The words to the hymns I grew up singing as a child have stuck with me throughout all my adult life. They make themselves apparent when I find myself experiencing different seasons and occasions in life. Listen to these words of an old hymn and see if you can guess for yourself what song it is. “That God should love a sinner such as I, should yearn to change my sorrow into bliss, nor rest till He had planned to bring me nigh, how wonderful is love like this! Well, were you able to guess which song I have been thinking of?
If you guessed, Such Love, then you guessed correctly. I love these old hymns, and as I have grown older, they have become even more precious to me. They do a couple of things for me, first, they take me back in my memory of the little Wesleyan Church that I grew up in. I can remember as a child walking in and hearing the piano playing one of the many wonderful songs that would be indelibly imprinted upon my memory. Second, these old hymns remind me of the deeper lesson in theology that would stay with me all my life.
Just thinking of the first verse of this hymn reminds me of Romans 5:8 that says, “that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Today, in the church there is a growing absence of good theology. The focus is on God’s love, which is good for people to know, but the world is in need of knowing more than just that God loves them. I think of the hymn, Nothing but the Blood, that tells of what saves us. The first verse speaks volumes, “what can wash away my sin?” It asks the all-important question that all members humanity should ask. The love of God for mankind initiated the plan for man’s salvation, but it was the sacrifice of Jesus at Calvary that provided the needed innocent blood to cover our sin. This cannot be overlooked by the church as it tries to re-image itself to make it more palatable to an ever more sin indulgent culture. The second line of the hymn, Such Love, bears out the willingness of Christ to become our sacrifice for sin. “That Christ should join so freely in the scheme, although it meant His death on Calvary. Did ever human tongue find nobler theme, than love divine that ransomed me? You see this song is to be sung in the first person. It is to be a testimonial confession for the singer. It is constructed to make the singer come face to face with the sacrifice of Christ at Calvary and admit the willful sin that only Christ blood can cure. And the blood of Jesus can only cure the life that applies it to it. Songs, such as this one, echo scripture. Scriptures such as John 3:16 and Romans 5:8, Romans 10:9 and many others that speak of salvation. Jesus did the hard part, He died for our sin, but if salvation is to be received then acknowledgment of our sin and recognition of His sacrifice and our remorse and repentance must be exhibited from a sincere heart. Then one can sing the song of commitment, I’ll Live for Him and experience the truth of the wonderful lyric, “I’ll live for Him who died for me. How happy then my life shall be! I’ll live for Him who died for me, my Savior and my God.”