A debtor to mercy alone

A debtor to mercy alone,
Of covenant mercy I sing,
Nor fear, with God’s righteousness on,
My person and off’rings to bring.
The terrors of law and of God
With me can have nothing to do;
My Savior’s obedience and blood
Hide all my transgressions from view.
The work which His goodness began,
The arm of His strength will complete;
His promise is Yea and Amen,
And never was forfeited yet.
Things future, nor things that are now,
Not all things below or above,
Can make Him His purpose forego,
Or sever my soul from His love.
My name from the palms of His hands
Eternity will not erase;
Imprest on His heart, it remains
In marks of indelible grace.
Yes! I to the end shall endure,
As sure as the earnest is giv’n;
More happy, but not more secure,
When all earthly ties have been riv’n.
Mary Flynn


I’m coming to the end of the two part biography of Martyn Lloyd Jones (p737)

He often quoted that line: ‘A debtor to mercy alone’.

Thank God for the grace that enables us to see this truth.


My Savior’s obedience and blood hide all my transgressions from view


Burton, Michigan, United States

Several lines from this hymn remind me of the OT teaching on the Nazarite in Numbers 6. There is a sense in which believers in Jesus Christ are "spiritual Nazarites" for we are set apart from sin unto righteousness. Yet, our "persons and offerings" are not without sin, which was certainly the case of any OT Nazarite at the end of his/her vow period. Yet, in God's "covenant mercy", we are accepted in the Beloved, for we are in union with Christ Jesus. The Nazarite's token of consecration (hair) was burned under the peace offering's fire showing us that consecration to God is only acceptable to Him through the blood of sacrifice. Similarly, "Our Saviour's obedience and blood hide all our transgressions from view." So be encouraged that we and even our service to God are acceptable to Him through Christ's blood-bought merits (1 Pet 2:5).

On another note, still in Numbers 5, we read the High Priestly blessing: "The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: the LORD make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee..." Remember in Luke 24 how Jesus Christ "lifted up His hands, and blessed" His disciples at His ascension? The disciples saw the marks of the nails on Christ's hands - Our High Priest's sufferings have purchased God's "mercy" for us. "My name from the palm of His hands eternity will not erase..."


Spartanburg, SC, United States

I read in the diary & letters of Ruth Bryan (1805-1860) “Handfuls of Purpose” and she mentions the last two lines in this hymn as “More happy, but not more secure, the glorified spirits in heaven”.

Leigh Powell

United Kingdom

Paul who wrote he was debtor to the Greeks also wrote he was not ashamed of the gospel.

The gospel tells us that we are born as sinners who need to be saved. This happens when people repent of their sins and believe that the Lord Jesus, God's only begotten Son, took away our sins on the cross.

Once people are born again as children of God (John 3 verse 3, Romans 8 verses 14 to 17) they have everlasting life and know the Lord Jesus as Saviour and Lord as well as knowing the Father ( John 3 verse 16, 17 verse 3). Knowing the Lord Jesus as Saviour also means that they are saved from their sins and its power Matthew 1 vers 21).


In the "Hymns of Worship and Remebrance", the last line is "More happy, but not more secure, the souls of the blessed in heaven."

Betty Bonn

Dunlap, Illinois, United States

Charles Spurgeon quotes this hymn in his devotional book, Morning and Evening. A beautiful meditation for February 13 precedes it, concluding with the following: "All the love and the acceptance which perfect obedience could have obtained of God, belong to thee, because Christ was perfectly obedient on thy behalf, and hath imputed all His merits to thy account, that thou mightst be exceeding rich through Him, who for thy sake became exceeding poor. Oh! how great the debt of love and gratitude thou owest to thy Saviour! Morning and Evening.




william mccartney

Ballymena, County Antrim, United Kingdom

Not by works but by the sovereign mercy of God.


Columbus, ND, United States

It is really mercy. And it is the Father's great love towards us, and His dear Son's obedience to the death of the cross, that this mercy has taken effect by the application of the Spirit, as we believe and as we receive the divine power to become the sons of God, which sons we are, and the whole creation is waiting for us to be manifested. What a mercy, that we sinners become the sons of God! Christ, the son of Man, has made the way for us, by His all-inclusive death upon the cross and by His all glorious, victorious resurrection. And it is in His ascension that He is bringing us into glory. Praise the Father! Praise the Son! Praise the Spirit! Praise our God, the Three in One!!!