About “And Can It Be”

I enjoy listening to praise music as I meditate on Scripture, or when I’m prayer walking with my dog along the prairie paths of north Texas.  I have to admit, though, the old songs are some of the best.  Especially when it comes to theology.  Contemporary praise music is sometimes lightweight when it comes to theology.  Someone has characterized it as a seven word phrase repeated seven times.

Not so the old hymns.  Take Charles Wesley’s famous hymn, “And Can It Be That I Should Gain.”  If you don’t know this hymn, here is a link to it:  http://www.hymnary.org/text/and_can_it_be_that_i_should_gain

Charles Wesley was the other founder of Methodism, along with his brother, John Wesley.  He wrote this hymn in 1738.  It was written a short time after Charles had a heart warming experience at a Bible study in Aldersgate on May 20, 1738.  He came to realize that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

He wrote in his journal: 

At midnight I gave myself to Christ, assured that I was safe, whether sleeping or waking. I had the continual experience of His power to overcome all temptation, and I confessed with joy and surprise that He was able to do exceeding abundantly for me above what I can ask or think.

After this experience, Charles Wesley began to write hymns with a spirit of joyful exuberance.  Charles became the hymn writer of Methodism.  His hymns embodied the theology of the new Methodist revival.

And can it be that I should gain
An int’rest in the Saviour’s blood?
Died he for me, who caus’d his pain?
For me who him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be,
That thou, my Lord, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! how can it be,
That thou, my Lord, shouldst die for me? 

Romans 5:8–11 (NLT) But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

“Run the race!”




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