Lyrical Theology: In Christ Alone (Part 2)

In Christ Alone – Newsboys (see full lyrics here)

This cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm.

Referring to Jesus as a “cornerstone” is something Jesus did himself (Luke 20:17) and is echoed as well by other New Testament authors (Luke in Acts 4:11, Peter in 1 Peter 2:6-7). It is a peculiar title but full of significance. When building a structure in ancient times, the first stone laid was called the cornerstone (sometimes chief-stone or capstone). It was important to pick the right stone as the cornerstone since it would function as the foundation of the structure and the area from which the rest of the building would be built out from. To use the wrong stone as the cornerstone usually meant that over time the structure would weaken and possibly collapse. Therefore, when Jesus is called the cornerstone, it is being said that he is the most important building block of life; that he is meant to be first and everything else rest on his firm foundation. It means also that to replace Jesus with someone or something else as the cornerstone of one’s life will eventually lead to collapse. Unfortunately, as Jesus implied in Luke 20:17, many reject him as the cornerstone.

Similarly, Jesus is called “solid ground”. This is likely a reference to Jesus’ teaching during the sermon on the mount in Matthew 7:24-27. Here, Jesus says that those who obey his words are like a wise man who built his house on a rock, which was able to stand the storms of life. Those who do not obey Jesus’ words are like a foolish man who built his house on sand, which was destroyed when the storms came. A relationship with Christ and obeying his commands is like having your life on solid ground – the storms of life will come, but you will not be destroyed when they do, because Jesus is your foundation.

Jesus as both a cornerstone and solid ground speaks of his strength and stability in the believers life. What a treasure to enjoy! While others are shaken and tossed to and fro by the trials and temptations of life, the one who has faith in Christ can live with rock solid assurance. This is not to say life is easy, but that Jesus will keep us through whatever we may face. These hardships are called “droughts and storms” in this song. A drought probably meaning the seasons of life that are dry, when we feel we do not have all that we need, and when hope and zeal has faded away. In these moments, Jesus is there to give the nourishment we need to go on. The storms here speak of the seasons of life when seemingly everything is going wrong. We are hit and bombarded on all sides, shaken and attacked. Yet Jesus remains faithful, keeping us steady like an anchor steadying a ship at sea.

Jesus truly is a great rock, a stabilizer, a fortress. He is steady when others collapse. He is faithful when others disperse. He is strong when others are weak. Nothing and no one gives us the firm foundation that Jesus does.

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