“The Depth of God’s Love”

"But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8)

     INTRO.: A song which reminds us that God commended His love toward us in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us is "The Depth of God’s Love" (#164 in Hymns for Worship Revised, and #302 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written and the tune (Riches and Depth, or Teddlie) was composed both by Tillit Sidney Teddlie (1885-1987). The song was first published in 1938. Teddlie was a prolific songwriter among churches of Christ. Some of his well known hymns include "Singing Redemption’s Song," "Hear Me When I Call," "Heaven Holds All to Me," "Songs of Salvation," "Into Our Hands" (with words by Ruth Carruth), "O God of Infinite Mercy," "True Worship," "In the Service of My King," "What Will Your Answer Be?", "The Lord’s Supper," and "Worthy Art Thou."

     Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, "The Depth of God’s Love," sometimes identified by its opening line, "O(h) the Depth and the Riches," appeared in the 1938 Spiritual Melodies and the 1965 Great Christian Hymnal No. 2 both edited by Teddlie; and the 1978 Hymns of Praise edited by Reuel Lemmons. Today it may be found in the 1971 Songs of the Church, the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed., and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise all edited by Alton H. Howard; the 1978/1983 Church Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; and the 1999 Into Our Hands: Songs for the Church edited by Leland R. Fleming; in addition to Hymns for Worship, Sacred Selections, and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat.

     The song expresses praise and thanks for the suffering of Christ on our behalf.

I. Stanza 1 emphasizes the cross of Christ
"O, the depth and the riches of God’s saving grace
Flowing down from the cross for me!
There the debt for my sins by the Savior was paid
In His suffering on Calvary!"
 A. We surely need to thank God for the depth of His riches: Rom. 11:33
 B. Especially we need to be thankful for that which flowed down from the cross: 1 Cor. 1:18, Gal. 6:114
 C. It was there that the price was paid for our debt to purchase us: Acts 20:28, 1 Cor. 6:18

II. Stanza 2 emphasizes the agony of Christ
"How my heart humbly bows in His presence today
When I think of His agony;
By His stripes I am freed from the bondage of sin
Through His suffering on Calvary!"
 A. There is a sense in which we are always in the presence of Christ, but there is a special sense in which we come into His presence when we assemble together: Matt. 18:20, 28:20
 B. From time to time, and most of all on the first day of the week when we come together to break bread, we should think of His agony as prophesied in the Old Testament; Isa. 53:1-3
 C. The reason why this is so important is that it is by His stripes that we are freed from the bondage of sin: 1 Pet. 2:24

III. Stanza 3 emphasizes the blood of Christ
"O, what marvelous mercy, what infinite love!
What immeasurable grace I see!
By His blood I am cleansed; I am happy and free
Through His suffering on Calvary!"
 A. The death of Christ demonstrates the infinite love and marvelous mercy of God: Jn. 3:16
 B. It reminds us that it is by grace that we can be justified: Tit. 3:3-7
 C. However, we must remember that being justified by grace demanded the blood of Christ for our redemption to cleanse us from sin: Eph. 1:7, 1 Jn. 1:7

     CONCL.: The chorus continues to point to the suffering of Christ as the greatest manifestation of God’s love.
"O, the (riches and) depth of such wonderful love,
Flowing boundless and full and free!
And the debt (on the cross) for my sins was all paid
In His suffering on Calvary!"
In my experience, this song has become very popular for use before the Lord’s supper, and it is certainly appropriate for that purpose, since that is one special time each week when we need to focus our thoughts on the suffering and death of Christ as the supreme expression of "The Depth of God’s Love."


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