His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Ephesians 3:10-11
Matt Boswell, in explaining why he wrote this song, says: "we wrote this hymn as we sought language to help people remember the unchanging nature of God's covenant through the trials and persecution of the church." The church, though sometimes feeling weak and feeble, is the demonstration of God's wisdom to the world (Eph 3:10)
So this hymn begins by grounding us in our identity as the people of God, recalling the work of the Holy Spirit, the word of God, his grace, and his help in our lives.
This then progresses into verse 2, where we are called to remember that we stand in the line of the people of God as the chlidren of Abraham. Because of this we walk by faith in things we have not yet seen and have built our lives on the promises of God. It is from this place that we are able to speak the restorative power of the gospel to the nations.
With this in view, verse 3 changes tone and shows that while we are the people of God, it does not mean that we will not experience sorrow, evil, persecution, and the forces of Satan. However, it does offer that while we will not escape these realities, we do have an anchor in them.
And finally in Verse 4 we turn our attention to the hope that is ours in the face of death. We have to remind ourselves where we have come from, and where we're going.
O Church of Christ, invincible,
The people of the Lord,
Empowered by the Spirit’s breath
And nourished by his word.
His covenant of grace will be
Our portion evermore,
For He who called us will not change,
Our help and our reward.
O chosen people called by grace,
The sons of Abraham,
Who walk by faith and things unseen,
And on His promise stand,
That every nation of the earth
Will hear about this love
That causes broken hearts to heal
And pays our debts with blood.
O Church of Christ in sorrow now,
Where evil lies in wait;
When trials and persecutions come
This light will never fade.
For though the hordes of hell may rage,
Their power will not endure;
Our times are in the Father’s hand,
Our anchor is secure.
O Church of Christ, upon that day
When all are gathered in,
When every tear is wiped away
With every trace of sin;
Where justice, truth and beauty shine,
And death is passed away,
Where God and man will dwell as one For all eternity.
© 2014 Modern Hymnal Digital, Modern Hymnal Publishing, & Townend Music