Lenten Series: And Can It Be?

On Sunday evenings, our church services were often heavy on singing favorite hymns spontaneously selected by those in the service. The high school Sunday school teacher had been a Lutheran before he married a girl from our church so I thought this hymn had its roots in that church tradition. Nearly twenty years ago when we began attending Central United Methodist church I was surprised to see it was written by Charles Wesley.

Corona Baptist

It is a great hymn to guide one’s thoughts about the mystery of our salvation. Human love might sacrifice for children or friends, but to take the death sentence for the one who wronged us? Sometimes it is all we can do to forgive them. But Jesus died for us, the very ones who have pierced his soul and broken His father’s heart.

While I’ve always believed that God existed, was omniscient, and eternal, this hymn roused a new question. “The immortal, eternal God-man died.” It does not seem possible. But because God designed this redemption plan, it happened. And it happened for our release from bondage, to release us from enslavement, and imprisonment in chains of our own making.

chains

Not only are we free of the wages of sin in death, but we can live free from fear. Jesus’ sacrifice has released us from condemnation, from the need to make blood sacrifices, to have a relationship with God the Father that is personal and intimate.

As you reflect on the words of this hymn, may it help you see the glory of Easter in a new way.

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And can it be that I should gain
An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

’Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies!

Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love Divine!
’Tis mercy all! let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.
’Tis mercy all! let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father’s throne above,
So free, so infinite His grace;
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free;
For, O my God, it found out me.
’Tis mercy all, immense and free;
For, O my God, it found out me.

Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine!
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness Divine,
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

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