church is built on this foundation. The belief that Jesus is the one true Christ, the only avenue to eternal life. That by living a perfect life and dying an innocent death in our place, we are placed under His protection from sin. Out of love and thankfulness to our God, who has dealt so graciously with us helpless creatures, we ought to follow Jesus’ path, study His Word and adhere to His commands.
More and more often, however, we see seemingly devout Christians coming to compromises with the world. Mutilating the Word so as to dress it up in a non-exclusive fashion that appeals to more people. Hebrews 13:8 reveals the flaw in this plan however, for just as Jesus does not change, neither does His word. The same Jesus who did not deviate from the law of God for one second does permit us to deviate from God’s plan for our salvation. Though the way to salvation is secure and guaranteed in Christ, so many find it unappealing and feel the need to try and forge their own path. To those “trailblazers”, Peter’s question in John 6:68 to Jesus ought to scald their conscience. “To whom else shall we go? You have the words of eternal life”.
Jesus, our Rock and our Salvation, is the only shelter against the winds of change, which would see us abandon sound doctrine for the sake of inclusion. This Jesus, who was Paul’s top priority in his preaching (1 Cor. 2:2), is the same necessary Jesus who promises to never leave us nor forsake us, no matter how hard those winds blow and try to lead us astray from the holy Word of God.