AND CAN IT BE THAT I SHOULD GAIN?
Charles Wesley, 1707–1788
To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood… (Revelation 1:5)
Can any believer contemplate the “amazing love” of Calvary without sharing the awe and wonder of Charles Wesley’s questions in today’s hymn? Written a short time after his “heart-warming” Aldersgate experience on May 20, 1738, this song of grateful adoration for God’s great plan of redemption has been one of the most deeply moving and treasured hymns for more than 200 years.
Even though he had a strict religious training in his youth, education at Oxford University, and missionary service in the new colony of Georgia, Charles Wesley had no peace or joy in his heart and life. Returning to London after a discouraging time in America, he met with a group of Moravians in the Aldersgate Hall and came to realize that “salvation is by faith alone.” In his journal of May 20th he wrote:
At midnight I gave myself to Christ, assured that I was safe, whether sleeping or waking. I had the continual experience of His power to overcome all temptation, and I confessed with joy and surprise that He was able to do exceeding abundantly for me above what I can ask or think.
In this spirit of joyous enthusiasm, Charles began to write new hymns with increased fervor. He traveled throughout Great Britain with his older brother John a quarter of a million miles, mostly on horseback, leading great crowds in singing his hymns in mass outdoor services of 40,000 people.
With every new spiritual experience or thought that crossed Charles’ mind, a new hymn was born. Even on his deathbed it is said that he dictated to his wife a final hymn of praises to the Lord he had loved so intimately and served so effectively.
And can it be that I should gain an int’rest in the Savior’s blood? Died He for me, who caused His pain? For me, who Him to death pursued?
He left His Father’s throne above, so free, so infinite His grace! Emptied Himself of all but love, and bled for Adam’s helpless race.
No condemnation now I dread; I am my Lord’s and He is mine: Alive in Him, my living Head, and clothed in righteousness divine.
Refrain: Amazing love! How can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Romans 5:8; Colossians 1:12-14; Hebrews 9:11, 12; 1 Peter 1:18, 19; Revelation 5:9
Live in the joy and freedom of being “alive in Him” and free of all condemnation. Carry this musical truth with you—