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May 2011

Rock of Ages: Naked, Helpless, and Foul

Nothing in my hand I bring
Simply to the cross I cling
Naked, come to Thee for dress
Helpless look to Thee for grace
Foul, I to the fountain fly
Wash me, Savior, or I die
– Third verse of Rock of Ages

The following is by Redemption Hill member Rayshawn Graves. To listen to the audio from this message, click here. You can check out Rayshawn’s website and blog by clicking here.

Three words immediately stand out in reading this verse: Naked, Helpless, and Foul. These words describe who we are apart from God’s grace, and they display why our need for grace is so great. While we may look at our own lives and hesitate to identify ourselves by any of these words, the Bible clearly states that because of our sin we have become depraved, willfully and actively plunging ourselves into darkness, away from the presence of a Holy God. We may compare ourselves to others, make a resume’s worth of good deeds that we have done, or we may even sweep our dirt under the rug of our own justification, but all of these actions only serve to confirm the reality that apart from grace we are naked, helpless, foul and destitute.

In our nakedness, we become like our first parents, stricken with guilt because of our sinfulness, ashamed because we fail to meet the required standards of God’s law, and condemned because we feel the weight of the judgment we deserve. In vanity, we attempt to hide from the light, blame others for our transgressions, and we seek to cover ourselves with fig leaves of self-justification and pride. We become Laodiceans, deceiving ourselves by thinking that we are rich, prosperous, and in need of nothing, when the truth is that we are wretched, pitiable, poor blind and naked. We need covering.

In our helplessness, we are weak, enslaved by sin, and steadily stumbling over the sin that so easily besets us. We are powerless, like the invalid man at the pool of Siloam, unable to help ourselves after so many years of inability. No amount of labor, efforts, or emotion can save us. Apart from grace, we are guilty in a courtroom where all the evidence is stacked against us and the victim is the Judge: helpless. We need strength.

In our foulness, we are like Lazarus, dead – in our sins and transgressions, lying in the tomb we have made for ourselves, and everyday without Life is a day that we become more soiled and polluted. Our attempt to wash ourselves with the rags of our own righteousness only ends in failure because our rags are soiled too. We need cleansing.

The sum of the state of our nakedness, helplessness, and foulness equals to nothing, and therefore there is nothing that we can bring to The Most High to atone for our sins. Our hands are as dirty as they are empty and in the realization of this there remains only one thing to say: Wash me Savior or I die! At the cross we find cleansing and fullness.

At the cross we have clothing for our nakedness, garments of skins for our fig leaves, righteousness for our sinfulness. At the cross we have grace for our helplessness, strength in our weakness, and an Advocate for our trial. At the cross we have a fountain of cleansing from our filth, beauty for our ashes, and resurrection at our funerals. Wash me Savior, or I die! Wash me Savior or I die! Wash me Savior or I die!

imagrs

2 Comments

Deneen Costic

May 23 2011 Reply

yes Rayshawn!! thanks for posting this Shelby.

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