Only the New Man Sings (MHLS Choir)

La Résurrection du Christ, miniature d'un Évangéliaire de François Ier., 16th c
The sinful flesh doesn't sing this hymn. The sinful flesh doesn't sing any hymn. But the new man sings, "Lord, Thee I love with all my heart," and he means it.

I used to wonder how on earth I could sing the words of the hymn “Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart.” Look at the first stanza:

Lord, Thee I love with all my heart;
I pray Thee, ne’er from me depart,
With tender mercy cheer me.
Earth has no pleasure I would share,
Yea, heav’n itself were void and bare
If Thou, Lord, wert not near me.
And should my heart for sorrow break,
My trust in Thee can nothing shake.
Thou art the portion I have sought;
Thy precious blood my soul has bought.
Lord Jesus Christ, My God and Lord, my God and Lord,
Forsake me not! I trust Thy Word.

I know I’m supposed to love Jesus with all my heart. I know earth has no pleasure that I should share. I know I want my trust in Jesus to be unshakeable. I also know that nothing good dwells in me (Rom. 7:18). How can anyone sing this hymn and mean it?

The answer is simple. The sinful flesh doesn’t sing this hymn. The sinful flesh doesn’t sing any hymn. The sinful flesh is mute as it drowns in the waters of Baptism. But the new man who emerges from those waters to live before God in righteousness and purity forever, that new man sings. And he doesn’t sing according to the corruption of sin. He sings according to his righteousness in Christ. The new man sings, “Lord, Thee I love with all my heart,” and he means it.

And this teaches us something very important about poetry and hymns. Poetry is not merely expressive of how we feel. If that’s how we treat it, then we’ll sing things like, “Lord, Thee I love with half my heart.” That’s bad poetry. Feelings be hanged. As Christians we sing according to a reality that we might not always feel, but is reality nonetheless, because God’s Word says it is. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17).

This is who you are in Christ. The old man might try to tell you otherwise. But he’s wrong, and he can’t sing.

The students of Mount Hope Lutheran School recently sang “Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart” in church, and we also made a recording of it. You can listen to that on this page and follow along with the words below.

In Christ,
Pastor Richard

Lord, Thee I love with all my heart;
I pray Thee, ne’er from me depart,
With tender mercy cheer me.
Earth has no pleasure I would share,
Yea, heav’n itself were void and bare
If Thou, Lord, wert not near me.
And should my heart for sorrow break,
My trust in Thee can nothing shake.
Thou art the portion I have sought;
Thy precious blood my soul has bought.
Lord Jesus Christ, My God and Lord, my God and Lord,
Forsake me not! I trust Thy Word.

Yea, Lord, ’twas Thy rich bounty gave
My body, soul, and all I have
In this poor life of labor.
Lord, grant that I in ev’ry place
May glorify Thy lavish grace
And help and serve my neighbor.
Let no false doctrine me beguile;
Let Satan not my soul defile.
Give strength and patience unto me
To bear my cross and follow Thee.
Lord Jesus Christ, My God and Lord, my God and Lord,
In death Thy comfort still afford.

Lord, let at last Thine angels come,
To Abram’s bosom bear me home,
That I may die unfearing;
And in its narrow chamber keep
My body safe in peaceful sleep
Until Thy reappearing.
And then from death awaken me,
That these mine eyes with joy may see,
O Son of God, Thy glorious face,
My Savior and my fount of grace.
Lord Jesus Christ, my prayer attend, my prayer attend,
And I will praise Thee without end.

Lutheran Service Book, 708

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