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Depth of Mercy!

Depth of Mercy!

         Depth of mercy! Can there be
Mercy still reserved for me?
Can my God His wrath forbear,
Me, the chief of sinners, spare?

         (Depth of Mercy, Charles Wesley, 1740)

This is the opening stanza of a hymn written by Charles Wesley, who wrote over 6,000 hymns in his lifetime. I was immediately grabbed by the strong emotions in this hymn. It lends voice to feelings we have all experienced before – in moments when we do not dare to lift our head up before God, when we know we do not deserve to ask for anything, when we are unsure if He can forgive us this time around.

The questions in the lyrics are posed by one who does not dare presume that there is grace left for him. It can be easy to imagine mercy reserved for others more faithful, patient, and loving – but not for us, the worst of sinners.

So what an overwhelming joy it is to know that He came for the weak, weary, and broken. The healthy have no need of a doctor. Instead, He came for us – the most stubborn, the one with the worst temper, the ones who have failed time and time again. What a blessing it is that “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities” (Ps 103:10)!

Though we have a Savior who is faithful to forgive our sins, it is important for us to understand how sinful we are and how great is our debt to God. Even though we do not the pay the full price for our sin, someone else did – and still is!

The more we realize how much God has borne for us, the deeper of an impression God’s forgiveness will leave on us. This is illustrated in a story told by Jesus of a creditor who was owed 500 denarii by one debtor and 50 denarii by another. Neither had money for repayment, yet both were forgiven.

Jesus asked Simon, “Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have rightly judged” (Lk 7:42b-43).

Questions for Reflection

1.     Are you the debtor that owes 500 denarii or 50 denarii?

2.     How will you love Him more and show your gratitude for the depths of His mercy?


Author: Ruhamah