How Deep The Father’s Love For Us
w/m Stuart Townend
How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
At the “Sing!” conference this past year, we received a true “Master Class” in songwriting from none other than Stuart Townend. Not only is he quite possibly the best modern hymn lyric writer of our day, but his work inspired many other great writers to compose songs specifically for corporate worship in the church, chief of whom would be Keith and Kristyn Getty.
In a culture where many congregations are being fed dumbed-down, repetitive lyrics that build only because of driving drums in the bridge or a catchy hook in the chorus, Townend shows what a master of melody and poetry can do to lift the soul by the very truths of scripture.
How deep the Father’s love for us is a theological lesson carried along by a rich melody that fits the lyric like a glove. How deep the Father's love for us, how vast beyond all measure. Many songs start this way and never answer the question, “What makes that love so vast, so deep, so great?” This song does, immediately… That He should give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure. It should amaze us, humble us, and bring us to our knees to think about the cost of our salvation… the only begotten Son of God. We live in a self-esteem era in the church today, where we’re constantly told that “We’re worth it”, that “God doesn’t make any junk”, and “God couldn’t stand to be without us so that’s why He sent His Son.” We have lost sight of who we are. We have lost the understanding of how much of a wretch, a wicked rebellious lot, depraved enemies of God we truly are, and it has been a disservice to the church. This song, in contrast, correctly describes the nature of man as well as the nature of God.
How great the pain of searing loss. The Father turns His face away as wounds which mar the Chosen One bring many sons to glory. The beatings were brutal, the nails were torturous, the crown of thorns was barbarous, but the worst part of the passion of the Christ was when the Father, with which He had eternally known perfect fellowship, turned and poured His wrath on His Son. This was the only way. Every sin must be paid for and either we will pay for our sins for all eternity in the lake of fire, or Christ will pay for them on the cross, giving us His perfect life in exchange.
Behold the man upon a cross, my sin upon His shoulders. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers. Boy this line gets me every time because it puts me there… at the crucifixion. Too many times I feel 2,000 years removed from the event, but my sins were as present there as the sins of the Romans who drove in the nails, and the Jews who chorused “Crucify Him”.
It was my sin that held Him there until it was accomplished. His dying breath has brought me life. I know that it is finished. When Jesus exclaimed, “It is Finished”, there was nothing more that had to be done. God’s plan of salvation, the sending of His Son, the pouring out of the wrath, the atoning for the sins, was accomplished. Jesus work was done. Salvation was accomplished 100%.
I will not boast in anything, no gifts, no power, no wisdom. If salvation were 99% of God and 1% of us, we wouldn’t have much to boast about, but we’d have more than the person who rejected when we believed. However, we have no boasting in anything of ourselves. Salvation is of God and even the good works we do as believers are only because of the Holy Spirit producing the right fruit in us. Regardless of our talents, knowledge, or place in this world, the only good in us is Jesus. But I will boast in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer, but this I know with all my heart, His wounds have paid my ransom. There is no logical explanation why the eternal Creator God would send His Son to earth and suffer so that His enemies might one day become sons of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. It makes no earthly sense, but this we know, that God will receive glory from it and that is the chief end of man.
Bill Itzel has been a worship leader and singer/songwriter for over 30 years and is based in Westminster, MD. His family tours and leads worship around the country. Bill and his family attend Belcroft Bible Church in Bowie, MD. This is a blog about congregational worship and the latest news in the The Itzel's ministry.