O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing

Hymn #332 in Celebrating Grace Hymnal — “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing”

[pullquote_center width=”84%”]He breaks the power of cancelled sin, he sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean; his blood availed for me.[/pullquote_center]

I have been singing this hymn for most of my life, and other Christians have been singing it since, well, the mid-1700s when Charles Wesley composed the text. You can imagine, then, how surprised I was by something new speaking to me from this page of the hymnal.

I believe we are all familiar with the idea that Christ’s sacrifice has freed us from, and forgiven us for, our sins. This act of Christ’s has removed the separation between us and God. Look closer with me at the first phrase of the selected verse: “He breaks the power of cancelled sin.” Now I am thinking, what is the power of sin, if it has been cancelled by Christ? For me, the power of cancelled sin in our lives is guilt, and the inability to really believe in Christ’s power to forgive. With the memory of sin, its shadow, hanging over our heads, we continue to live as sinful, and therefore separated beings.

Our “gracious Master” has not only broken the power of active sin in our lives, but also the power of cancelled sin. We are free from sin… and guilt. We are free.

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