For the Church: Singing Heavy is Our Savior’s Cross

from Apr 02, 2015 Category: Ligonier Resources

Scripture commands us to meditate on God’s wondrous works (Psalm 77:11-12). Thomas Watson wrote that meditation is “a holy exercise of the mind whereby we bring the truths of God to remembrance, and do seriously ponder upon them and apply them to ourselves.” “Heavy Is Our Savior’s Cross” from Glory to the Holy One helps us to meditate on Christ’s crucifixion by portraying vignettes of the passion narrative in the present tense. Dr. Sproul’s choice of tense and selection of vivid word pictures draw believers’ Word-directed imagination close to the cross.

A few meditational thoughts include:

  1. The “rough, hewn, unpolished” cross “is our Savior’s cross.” Christ, whose “blood so pure, no earthly dross, is borne by only Him,” had to be identified with the cross. “He was numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12). It was “a death reserved for Him.” Blood must be shed (Hebrews 9:22) and only His pure, dross-free blood would save. “Naught else will do, no other way.”
  2. Heavy is our Savior’s cross.” Though the cross was physically heavy for the scourged Christ, who carried it to Golgotha (John 19:17), “the weight of heaven’s curse” was infinitely heavier. Though Christ physically suffered “life torn from flesh and from bone,” he endured “still a pain far worse.” The Suffering Servant willingly withstood “the pain no mortal could.” He sustained the anguish of bearing our iniquity (Isaiah 53:6) and the agony of His Father’s abandonment (Mark 15:34) and wrath (1 John 4:10).
  3. Salvation must be won.” Christ secured our salvation. He fully paid our debt (John 19:30), He atoned “for all of sin.” Therefore, He cried, “It is finished” (John. 19:30). Believer, rejoice that “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

May our meditative singing to the Lord of “Heavy Is Our Savior’s Cross” assist us to more earnestly remember, seriously ponder, and personally apply the saving “message of the cross” (1 Corinthians 1:18).

Lyrics

Refrain
Heavy is our Savior’s cross
Weighed down by human sin
His blood so pure, no earthly dross
Is borne by only Him

Mocked, scourged,
with thorns for a crown
The Lamb is led away
A cross to bear for sinners bound
On this, His final day

Refrain

Rough, hewn, unpolished the wood
A cross for all our sin
Will hold the pain no mortal could
A death reserved for Him
A death reserved for Him

Life torn from flesh and from bone
Yet still a pain far worse
For all of sin He must atone
The weight of heaven’s curse

Refrain

Death, loss, the dark shadows day
His work now almost done
Naught else will do, no other way
Salvation must be won

Refrain

His blood so pure, no earthly dross
Is borne by only Him

Note: For theological clarity, Dr. Sproul has changed the word “man” used in the second verse of this hymn to “our.”

Experience Glory to the Holy One Today

If you buy the CD from Ligonier.org, we will add the digital edition to your learning library for free.

See also:

Randall Van Meggelen is chief musician at Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Fla., and provides direction for the church’s various music ministries. He is a graduate of Covenant College and Concordia University.