Tuesday Hymns: “Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness”

I spent last week in central Texas with the family on vacation; thus, there was no Tuesday Hymn on my humble blog to peruse. Now, however, I am back in the saddle again, ready to get back into my daily routine of ministry. Sunday, I stayed home with the boys from corporate worship (see earlier post) because of bronchitis (theirs, not mine) and the hymn we sang as we gathered to worship in our living room was Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness, which is our Tuesday Hymn for this week.

Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, a Lutheran pietist from Germany, wrote the words to this hymn in 1739. He was a nobleman who allowed a group of Moravians to settle on his land, building a village called, Hernnhut, meaning “the Lord’s watch.” He spent his life ministering, not only to those settlers, but to others, by sending missionaries out into the world from Greenland to South Africa. A later missionary, William Carey, admitted using Zinzendorf’s model in the founding of his English Baptist Missionary Society which sent him to India in 1793.

The hymn speaks of the Christian’s hope in the finished work of Christ for his eternal salvation. It is Christ’s keeping of the Law of God on our behalf that provides for the forgiveness of our sins, and our being declared righteous in God’s sight through faith in Him. As the Westminster Shorter Catechism states (Q. 33): “Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardons all our sins, and accepts us as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.”

As J. Gresham Machen telegraphed to his friend, Professor John Murray, right before his death, “So thankful for the active obedience of Christ. No hope without it.” The hymn is normally sung to the tune GERMANY

Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness my beauty are, my glorious dress; ’midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed, with joy shall I lift up my head.

Bold shall I stand in Thy great day; for who aught to my charge shall lay? Fully absolved through these I am from sin and fear, from guilt and shame.

When from the dust of death I rise to claim my mansion in the skies, ev’n then this shall be all my plea, Jesus hath lived, hath died, for me.

Jesus, be endless praise to Thee, whose boundless mercy hath for me—for me a full atonement made, an everlasting ransom paid.

O let the dead now hear Thy voice; now bid Thy banished ones rejoice; their beauty this, their glorious dress, Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness.

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2 Comments

  1. cliftonr said,

    October 30, 2009 at 12:34 PM

    wife here: I appreciate your ministry to your family and to our church. Thanks for staying home with the boys so I could go worship.

  2. Robert said,

    March 2, 2010 at 9:01 AM

    Thanks for posting these good comments on Zinzendorf’s great hymn. You can hear a very good contemporary arrangement of it on today’s blog at Wordwise Hymns.


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