Thoughts on a Hymn
On Friday of last week, I particularly enjoyed the set of worship songs we sang in chapel. One of these blessed anthems was "How Great Thou Art." The third verse of this great hymn moved me most out of the four verses as it took my mind and heart back to the cross and that blessed yet incomprehensible work of redemption. It reads:
And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.
The hymnist demonstrates his own struggle with receiving into the limits of his mental capacity this sacrificial, redemptive act of love on both the part of the Father and the Son. He brings to light these foundational spiritual truths with a pleasant poetic form yet theologically clear outline. I was reminded of passages such as Isaiah 53:5 and 10 where Isaiah speaks of Christ being crushed for our iniquities and of God being pleased in the crushing of His Son.
Some questions that were provoked in my mind -
Why did he not spare His blameless, perfectly righteous Son from paying the debt of wretched sinners? Why was both the Son glad to bear the burden and the Father willing to put Him to the task? Why would one so holy die for those so inexpressibly sinful to the very core? Who am I to forget this work that gives me life in Him?
All this to say, I am so thankful (1) for Christ's counter-intuitive yet glorious work on the cross and His rising from the dead on my behalf, (2) faithful men and women who wrote hymns such as this that so beautifully bring together poetic language and rich theology, and (3) finally for the precious opportunity that is so often overlooked to worship corporately with the body of Christ!
I leave you with one thought. How quick are you to receive the redemptive work of Christ on the cross? Is it as much a marvel to you as it was to this author?