Countless songs have been written about the love of God for his people. Many songs, however, particularly modern worship songs, lack specificity. When I sing a song to God about his love for the church corporately or me individually, I want to be specific in my praise toward God. Rather than simply singing, “O how he loves me” (which is true!), I want to rejoice in him for the truth that “in love, he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:4b-5).
One of the greatest songs written on the theme of the love of God (in English, at least), in my opinion, is “The Love of Christ Is Rich and Free” by William Gadsby. The words express the why and how of God’s love. You can read the lyrics below. It’s no secret that I love hymns, but hymns are not all we should sing. I pray that a generation of Christian musicians and poets would write new songs that reflect the same breadth and depth of gospel joy and insight as do the great hymns of old.
The Love of Christ is Rich and Free
The love of Christ is rich and free;
Fixed on His own eternally;
Nor earth, nor hell, can it remove;
Long as He lives, His own He’ll love.
His loving heart engaged to be
Their everlasting Surety;
’Twas love that took their cause in hand,
And love maintains it to the end.
Chorus: Love cannot from its post withdraw;
Nor death, nor hell, nor sin, nor law,
Can turn the Surety’s heart away;
He’ll love His own to endless day.
Love has redeemed His sheep with blood;
And love will bring them safe to God;
Love calls them all from death to life;
And love will finish all their strife.
He loves through every changing scene,
Nor aught from Him can Zion wean;
Not all the wanderings of her heart
Can make His love for her depart.
At death, beyond the grave, He’ll love;
In endless bliss, His own shall prove
The blazing glory of that love
Which never could from them remove.