It is no secret that I have a deep fascination and great admiration for the lyrics/words found in our Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs that we sing together in worship. The many songs we sing at Wilsonville are soul stirring, sin damning, faith building, hope providing, and heaven longing. A few days into this Pandemic, I began to look closer at the words to some of my favorites, and one immediately stood out because of its use of so many meaningful terms taken directly from Scripture.
“The Depth Of God’s Love”
“Oh, the depths and the riches of God’s saving grace flowing down from the cross for me!
There the debt for my sins by the Savior was paid in His suff,ring on Calvary!
How my heart humbly bows in His presence today, when I think of His agony,
By His stripes I am freed from the bondage of sin thru His suff’ring on Calvary!
Oh, what marvelous mercy, what infinite love! What immeasurable grace I see!
By His blood I am cleansed; I am happy and free thru His suff’ring on Calvary!
Oh, the riches and depth of such wonderful love, Flowing boundless and full and free!
And the debt on the cross for my sins was all paid In His suff’ring on Calvary!”
GOD’S RICH, FREE FLOWING, IMMEASURABLE, SAVING GRACE – “But God, who is rich in MERCY, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (By GRACE you have been SAVED), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the EXCEEDING RICHES OF HIS GRACE in His KINDNESS toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:2-7).
“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one man’s obedience, many were made righteous. Moreover, the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, GRACE abounded much more. So that as sin reigned in death, even so GRACE might reign through righteousness to ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 5:19-21).
THE DEBT FOR MY SINS AND YOUR SINS WAS PAID IN FULL IN HIS SUFFERING ON THE CROSS – Scripture and Historic Records leave no doubt that our SAVIOR SUFFERED the most painful, cruel, brutal, and horrendous death imaginable on CALVARY’S CROSS. “For to this you were called, because Christ also SUFFERED for us, leaving us an example that you should follow in His steps; ‘Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth; Who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He SUFFERED, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; Who Himself bore OUR SINS in His own body ON THE TREE, that we, having died to sins might live for righteousness – BY WHOSE STRIPES YOU WERE HEALED” (I Pet 2:21-24).
Speaking of the Promised Messiah and His ill treatment and death, Isaiah wrote, “Surely, He has borne OUR griefs and carried OUR sorrows; Yet WE esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. But He was wounded for OUR transgressions, He was bruised for OUR iniquities; the chastisement for OUR peace was upon Him, and by His stripes WE are healed. All WE like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, everyone, to his OWN way; and the Lord has laid on HIM the iniquity of US ALL”. (Is 53:4-7).
“BY HIS STRIPES I AM FREED FROM THE BONDAGE OF SIN/BY HIS BLOOD I AM CLEANSED; I AM HAPPY AND FREE – At some point in each of our lives, Satan held us captive, in bondage to this world of sin, and like Israel of old we were unable to break out of that captivity on our own. “That they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken CAPTIVE by HIM to do HIS WILL” (II Tim 2:26). Paul also addressed this idea of SLAVERY/BONDAGE to sin in his letter to the Romans. “But now having been set FREE from SIN, and having become SLAVES of GOD, you derive your benefit, resulting in SANCTIFICATION, and the OUTCOME, ETERNAL LIFE. For the wages of SIN is DEATH, but the FREE GIFT of GOD is ETERNAL LIFE in CHRIST JESUS our LORD”. (Rom 6:22-23).
MARVELOUS MERCY; INFINITE, RICH DEEP, WONDERFUL, FREE FLOWING & BOUNDLESS: LOVE. – Scripturally speaking, The MERCY of God the Father and Christ the Son is mentioned first in Genesis and last in Jude, and numerous times in between. The point being God and Christ were, are, and always will be MERCIFUL to all mankind. The Biblical descriptions of this MERCY are GLOWING. “Through the Lord’s MERCIES we are not consumed, because His COMPASSIONS FAIL NOT. They are NEW EVERY MORNING. Great is Your FAITHFULNESS”, (Lam 3:22-23). As Paul instructed Titus, he made the MERCY of our SAVIOR a PERSONAL thing for each of us: “For WE OURSELVES were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the KINDNESS and the LOVE of GOD OUR SAVIOR toward man appeared, NOT by works of righteousness which WE have done, BUT ACCORDING TO HIS MERCY HE SAVED US, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit..” (Titus 3:3-5).
Our song uses 6 descriptive terms for the LOVE that GOD and CHRIST HAVE FOR ALL OF US. “I have been CRUCIFIED with CHRIST, and it is no longer I who live, BUT CHRIST LIVES IN ME, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by FAITH in the SON OF GOD WHO LOVED ME and GAVE HIMSELF UP FOR ME”. (Gal 2:20) Paul emphasized the importance and permanence of that LOVE in his epistle to the Romans: “Who shall separate us from the LOVE OF CHRIST? Shall Tribulation, or Distress, or Persecution, or Famine, or Nakedness, or Peril, or Sword? As it is written: For YOUR sake we are KILLED all day long; We are accounted as SHEEP for the SLAUGHTER’. Yet in all these things we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS through HIM who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separated us from the LOVE of GOD which is in CHRIST JESUS our LORD”. (Rom 8:35-39).
THE AGONY JESUS SUFFERED ON THE CROSS OF CALVARY HUMBLES US AND CAUSES US TO BOW BEFORE HIM! – Our LORD SUFFERED in so many cruel and inhumane ways that if a person did not believe the Bible was the REVEALED and INSPIRED WORD of GOD, they would never accept these punishments as being real! The list of what our SAVIOR actually ENDURED includes: Betrayal by one of His Own; Six Rigged and Unjust trials; Deep sorrow, grief, and distress; Apostles falling asleep on their watch; Left alone by His disciples; Arrested as a common criminal; False testimony accepted against Him; Accused of blasphemy; Spat in His face; Hit with fists; Slapped Him; Derided and Mocked Him; Denied by one of the twelve; Underwent brutal Roman scourging; Stripped Him of clothing; Placed a crown of thorns upon His head; Mocked Him again; Spat on Him again; Beat Him on the head with a reed; Placed Him on a wooden cross, Hammered giant nails in His hands and feet, Dropped the cross into the ground; Officers divided up His garments among themselves; Suffered verbal abuse from passersby; Suffered verbal abuse and mocking again from Chief Priests, Scribes, and Elders; Suffered insults from a dying prisoner by His side; Forsaken by His God and Father. (This list is from Matthew’s account only. Mark, Luke, and John each list other ways our Lord suffered).
The Lyrics To “The Depths Of God’s Love” Are Often Used As We Commune Together To Eat The Lord’s Supper. These Same Words Are Often Sung As An Invitation Song. After reading the Biblical accounts of Jesus Crucifixion and thinking about these Scriptural words and thoughts, I believe they provide a simple version of Almighty God’s Plan for the Salvation of Mankind from Sin.
The Grace and Mercy of a Loving God
The Shed Blood of a Crucified Lord
The Trust and Obedience of a Penitent Heart