Immovable Our Hope Remains

Hymnology: Immovable Our Hope Remains

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you
will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

~Philippians 1:6

Hymn Story

Though he is known today as the author of one of the most beloved hymns of all times (Rock of Ages), Augustus Montague Toplady was despised by most of his contemporaries… even members of his own family! He was known as “sick and neurotic” by his friends, and as “impulsive, rash-spoken, reckless in misjudgment” by early biographers. When he publicly attacked John Wesley (calling him “the most rancorous hater of the gospel-system that ever appeared on this island,” among other choice insults), Wesley responded dismissively, saying, “I do not fight with chimney sweeps!”

Yet God can use even the most caustic individuals for His glory. While he composed a number of poems and hymns, almost none remain today. 19th-century literary critic A.B. Grosart described Toplady’s ability this way:

He is no poet or inspired singer. He climbs no heights. He sounds no depths. He has mere vanishing gleams of imaginative light. His greatness is the greatness of goodness.

Thankfully, one of those “mere vanishing gleams of imaginative light” was his hymn Immovable Our Hope RemainsThough it did not achieve much popularity during his life, the lyrics are beautiful. When Brittany Kauflin stumbled across the original lyrics (which you can read here), she rearranged and rephrased some of the words, condensing the hymn from ten to four verses. Her father composed a new melody for the lyrics, giving new life to an old text. Here is the song as it appears on the Sovereign Grace Music album From Age to Age:

Lyrics

Immovable our hope remains 
Though shifting sands before us lie 
The One who washed away our stains 
Shall bear us safely to the skies 
The floods may rise, the winds may beat 
Torrential rains descend 
Yet God His own will not forget 
He’ll love and keep us till the end 
You’ll love and keep us till the end 

This is eternal life: to know 
The living God and Christ, the Son 
The Savior will not let us go 
Until His saving work is done 
Our debt was great, as was our need 
But now the price is paid 
Who can behold Immanuel bleed 
And doubt His willingness to save? 
We trust Your willingness to save 

The Lord acquits, who can condemn? 
Though Satan’s accusations fly 
His pow’r can never reach our names 
To blot them from the Book of Life 
The Son has surely made us free 
His Word forever stands 
And all our joy is knowing we 
Are graven on His wounded hands 
We’re graven on Your wounded hands 

Built into Christ, secure we stand 
For with His Spirit we’ve been sealed 
By grace we’ll see the promised land 
Where every sorrow shall be healed 
To God who gave His only Son 
To Jesus Christ, our Lord 
To God the Spirit, Three-in-one 
Be songs of praise forevermore 
We’ll sing Your praise forevermore 

Hymn Study

For a guy who was never known for grace shown to others, Toplady was certainly enamored with the grace of God. It was that grace which fueled his passion. And while his passion was often misdirected, his zeal to make much of Christ and little of himself is admirable.

As in Rock of Ages, the grace and power of God shines through brilliantly in Immovable Our Hope Remains. Whereas the former hymn speaks of Christ as our only hope of salvation, the latter focuses on Christ as our eternal hope. It is the blood which flowed from Jesus’ side which saves us from wrath and makes us pure. It is also the blood of Christ which assures us that “the Savior will not let us go.”

When we are anxious or grieved by the trials we face in the present, Scripture tells us to look to the past and the future for encouragement.

When “Satan’s accusations fly,” reminding us of our sinful past, Christ reminds us that we have been washed, sanctified, and justified in His name (1 Corinthians 6:11). Though our accuser is relentless in his attacks, “his power can never reach our names to blot them from the Book of Life.” He has been defeated by the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 12:10)! Because of Christ’s sacrifice, God does not deal with us according to our sins, but removes them as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:10-12); He will never blot our names from the Book of Life (Revelation 3:5)!

When floods rise and the winds and rain are beating against us, we find rest in the knowledge that “the One who washed away our stains shall bear us safely to the skies” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Christ will return for us (Revelation 22:20). He has given us the Holy Spirit, sealing His promise that “God his own will not forget” (2 Corinthians 1:21). When by grace we arrive at the promised land, “every sorrow shall be healed” (Revelation 21:4).

Because Jesus Christ was faithful to die on the Cross for our sins, we can trust that He will be faithful to keep all of these precious and very great promises (2 Peter 1:4). For “who can behold Immanuel bleed and doubt His willingness to save?”

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *