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Hymnology: God the Uncreated One

Hymnology: God the Uncreated One

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
~Ephesians 1:3-7

Hymn Story

This modern hymn—alternately titled "God the Uncreated One" and "King Forevermore"—was co-written by Aaron Keyes and Pete James. Keyes serves as the Worship Pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Snellville, GA, while James is a worship leader at Kings Church in Eastbourne, England.

One of the best things about studying newer hymns is that we are often able to hear the story of a song's composition directly from its authors:

Here is Aaron Keyes' performance of this hymn:

Grace Snellville (Keyes' church) has also recorded this arrangement:

As with all great hymns, this one also sings very well a cappella:

Lyrics

God, the uncreated one, the author of salvation
Wrote the laws of space and time, and fashioned worlds to his design
The one whom angel hosts revere hung the stars like chandeliers
Numbered every grain of sand, knows the heart of every man
He is king forever, He is king forever
He is king forevermore

God, our fortress and our strength, the rock on which we can depend
Matchless in his majesty, His power and authority
Unshaken by the schemes of man, never-changing, Great I Am
Kingdoms rise and kingdoms fall; He is faithful through it all
Crown him king forever, Crown him king forever
Crown him king forevermore

Mighty God in mortal flesh, forsaken by a traitor's kiss
The curse of sin and centuries did pierce the lowly prince of peace
Lifted high, the sinless man; crucified, the spotless lamb
Buried by the sons of man, rescued by the Father's hand
To reign as King forever, reign as king forever
Reign as King forevermore

King eternal, God of grace: We crown you with the highest praise
Heaven shouts and saints adore, "You’re holy, holy, holy, Lord"
What joy in everlasting life! All is love and faith is sight.
Justice rolls and praises rise at the name of Jesus Christ
King of kings forever, King of kings forever
King of kings forevermore.

Hymn Study

God the Father works his sovereign will in all things, at all times. What God designs, he brings into existence. We see this in his glorious creation, and we see it in his glorious plan of salvation. Before he made the world, God had already determined, in every meticulous detail, exactly how he would create a people for himself, saving them from their sins. Like the author of a book, God—the Uncreated One—stands outside “the laws of space and time,” working out his plans as history unfolds. He has known the end from the beginning, and that brings us great comfort as we trust in his promise that justice will roll as surely as Christ was raised from the dead.

Each stanza in this hymn helps to draw our focus to one aspect of the triune God’s eternal reign. The first verse emphasizes His role as Creator. The scope of His glorious design of the universe ranges from the grand (he set the stars and planets in place) to the minute (he numbers every grain of sand). Yet God is not merely a Maker, but an Artist, for he has made his creation beautiful (“like chandeliers”; Ecclesiastes 3:11). When David marveled at the majesty of the heavens, he couldn’t help but wonder why a God who could make such wonders would care about us individually (Psalm 8:3-4), yet this same God “knows the heart of every man” (Jeremiah 17:10; Acts 15:8). And so with David, we acknowledge that “He is King forevermore,” and worthy of our praise (Psalm 8:9).

Verse 2 contains a number of Old Testament allusions to the might and power of Almighty God. He is “our fortress and our strength” (Psalm 91:2); the “rock on which we can depend” (1 Samuel 2:2). He is “matchless in his majesty, power, and authority” (Jeremiah 10:6). He is the “never-changing” (Malachi 3:6) “Great I AM” (Exodus 3:14). Sovereign even over the rise and fall of earthly kingdoms (Job 12:23), He remains “faithful through it all” (Deuteronomy 7:9).

The hymn’s third verse speaks of the incarnation, when this mighty God put on mortal flesh (Colossians 2:9). The ancient curse of sin (Genesis 2:17; Romans 6:23) was brought to bear on the sinless Savior, both Mighty God and the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Christ was lifted high (John 3:14) as our perfect, spotless sacrifice in order to secure our redemption (Hebrews 9:12). On the cross, Jesus cried out words from Psalm 22 (Matthew 27:46), a Messianic psalm which calls for help to a Father who is a rescuer of those who place their trust in Him (Psalm 22:5,19). The Son’s trust was not misplaced, and He was “rescued by the Father’s hand to reign as King forevermore!”

In the final stanza, we exult in Christ’s victory over sin & death, and look forward to his perfect and righteous rule over all the earth. In that day, the cries of God’s people to see “justice roll” (Amos 5:24) will be answered, and, as we see in the Revelation, all the angels of heaven and all of the saints redeemed by the blood of the Lamb will sing together, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty” (Revelation 4:8, 5:13). He will reign as the “King of kings” (Revelation 19:16) and those who have been saved by grace through faith in Christ will experience the promised “joy in everlasting life” (Psalm 16:11) as we reign with him forevermore (Revelation 22:5).

There’s a reason Revelation is chock full of songs and singing. When we reflect on these glorious truths, how can we keep from singing? Praise be to the King of kings forevermore!

Sources:

John Gardner

John is the pastor over Music Ministry at Faith Bible Church. He is a coffee aficionado who loves most kinds of music, but has a particular fondness for big band (especially when he's playing trumpet in the band). He and his wife, Laurie, have 3 kids who enjoy reading, hiking, and the symphony.

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