Let Us Love, and Sing, and Wonder

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 Words: John Newton, 1774
Tune: "All Saints Old," Darmstadt Gesanbuch, 1698

The first line of this hymn is an exhortation to do four things: love, sing, wonder, and praise. Newton, the hymn's author, helps us along by expounding on each of these items in the remaining stanzas. In doing so, he helps us to understand why we ought to love the Lord who bought us; sing, though fierce temptation threaten; wonder, grace and justice join and point to mercy; and praise...join(ing) the chorus of the saints enthroned on high.

In all of this, our focus is drawn primarily to the beauty of Christ and the cross. That grace and justice join is a weighty thing to ponder in itself, and doing so certainly enhances our understanding of and appreciation for the rest of the hymn. The cross is horrifying, and beautiful; scandalous, and glorious; a display of wrath, and a display of mercy. Because God is just, the full weight of his wrath is necessarily kindled against sin. Because God is merciful, He extends infinite grace by sending His only Son, Jesus Christ, to absorb His just wrath (Isaiah 53:10-12). We should pause here and consider the fact that, indeed, this death was indescribably horrific. Indeed, it is we who were truly deserving. As another hymn reminds us - "What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners' gain. Mine, mine, was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain. Lo, here I fall my Savior, 'Tis I deserve Thy place." Yet, though we deserved His place on the cross, He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God, in Him (2 Cor. 5:21). 

The grace of the cross loses its beauty when we fail to understand the justice of the cross. Further, we cannot begin to properly understand the weight of sin until we see it in light of God's infinite holiness.  Newton helps us to see the intersection of grace and justice at the cross. He unpacks this concept throughout the hymn, effectively prompting us to Love, Sing, Wonder, and Praise in light of this glorious truth.

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Let us love and sing and wonder,
Let us praise the Savior’s Name!
He has hushed the law’s loud thunder,
He has quenched Mount Sinai’s flame.
He has washed us with His blood,
He has brought us nigh to God.

Let us love the Lord Who bought us,
Pitied us when enemies,
Called us by His grace, and taught us,
Gave us ears and gave us eyes:
He has washed us with His blood,
He presents our souls to God.

Let us sing, though fierce temptation
Threaten hard to bear us down!
For the Lord, our strong Salvation,
Holds in view the conqueror’s crown:
He Who washed us with His blood
Soon will bring us home to God.

Let us wonder; grace and justice
Join and point to mercy’s store;
When through grace in Christ our trust is,
Justice smiles and asks no more:
He Who washed us with His blood
Has secured our way to God.

Let us praise, and join the chorus
Of the saints enthroned on high;
Here they trusted Him before us,
Now their praises fill the sky:
“Thou hast washed us with Your blood;
Thou art worthy, Lamb of God!”

Music from the Trinity Hymnal, Baptist Edition (p.127).

Icon Soprano (20.9 MB) , Icon Alto (5.0 MB) , Icon Tenor (5.0 MB) , Icon Bass (4.5 MB)