“Christ also suffered for us . . . Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness” (I Peter 2:21,24).
Those who love good church music have come to love Charles Wesley’s commitment to and knowledge of His Savior and the Scriptures, for he wove into his music and poetry deep insights which challenge and thrill us even today. One of his finest hymns, “And Can It Be That I Should Gain?” has unfortunately been much abridged in modern hymnals. Let us use its original five verses as an impetus to study the doctrinal themes expressed there:
And can it be that I should gain, An interest 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 Lord, should’st die for me?
Even the Old Testament saints wondered why God loved man so. “What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?” (Job 7:17). The New Testament contains many similar expressions of wonder. “Behold, what manner of love (literally ‘what a different kind of love’) the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (I John 3:1). “God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. . . . And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:8,11).
The point is, we were desperate sinners, deserving His wrath. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love (i.e., ‘amazing love’) wherewith He loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)” (Ephesians 2:4,5).
He has extended His love toward us, undeserving though we are.
Amazing love! How can it be, that thou my God should’st die for me? JDM