Posted by: rcottrill | May 9, 2010

Today in 1760 – Nikolaus von Zinzendorf Died

The prophet Isaiah says of God, “He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments” (Isa. 61:10). When the sinner trusts Christ as his personal Saviour, it is as though he has been clothed in the very righteousness of Christ (Gal. 3:26-27). Thus when God looks to see his fitness for the kingdom, He sees not the soiled garments of sin but the glorious perfections of His dear Son.

That truth captivated the imagination of a man with an imposing name. He was Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, who belonged to one of the most noble and wealthy families in Saxony, Germany. Zinzendorf was a sincere Christian, who joined himself to the Moravian Brethren, a group known both for their great heart for missions, and for their inspiring sacred music. In 1739, Count von Zinzendorf went to visit and encourage some Moravian missionaries in the West Indies.

At the time of his return voyage, he wrote a hymn he called “The Believer’s Triumph” (today known as Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness). The original German text had 33 verses! The count’s friend John Wesley translated the hymn into English, omitting nine of these. (For a bit more about John Wesley, see Today in 1791.) Many modern hymnals have reduced the number of stanzas of this hymn to only four, but here are five:

Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress;
’Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head.

Bold shall I stand in Thy great day;
For who aught to my charge shall lay?
Fully absolved through these I am
From sin and fear, from guilt and shame.

Lord, I believe Thy precious blood,
Which, at the mercy seat of God,
Forever doth for sinners plead,
For me, e’en for my soul, was shed.

Lord, I believe were sinners more
Than sands upon the ocean shore,
Thou hast for all a ransom paid,
For all a full atonement made.

When from the dust of death I rise
To claim my mansion in the skies,
Ev’n then this shall be all my plea,
Jesus hath lived, hath died, for me.

(2) Today in 1905 – Merrill Dunlop Born
When a sinner puts his faith in the Saviour, his sins are forgiven. “In Him [Christ] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7). And when God forgives, He wipes the record clean.“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus….Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who dies, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us” (Rom. 8:1, 34).

God tells Israel at one point, “I have blotted out like a thick cloud your transgressions” (Isa. 44:22). And the prophet Micah exclaims, “Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity…You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea” (Mic. 7:18-19). Merrill Dunlop (1905-2002) meditated on this amazing truth during the course of a long sea voyage.

After coming to Christ in his early teens, and attending Bible college, Dunlop joined the staff of the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle where he used his musical gifts in ministry. He wrote over 700 hymns and gospel songs. In 1927, Merrill Everett Dunlop set off across the Atlantic bound for Ireland on board the liner Leviathan. As he walked the deck, the words of Micah came to his mind. He says:

[I thought] upon the great dimensions of the sea–the breadth and depth, and what the Bible says about our sins–buried in those depths–removed–blotted out! Then, making it personal, I said, “My sins are blotted out, I know!”

As soon as that statement came to mind, a tune sprang to life with it, and he quickly jotted it down, adding several verses to complete the song. It was first introduced some time later in the city of Toronto, where Paul Rader, Dunlop’s pastor, held a large evangelistic campaign.

What a wondrous message in God’s Word!
My sins are blotted out, I know!
If I trust in His redeeming blood,
My sins are blotted out, I know!

My sins are blotted out, I know!
My sins are blotted out, I know!
They are buried in the depths of the deepest sea:
My sins are blotted out, I know!


  1. […] Wesley made excellent translations of German, French, and Spanish hymns. Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness, and Jesus, Thy Boundless Love to Me, were translated from German by John Wesley. He also edited […]

  2. Thanks for the blog on Zinzendorf’s hymn. I was weeding in my garden this afternoon and found myself singing, “Lord, I believe were sinners more… I had sung this hymn often as a child but rarely hear it anymore. I left the garden, and googled those few lines and found all five wonderful verses. I will go to church tomorrow, but have already had my Sabbath blessing in letting the Spirit assure me once again of God’s boundless grace for myself and others.

    • Thanks for an encouraging post. Always glad to hear a great hymn such as that one has been a blessing. Drop by any time. Something new every day.

  3. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber […]

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