And there He hung!

(Frederick Whitfield, "Christ Our Life!" 1885)

"He loved me — and gave Himself for me!" Galatians 2:20

Mark the expression, "He loved ME!"
Not my sins;
not my many transgressions;
not my willfulness, waywardness and obstinacy;
not my past life of ingratitude and provocation!
No! He looked upon all these with righteous and holy abhorrence! He hated all these things — but He loved ME — He loved my soul.

And what proof did He give of this? The Apostle answers, "He loved me — and gave Himself for me!" Oh wondrous gift! He did not give . . .
  His kingdom,
  nor His crown,
  nor His glory,
  nor His boundless wealth!
He gave up these indeed, for "though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, that we, through His poverty, might become rich!" But marvelous grace, "He gave Himself!" He gave Himself . . .
  to Pilate's skewed judgment,
  to Herod's cruel mockery,
  to the soldiers' debased scorn,
  to the people's mad frenzy!

And there He hung between two thieves — His piercing cry rending the blackened vault above, "My God, my God — why have You forsaken Me!"
There He hung — His face marred more than any man's!
There He hung — His head, His hands, and His feet pierced and bleeding, torn and mangled, with the iron fangs and the thorny crown!
There He hung — under the frown of Heaven!
There He hung — cast out by the world — the taunt and sneer of the passer-by, and the song of the drunkard in the street!
He gave Himself to this!

Oh, the love of God! Oh the grace of Jesus! Oh that these words were written on the portals of the sky, in the hues of the rainbow and the brightness of the sun — so that every Christian on earth might read them: "He loved me — and gave Himself for me!" Precious, precious words!

Christian! Perhaps you look back on your past life and see it stained with crimes of the deepest dye. You see your sins — the very thought of which suffuses your countenance with a blush! You see your . . .
  sins against light,
  willful sins,
  secret sins,
  open sins —
a multitude of sins which no man can number, rising like a mountain to your view — and you are ready to exclaim, "Can God love me? Impossible!" Yes, He does — He loves you! He hated all these things — but He loved you, and loves you still. "He loved you — and gave Himself for you!"

The secret of my love to You
By time and change unmoved,
Its spring, its steadfastness, is this:
I know that I am loved!

Forever! Yes, forever loved,
And evermore to be,
In ages past, in days to come,
Throughout eternity!