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Mar 2015

There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – 1 Corinthians 1:18

One of the wonders of the songs that we sing on Sunday morning is that they are formative. When we sing, we sing in faith, often asking God that our hearts would believe the words that we proclaim. This Sunday, we will be introducing a new hymn to our gathering, There is a Fountain Filled With Blood by one of the greatest hymnodists and poets of the 18th century, William Cowper. Cowper battled depression for his entire life, even attempting to take his life several times. However, Cowper knew something crucial to the Christian gospel that he shows us in this hymn – the theme of his life was not depression, nor failed suicide attempts, but glorious, redeeming love.

The gospel of Jesus Christ always has, and always will be, a baffling, and foolish reality to a world that is perishing. It’s no surprise then that our theology, and our songs, should reflect this reality. And that’s why There is a Fountain Filled With Blood resonates with so many who call themselves Christians, because at the center of this 18th century hymn is the center of the Christian gospel: the blood of Jesus Christ is powerful enough to save even the most vile of sinners. Cowper knew this all too well, which is what prompted him to pen these lyrics the night after an aborted suicide attempt:

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.
Washed all my sins away, washed all my sins away;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.
Be saved, to sin no more, be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Thy power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.
Lies silent in the grave, lies silent in the grave;
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.

Cowper begins by exploring the “stain” of sin, and notes that the way sinners lose this stain is by being “plunged beneath” the blood that was drawn from the veins of Emmanuel (Jesus), God With Us. The way we are reconciled to God is through the bloody, penal substitution of the Christ of God, Jesus. He then goes on to speak of how one day, by the power of the blood of the Lamb, the Church will be rescued and “safe to sin no more.” Not only will Christ’s ransomed bride be free from the condemnation of death and sickness, but they will be safe (free) from the shackles of sin. No more mixed motives, no more evil thoughts, but glorious liberation from sin.

Cowper then concludes in an outright expression of unadulterated worship: “Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be ‘til I die!” This gospel of personal reconciliation by the blood of the Lamb is my anthem in the midst of trial, in the midst of the darts of guilt and shame hurled by the Devil, in the midst of my hatred of self. Not my sin, not my shame, but the redeeming love through the redeeming blood of the Lamb shall be my anthem until I behold Him with unveiled face.

You can listen to There is a Fountain filled With Blood by watching the video below, and you can purchase and download the full song by clicking here. May redeeming love be ours also ‘til we die. And until that Day when we will sing freed from sin, may we continue singing together until our hearts believe that it is true.

imagrs

1 Comments

Jennifer Fowler

July 15 2015 Reply

Thank you for using this powerful song! I’ve known it for many many years but haven’t heard it in a while. In 2014 at Glorieta Collegiate week we sang this song while those of us that had been on a mission trip got up to write our name on a giant strip of paper. Nik Ripken was there. I’ll never forget standing in the aisle with hundreds of other believers singing this song.

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