Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Comment on a Hymn

Not What My Hands Have Done

This is a good hymn because it is an honest hymn. The problems that we face are not minor, and our hymn writer acknowledges that. He admits to having a 'guilty soul'. There is nothing that he can do to 'make his spirit whole'. He cannot give himself 'peace with God'. And nothing that he does can 'bear the awful load' of guilt and the lack of peace.

But our hymn writer is a Christian, and he understands the Gospel well. And so, he has hope. He knows that it is Christ who 'can ease this weight of sin'. And it is Jesus' death that 'can give me peace within'. It is God's love to him and not his to God that 'can rid me of this dark unreast and set my spirit free'.

He paints a very dark and ugly picture of his situation at first so that he can then praise the glorious brilliance and beauty of the Gospel.

Not what my hands have done
Can save my guilty soul;
Not what my toiling flesh has borne
Can make my spirit whole.
Not what I feel or do
Can give me peace with God;
Not all my prayers and sighs and tears
Can bear my awful load.

Thy work alone, O Christ,
Can ease this weight of sin;
Thy blood alone, O Lamb of God,
Can give me peace within.
Thy love to me, O God,
Not mine, O Lord, to Thee,
Can rid me of this dark unrest,
And set my spirit free.

Thy grace alone, O God,
To me can pardon peak;
Thy power alone, O Son of God,
Can this sore bondage break.
No other work, save thine,
No other blood will do;
No strength, save that which is divine,
can bear me safely through.

I bless the Christ of God;
I rest on love divine;
And with unfaltering lip and heart
I call this Savior mine.
His cross dispels each doubt;
I bury in His tomb
Each thought of unbelief and fear,
Each lingering shade of gloom.

I praise the God of grace;
I trust His truth and might;
He calls me His, I call Him mine,
My God, my joy and light.
’Tis He who saveth me,
And freely pardon gives;
I love because He loveth me,
I live because He lives.

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