And can it be that I should gain

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?
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
’Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies!
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love Divine!
’Tis mercy all! let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.
’Tis mercy all! let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.
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:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free;
For, O my God, it found out me.
’Tis mercy all, immense and free;
For, O my God, it found out me.
Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine!
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness Divine,
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Will Robertson

Roswell, Georgia, United States

Brother Slack, that the Lord Jesus emptied Himself of all but love means He retained His divine nature -- "God is love" (1 John 4:8; and see 1 John 4:7-12).

Although God's holiness cannot tolerate or overlook our sin, neither can His loving heart bear to lose us or part with us, despite the blackness of our fallen nature -- hence the astounding, wonderful, terrible and mysterious solution of the cross in the 2nd stanza of this hymn, a solution to the whole matter, our holy God righteously reconciling sinful man to Himself, a mystery Satan struggles to fathom but cannot, as we see in 1 Cor. 2:7-8:

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. [KJV]

Pastor Bill Slack

Phillipsburg, NJ, United States

Another part that more believers stumble over is "Emptied Himself of all but love" - It is true that in a very real sense, Christ did empty Himself (Phi. 2:7) - but the way Wesley wrote the verse it seems to imply He emptied Himself of EVERYTHING including His divinity.. which is an impossibility as He is and ever more shall be fully God and fully man.. In our congregation we have changed the lyric to "emptied Himself SO GREAT His love" - Emptied Himself of His glory because He loved us SO much!


Accra, Greater Accra, Ghana

Bob Kelly, this scripture should help your preacher friend:

“And without controversy great is the mystery of Godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory. ”

‭‭I Timothy‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


Walcha, NSW, Australia

"That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?" Yes! Jesus is God the Son who died in my place. Thomas is correct: "my Lord and my God."


Banbridge, Down, United Kingdom

Amazing love. That Jesus died for me.

Bob Kelly

Lisburn, United Kingdom

I asked my preacher friend if the brethren used this hymn. He said they did, but said that he personally would not give it out for doctrinal reasons. That Thou my God should die for me and the Immortal dies, sounds a bit strange, and I found it interesting reading through some of the comments quickly that people talk about Jesus or the Lord Jesus or Jesus Christ, just like the Bible, but not "my God" as in this hymn so strictly speaking it is perhaps not quite right.

George Laing

Accra, Awoshie, Ghana

Powerful hymn, well composed, Spirit inspired. It gives me Joy, and peace as I listen to it in my car and when meditating at home.


Toronto, ON, Canada

My morning inspiration and reminder of His awesome love for me.


Chestertown, MD, United States

“My chains fell off, my heart was free,

I rose, went forth, and followed Thee. ”

So thankful for His grace, love & truth that enables me to walk with more & more freedom. So powerful!


Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria

This hymn reaches to the deepest part of my soul with so a gentle touch. Then comes the tears of joy as I surrender myself in His presence.

We also need to turn to the Lord often because we need to be refreshed by Him. We should have no trust in ourselves. Apart from the Lord we can do nothing. Madame Guyon often renewed her vows to the Lord, which were her consecration. It is good to determine and vow to love the Lord for our whole life, but it will not be us who fulfill this vow. It is the Lord who accomplishes everything. Charles Wesley, an excellent hymn writer, in Hymns, #296, says, "Tis mystery all!... "Tis mercy all!" We need to realize that we do not fully understand anything and that everything is the Lord's mercy. It is altogether up to Him. The Lord grants particular mercy and compassion to certain persons (Rom. 9:15-16). We cannot know the reason; we can only enjoy Him.

The death of Christ was the death of a God-man (cf. 1 John 1:7; Acts 20:28). Hence, when Christ was hanging on the cross, God was with Him (cf. John 8:29, 16; 16:32). In one of his hymns Charles Wesley says, "How can it be / That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?" (Hymns, #296). Because Christ died on the cross as a God-man, God was in Christ when Christ was crucified and hung on the cross for us. On the cross Christ bore our sins and was made sin on our behalf (1 Pet. 2:24; Heb. 9:28; 2 Cor. 5:21). He also died in the likeness of the flesh of sin (Rom. 8: 3). In the flesh there are sin and Satan. When the Lord went to the cross to die for our redemption, He did not hang there alone. The old creation, the old man, the flesh, sin, and Satan were on Him, and they were crucified with Him (6: 6; Gal. 5:24; John 1:29; Heb. 2:14). Thus, the death of Christ terminated the old creation, the old man, the flesh, sin, and Satan.

Whenever I recall my years with the Lord, I am filled with gratitude. For more than fifty years, I have been the object of His mercy and grace. Throughout the course of these years, I have been carried by the wings of a great eagle. Many things which have taken place have been not at all according to my expectation. I thank the Lord that so many things did not work out according to my way, but according to His way. He always knows what I need. I never expected to come to this country, but the Lord has brought me here. Have You ever dreamed that You would be where You are today? In the words of a hymn written by Charles Wesley,

'Tis mercy all, immense and free;

For, O my God, it found out me.

What a mercy to be carried on the wings of a great eagle! At the mountain of God, the children of Israel could say, 'Lord, we are not here of ourselves. Your strong wings have brought us out of Egypt and carried us through the wilderness to this place, where we are here with You.'

When we preach the gospel, we should also be familiar with hymns on the assurance of salvation, such as Hymns, #309. It is not difficult for young people to sing hymns, because many of them have a good foundation in music. It is especially not difficult for the sisters to sing hymns, because God created them in this way. In Ecclesiastes 12:4 Solomon is referring to the vocal chords when he mentions "the daughters of song." When young people sing, there truly is music.

Among the hymns on the assurance of salvation, Hymns, #322, which is about "the Fountain that never runs dry," is a good hymn. Another good hymn is #296, which was written by Charles Wesley. This is not an emotional hymn; it is very elegant. The first stanza says, "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? / Amazing love! how can it be / That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?" The fourth stanza is also very good. When the young saints invite their professors to a meeting, it is good to sing hymns with them. We can choose a stanza that we like and lead our professors to sing with us. This will help them to receive the Lord Jesus. When we sing a hymn, others should be touched. We should then sing with them according to how they are touched. Hymns, #499 is also a good hymn to sing. If we are always singing these hymns, it will be difficult for our gospel friends not to be touched and to believe in the Lord.

We should not say directly and initially that the crucifixion was God's crucifixion. Instead, we should say that this was Christ's crucifixion. When we are sharing the truth concerning the crucifixion, we need to take steps like that of a stairway. We should not jump from the top of a building to the ground floor. This is to commit suicide. Instead, we must have a stairway.

Without His Divine Trinity, God could not have moved in the crucifixion. Who can crucify God? Yet Charles Wesley said in one of his hymns: "Amazing love! how can it be/That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?" and "'Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies!" (Hymns, #296). Charles Wesley said that God died for him and that the Immortal One died. This means that He who cannot die, died for us. No one could crucify God if He remained in His divinity, but Christ as the manifestation of God in the flesh was crucified. The Divine Trinity is involved here. The crucifixion of Christ was the death in which God moved in man. God moved in another's crucifixion, but this other One is the embodiment of God. The first One moved in the second One's death, and the second One is the embodiment of the first One. This is the stairway we need to understand the crucifixion.

All proper Christians admit that they were redeemed by Christ's paying the price for them. Christ died and shed His blood for us. He died on the cross as our replacement. The Bible tells us that God decided to crucify Christ (Isa. 53:10). If Christ had not died as our replacement, then God would have become unrighteous in crucifying Christ, because Christ is the only person who is absolutely righteous and just. One of Charles Wesley's hymns says, "Amazing love! how can it be/That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?" (Hymns, #296). The just God-man died for the unjust sinners (1 Pet. 3:18), so His death is called the vicarious death. One just God-man died for many unjust sinners. Such a vicarious death is judicial. God redeemed us judicially by the blood of Christ. To redeem, in a sense, is to purchase. When you purchase something, you have to pay the price. God's redemption is a kind of purchase. God purchased us sinners judicially by paying Christ's blood as the price on the cross.

Also, Christ was crucified on the cross for us, and He was on the cross for six hours. In the first three hours, Christ was persecuted by men for doing God's will; in the last three hours, He was judged by God for the accomplishment of our redemption. It was during this time that God counted Him as our suffering substitute for sin (Isa. 53:10). Hence, darkness came over all the land (Matt. 27:45), because our sin and sins and all negative things were dealt with there. Near the end of these six hours Jesus cried out, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matt. 27:46). God forsook Him because of our sin. Economically, God was judging Him as a sinner and the judging God left Him economically. Essentially, however, He was dying on the cross as the Triune God-man. This is why Charles Wesley in one of his hymns (Hymns, #296) says, "Amazing love! how can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?" Economically, God cannot die for us, but essentially, God within Jesus died for us. Actually, however, that was not God dying, but God passing through death.

More than two centuries ago, Charles Wesley wrote a hymn that speaks of God dying for us. In this hymn Wesley says:

Amazing love! How can it be

That thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

In this hymn Wesley goes on to say, "'Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies!" Here Wesley declares that God died for us. Charles Wesley saw the vision concerning this and declared in his hymn that God died for us.

The God who died for us is not the God before incarnation. Prior to incarnation, God certainly did not have blood, and He could not have died for us. It was after the incarnation, in which God was mingled with humanity, that He died for us. Through incarnation, our God, the Creator, the eternal One, Jehovah, became mingled with man. As a result, He was no longer only God—He became a God-man. As the God-man, He surely had blood and was able to die for us.

Paul said in Acts 20:28 that the blood that Christ shed on the cross was God's own blood. God bought, purchased, the church with His own blood, so the church is so dear, so beloved, in the feeling of God and in the eyes of God. This was the word spoken by Paul to the elders of Ephesus. He was impressing the elders from Ephesus that they should love the church, considering the church very dear and beloved as God does. The church is so dear and beloved to God in His feeling, so He purchased the church with His own blood. The Bible in Acts 20:28 says that the divine God has human blood.

As we have pointed out, Charles Wesley wrote a very good hymn with a good melody, in which he spoke of the crucifixion of Christ. This is hymn #296 in our hymnal. A number of years ago, I translated this hymn into Chinese. Charles Wesley had the boldness to say in this hymn that the immortal God died for us. I am so glad that he declared this truth and that it is printed in the hymnal.