The Unfailing Love of God
by Gordie Coffin
“The Love of God,” written and composed by Frederick Lehman is my wife’s favorite hymn. The third stanza of the hymn compels us to ponder God’s character, as it paints a picture of His love for us:
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
Lehman’s hymn expresses the vastness of God’s love, yet the beauty of these lyrics does not explain why God’s love is so remarkable. God’s love is remarkable because it reconciles two conflicting truths: 1. We are utterly sinful and 2. God is infinitely holy.
The dichotomy between man’s sin and God’s holiness is a problem that we cannot resolve. Our good works to bridge this gap cannot pay for the debt accrued by our sin. In fact, God refers to such deeds as “filthy garments” (Is. 64:6), as they are offered as bribes to account for a debt we could never pay. God’s justice and righteousness demand a satisfactory payment for sin. The problem is that sin against an infinite God requires an infinite punishment. Eternity in hell is the requirement. What a miserable truth.
In Romans 5:6-8, the apostle Paul provides the answer to this seemingly insurmountable scenario:
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
What great news! While we were in our helpless, sinful condition, God provided a way. The way is Jesus Christ and it is in Christ that God most fully demonstrates His love toward us. We would be on our way to an eternal hell if it were not for God’s love. Praise the Lord!
Though Lehman’s lyrics may paint a picture of God’s love, the depth of His love is grasped in the gospel. When we confront the seriousness of our sin and consider the price God paid to rescue us, we are compelled to praise God for His unconditional, unwavering love.