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“If We Have Died with Him” - A Hymn for Freedom Fest

Pastor Chris Kumpula - July 1, 2023


 

Paul awaits execution. He is in prison, and his fate is sure. The gravity of his situation is inescapable. What can he see in the darkness of his captivity? Paul sees the light of freedom in Christ.


As Paul writes to Timothy, he includes what can only be one of the earliest Christian hymns, located in 2 Timothy 2:11-13. Just before, in verse 10, Paul testifies that he endures everything for the sake of other Christian believers "that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory." Paul then quotes a hymn he must have sung over and again in his cell, "if we have died with Him." It reflects Paul's recognition of true life in Christ, expressed elsewhere in passages such as in Galatians 6:14, "But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."


This earliest Christian hymn centers on the theme of endurance in the face of the obstacles faced by the church of both 2000 years ago and today. Those obstacles include captivity, bodily harm, and even death.


However heavy the hardship weighing us down, the joy of the crown of salvation raises us by His grace. However tempted to despair, remember that Jesus stands ready. Be not faithless. He's ready to rescue. He's ready to forgive. He's ready to accept all who simply trust in Him. "If faithlessness, ‘tis true: Remains His love for you!"


Of course, the rhyme and meter of the original Koine Greek would make for poor singing in English, so I took the liberty (pun) of rewriting the hymn in a standard 6.6.8.6 (ABAB) hymn meter. I hope it causes you to ponder the value of the freedom we enjoy and that it encourages you in your own struggle. If we have died with Him, be free!


On the way to Zion,

Pastor Chris


“If We Have Died with Him”

by Chris Kumpula (on 2 Tim 2:11-13)


If we have died with Him,

We'll live in light ne’er dim,

Life, grace, and love are free in Him,

God’s love, eternal hymn.


If trials face, for faith,

Through fire we still will strive,

In faith’s embrace, through devil’s hive,

We nonetheless shall thrive.


If Him deny– love’s vein–

Failing to trust His reign,

His presence lost, eternal pain;

By grace, belief sustain!


If faithlessness, ‘tis true:

Remains His love for you!

His faithfulness, the cross made new,

Our hope and strength in view.


If war, steadfast and strong,

To Christ for’er belong,

In life or death, our souls prolong,

His Word, His pledge, our song!


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