If my sins give me alarm
And my conscience grieve me,
Let Your cross my fear disarm;
Peace of conscience give me.
Help me see forgiveness won
By Your holy passion.
If for me He slays His Son,
God must have compassion!
LSB 440 st. 5
“But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”
No clearer demonstration of God’s abundant steadfast love and faithfulness will be found than that which is seen on the cross. Abraham demonstrated his faith and love toward God by his willingness to slay his son, Isaac, on Mount Moriah, a sacrifice that goes uncompleted. God, however, shows His love and compassion toward all of mankind by slaying His Son on the cross on Mount Calvary, the only truly complete sacrifice ever offered.
As we progress through Lent and even the stanzas of this hymn, we are led to ponder the excruciating suffering and death that our Lord underwent in His passion. We are also prompted in our meditations on Christ’s suffering to see that our sin is the cause of Christ’s suffering and death, and to view our Lord’s passion with repentant grieving.
However, when we reflect upon our sinfulness, our conscience becomes stricken with guilt. It ought to. What other response is appropriate when realizing that we have broken God’s law and the price Christ had to pay for it?
When we are struck with such grief, we are to turn to that very cross of Christ to find peace of conscience in His suffering and death. For that indeed is where Christ won forgiveness for us. That is where God demonstrated His steadfast love and faithfulness toward us, showing His compassion. For any father willing to give up his only son to save those who rebelled against him, must have compassion.
Let us pray: Lord God, in the suffering and death of Jesus, You show us Your great compassion. Let us find peace for our consciences in the cross of Christ when troubled with sin, that the threats and terrors of the evil one may have no power over us. Through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
(Emmett Bartens, Sem I)