Posted by: rcottrill | May 19, 2014

O It Is Wonderful

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Words: Charles Hutchinson Gabriel (b. Aug. 18, 1856; d. Sept. 15, 1932)
Music: Charles Hutchinson Gabriel

Wordwise Hymns (Charles Gabriel)
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: this gospel song was first published in 1898.

Wonderful! It’s a word that’s found many, many times in our hymnody. Even Charles Gabriel’s fine hymn, My Saviour’s Love, says in the refrain, “How marvelous! How wonderful!…Is my Saviour’s love to me!” But here’s a short list where the word is found in a number of song titles.

My God, How Wonderful Thou Art
‘Tis Marvelous and Wonderful
What a Wonderful Saviour
Wonderful (Ackley)
Wonderful Grace of Jesus
Wonderful Peace (Haldor Lillenas)
Wonderful Peace (Warren Cornell)
Wonderful Story of Love
Wonderful, Wonderful Jesus
Wonderful Words of Life

In the Word of God, the word “wonderful” is found 22 times. It refers to what is extraordinary and marvelous, something that is difficult to do or to understand. Not surprisingly, the Bible often refers to “the wonderful works of God” (Acts 2:11), or to the works of the Lord Jesus, while He was on earth (e.g. Matt. 7:27; 21:15). The word “wonders” almost always is applied to the miraculous (cf. Acts 2:22; II Cor. 12:12; Heb. 2:4; Rev. 13:13).

But the subject of Charles Gabriel’s song is not physical miracles. It has to do with the heart of God. His theme is stated clearly in the refrain: “It is wonderful [extraordinary and marvelous] that He should care for me, enough to die for me!”

Here we are, weak, sinful, fallen creatures, living and dying on a tiny dot of a planet hanging in the immensity of space. And the God who created it all, and continues to oversee its operation, the God who has hosts of angels ready to do His will, that Almighty God is concerned about the welfare of you and me! Imagine: “For me, a sinner, He [Christ] suffered, and bled, and died” (CH-1). That is the very essence of the gospel.

“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (Jn. 3:16-17). “I declare to you the gospel….that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (I Cor. 15:1, 3).

CH-1) I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me,
Confused at the grace that so fully He proffers me;
I tremble to know that for me He was crucified—
That for me, a sinner, He suffered, He bled, and died.

Oh, it is wonderful that He should care for me!
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!

We can have little conception of the condescension of Christ, in coming from heaven’s glory to this sin-cursed earth. Then for Him to be rejected and crucified by His own creatures (Jn. 1:11; Matt. 27:22-23). “He humbled Himself and became obedient [to His heavenly Father] to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:8). All “to rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine” (CH-2).

And not only did He assume my debt, and pay the debt of sin I owed (redemption), His own righteousness was credited to my account (justification). What an amazing exchange (II Cor. 5:21).

CH-2) I marvel that He would descend from His throne divine,
To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine;
That He should extend His great love unto such as I–
Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.

As Christians, we need to keep the sacrifice of Christ in view. That’s one reason we are to participate in the Lord’s Supper (the Communion Service) “till He comes” (I Cor. 11:26). We must not forget the cross. For now, “we praise and adore at the mercy seat” (CH-3). The mercy seat was found in the Old Testament tabernacle, and later the temple. It was where the high priest brought the sacrifice for sin, on the annual Day of Atonement. “At the throne of grace” might have been a better New Testament reference (cf. Heb. 4:16), but we know what is meant.

In the future, we can gather at “the glorified throne” of God in heaven, there to worship and praise Him eternally.

3) I think of His hands, pierced and bleeding to pay the debt!
Such mercy, such love and devotion can I forget?
No, no! I will praise and adore at the mercy seat,
Until at the glorified throne I kneel at His feet.

1) What is the most wonderful thing about the cross to you?

2) What other things that God is doing in your life today are “wonderful”?

Wordwise Hymns (Charles Gabriel)
The Cyber Hymnal


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