“Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder”

“LET US LOVE AND SING AND WONDER”

“…To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood…to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever!” (Rev. 1:5-6)

     INTRO.: A hymn which expresses glory and dominion to Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood is “Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder.” The text was written by John New­ton (1725-1807). In 1779 Newton, along with poet William Cowper, compiled three books of the Olney Hymns, but Newton had published other hymns previously, such as this one which first appeared in his 1774 work Twenty Six Letters on Religious Subjects, by Omicron. The modern text has been altered. Other Newton hymns which still appear in our books, in addition to his most famous one, “Amazing Grace,” include “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken,” “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds,” “Hungry, and Faint, and Poor,” and “May the Grace of Christ, Our Savior.”

     The tune (All Saints Old) most commonly used with “Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder” is by an anonymous composer and is taken from the Darmstadt Gesangbuch of 1698. As with several others of my weekly hymn studies, I first saw this song in the 1961 Orthodox Presbyterian hymnbook The Trinity Hymnal. Most denominational books do not use all the stanzas. (In another book, I have also seen the same tune used with the ancient Latin hymn, “Of the Father’s Love Begotten”).  Among hymnbooks published by brethren during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, it has not appeared or been found in any to my knowledge. Again, it is a shame, because the combination of words and music makes a powerful statement.

     The song gives several reasons why we should praise the one who washed us from our sins with His blood.

I. Stanza 1 explains that He is the Savior

“Let us love and sing and wonder,

Let us praise the Savior’s Name!

He has hushed the law’s loud thunder,

He has quenched Mount Sinai’s flame.

He has washed us with His blood,

He has brought us nigh to God.”

 A. One of the ways that we express our praise to Christ is by singing: Col. 3.16

 B. One reason why we should praise Him is because He is the Savior: Lk. 2.11

 C. The statement that “He has hushed the law’s loud thunder, He has quenched Mt. Sinai’s flame” is a poetically figurative way of saying that as our Savior He has removed the Old Testament law: Col. 2.14-17

II. Stanza 2 explains that He is the Lord who bought us

“Let us love the Lord Who bought us,

Pitied us when enemies,

Called us by His grace, and taught us,

Gave us ears and gave us eyes:

He has washed us with His blood,

He presents our souls to God.”

 A. Jesus is the Lord who bought us with a price: 1 Cor. 6.20

 B. This He did even while we were sinners or enemies of God: Rom. 5.8

 C. As part of the process of buying us, He came to teach us God’s will as His spokesman: Heb. 1.1-2

III. Stanza 3 explains that He is the conqueror who helps us overcome temptation

“Let us sing, though fierce temptation

Threaten hard to bear us down!

For the Lord, our strong Salvation,

Holds in view the conqueror’s crown:

He Who washed us with His blood

Soon will bring us home to God.”

 A. All of us face temptations in this life: Jas. 1.14-15

 B. Jesus is our strong salvation who will help us to overcome temptation: 1 Cor. 10.13

C. And to those who overcome, He holds forth the conqueror’s crown: Rev. 2.10-11

IV. Stanza 4 explains that He is the expression of God’s grace and justice

“Let us wonder; grace and justice

Join and point to mercy’s store;

When through grace in Christ our trust is,

Justice smiles and asks no more:

He Who washed us with His blood

Has secured our way to God.”

 A. God is a God of justice whose eternal law demands punishment for sin: Rev. 6.23

 B. However, He is also a God of mercy who wants us to be saved: Tit. 3.5

 C. Having sent Jesus as an expression of His grace and mercy to meet the punishment of death demanded by sin, He offers salvation to those who trust in Christ: Eph. 1.11-13

V. Stanza 5 explains that He is the Lamb who is praised by saints above

“Let us praise, and join the chorus

Of the saints enthroned on high;

Here they trusted Him before us,

Now their praises fill the sky:

‘Thou hast washed us with Thy blood;

Thou art worthy, Lamb of God!’”

 A. There is now, even a chorus, around the throne of God, which praises Him: Rev. 4.8-11

 B. This chorus includes saints who have already come out of great tribulation: Rev. 7.9-15

 C. They trusted Jesus before us and praise Him because He redeemed us to God by His blood: Rev. 5.8-10

VI. Stanza 6 explains that He is the One whose name is above all other names

“Hark! the Name of Jesus, sounded

Loud, from golden harps above!

Lord, we blush, and are confounded,

Faint our praises, cold our love!

Wash our souls and songs with blood,

For by Thee we come to God.”

 A. The name of Jesus deserves to be praised because it is above every name: Phil. 2.10-11

 B. This name is the object of the praise above that is figuratively pictured as golden harps: Rev. 14.1-3

 C. Even though by comparison our praise on earth may seem faint and cold, we still offer up the sacrifice of praise to God continually in the name of Jesus Christ: Heb. 13.15

     CONCL.: Once I read a book about hymn histories (actually, a fairly good book) which roundly criticized Philip P. Bliss’s hymn “Once for All” because it began, “Free from the law, O happy condition!” The author apparently believed that we are still bound to keep some part of the Old Testament law and thus objected to the statement that we are “free from the law,” even though Bliss was obviously basing his wording on Paul’s argument from Rom. 7.1-4 and even quotes from Rom. 8.2. However, the author also commended the hymns of John Newton as “theologically sound,” yet in this hymn Newton made the very same point with the statement, “He has hushed the law’s loud thunder, He has quenched Mt. Sinai’s flame.” Certainly, when we think of all that Christ has done for us, we can say, “Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder.”

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