My Hope is Built on Nothing Less...

My Hope is Built on Nothing Less...

Thursday, 19 July 2018  | Narelle - MECS Principal

My hope is built on nothing less…

This is the first line in a hymn written by pastor Edward Mote in 1834 and the first verse is as follows -

My hope is built on nothing less,

Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;

I dare not trust the sweetest frame,

But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand.

What was going on in Britain in 1834 that made Edward pen such words? Things must have been pretty hopeless…well slavery had been abolished the year before in British Parliament, Lord Melbourne had just become the British Prime Minister and there were whispers of early suffragette movements. Harrods, the famous department store, was founded and it was the hottest year in recorded history! By history’s standards, it was not a disastrous one!

In recent weeks, I read the following headline: ‘Thailand Cave Rescue: A community united in hope’ and in researching this article I found a website called where you can have a ‘hit of hope’ by watching a range of videos that feature good news stories! It would appear that society is still looking for hope, wherever we can get it, 180 years after this hymn was penned.

Humans need hope! We can get by and tolerate some pretty terrible stuff as long as we have a sense of hope. To be hopeless is one of the most debilitating and helpless states to be in. No wonder human beings have a tendency to put their hope in the wrong things. We are desperate for it!

The contemporary version of this hymn that we now sing, a rearrangement by Hillsong in the early 2000s, makes the final two verses into a chorus, as follows:

Christ alone; cornerstone
Weak made strong; in the Saviour’s love
Through the storm, He is Lord
Lord of all.

Jesus, in Jerusalem around a week before he was crucified, reminds the chief priests and elders of a verse from the Psalms (118:22-23), when he says in Mark 12:10-11, “Have you not read this Scripture: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes’?”

Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, uses a similar analogy, to remind the readers that God’s plan, in Jesus, is the only foundation we should have for our lives, “For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid in Jesus Christ.”

Songs and hymns like ‘My Hope is Built on Nothing Less’ are reminders of the incredible certainty we have that God gives us in Jesus. Ours is not an earthly hope; rather, it is an eternal one. God extending grace to each and every one of us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; totally undeserved, yet life-changing.

This certainty of hope, now and for eternity, gives us great reason and great motivation to be a community of people who exhibit hope-filled actions, develop hope-filled attitudes and invest in hope-filled relationships. I use the term, ‘hope-filled’ intentionally, instead of the term ‘hopeful’.

To be ‘hopeful’ is to be cheerful, optimistic, positive, buoyant, disposed to look on the ‘bright side’ of things. I don’t know about you, but simply being hopeful is not always enough and not even possible. Sometimes life is just too hard and the circumstances too difficult.

But to be ‘hope-filled’ suggests to me that I can make a more intentional choice. I can choose hope and to make Christ the cornerstone of my life, thus ensuring a ‘’hope-filled’ future. It is not dependent on the circumstances I presently find myself in. Sure, I would like to be hopeful most of the time, but to be filled with hope is a much deeper, richer experience. 

As we begin another term of ‘faithful living, faithful learning’ together here at MECS, may we be encouraged to be hope-filled in all circumstances; and may we know what it is to be made strong in the Saviour’s love each day.


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