All that we were—our sin, our guilt

1
All that we were—our sin, our guilt,
  Our death—was all our own:
All that we are we owe to Thee,
  Thou God of grace alone.
2
Thy mercy found us in our sins,
  And gave us to believe;
Then, in believing, peace we found,
  And in Thy Christ we live.
3
All that we are, as saints on earth,
  All that we hope to be,
When Jesus comes and glory dawns,
  We owe it all to Thee.
4
O God, how rich, how vast Thy love,
  Whoe’er can Thee repay?
Thy love is past man’s finding out,
  Thy grace no man can say.
5
But Lord, to me I pray Thee grant,
  More clearly may I see,
That I may e’er more fully know
  How much I owe to Thee.
6
But if man’s heart should e’er suppose
  He could repay Thy love,
It only means he nothing knows
  Of love, all loves above.
7
So may we never bargains make
  With that dear love of Thine:
The love that made Thine heart once break,
  Whoe’er that love could win?
8
Then nevermore suggest return,
  His love is far too high;
But let our hearts with rapture burn
  That He for us should die.
9
O Father God, we owe Thee all!
  All that we are and have!
With grateful thanks before Thee fall,
  ’Tis all that we can give.
1
Edward Chang

San Diego, CA, United States

I would personally recommend this hymn be sung to the alternate tune to better match the feeling of the writer (i. e. , the tune of hymn, #600).

This is truly a wonderful hymn. It may not be high in its revelation, but it is indeed deep in its feeling. The sentiment expressed in this hymn is not that of someone who is trying to teach us something of God, but of someone who truly knows just how much a sinner they are and how much a salvation the Savior, our dear, precious Lord Jesus Christ has won us. These stanzas touch me very deeply:

But Lord, to me I pray Thee grant,

More clearly may I see,

That I may e’er more fully know

How much I owe to Thee.

But if man’s heart should e’er suppose,

He could repay Thy love,

It only means he nothing knows

Of love, all loves above.

So may we never bargains make

With that dear love of Thine:

The love that made Thine heart once break,

Whoe’er that love could win?

I feel the writer here had a fundamental yet often overlooked realization (one I find very lacking among us younger ones today) which is that we owe our lives to the dying love of the Lord and of the love our Father had toward us.

The words of our Lord to the sinful woman caught in adultery come to mind: "... her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little" (Luke 7:47). I sense the words of this hymn can only have come from one who truly knew what it was to be forgiven. It dawned on me one day just how much our God has given to us, the sinful, prodigal children that today we should be called the sons of God. This hymn brought to me a deep repentance with tears and a heart full of love and gratitude toward our God and Father. And though seemingly so basic, I could not help but feel the freshness of my rekindled love for the Father. How short my realization had been all those years! "O Father God, we owe Thee all!"