“There is a green hill far away…” The words of this hymn may take us back to school days, but the truths contained within these lines are for all, irrespective of age. The author addresses the misconception that the Lord Jesus Christ died because of bad men. He shows that although this view may be common, it is not at all correct. Rather, the Saviour died for bad men! Mrs Cecil Alexander made this plain in the words, “He died that we might be forgiven, He died to make us good”. The reader is urged to “trust in His redeeming blood”. This tract is relevant for distribution at Easter. High gloss gospel leaflet attractively designed for evangelical outreach. Sold in packs of 100.
We may not know, we cannot tell,
What pains He had to bear:
But we believe it was for us
He hung and suffered there.
He died that we might be forgiven,
He died to make us good,
That we might go at last to Heaven,
Saved by His precious blood.
There was no other good enough
To pay the price of sin,
He only could unlock the gate
Of Heaven and let us in.
O dearly, dearly has He loved!
And we must love Him too,
And trust in His redeeming blood,
And try His works to do.
The words of this Easter hymn may take us back to school days, but the truths contained within these lines are for the old, as well as the young. The hymn-writer was Mrs Cecil Alexander. In 1848. a collection of her hymns was produced. Among them. "All Things Bright and Beautiful", "Once in Royal David's City" and "There is a Green Hill Far Away".
The subject of the first is creation. With wonder, we look at this world and we learn: "The Lord God made them all". The subject of the second, the incarnation. With greater wonder, we look at a Baby in a manger and we learn: "He came down to earth from Heaven, Who is God and Lord of all". The subject of the third, the crucifixion. And that should produce the greatest wonder of all!
For many, the story of Easter is the story of a good man who died because of bad men. The Lord Jesus happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Overtaken by events and overpowered by His enemies, He was a man who died before His time.
That view may be common, but it is not at all correct! Read the Gospels and you will learn that the Lord Jesus deliberately made His way to Jerusalem, knowing that He would "suffer many things, and be rejected ... and be slain" (Luke 9:22). In the Garden of Gethsemane, the men who came against Him "fell to the ground" (John 18:6) at the display of His glory, but then He allowed Himself to be taken by them.
Why? Why? Why? It all seems so strange!
Mrs Alexander conveys the sublime reason in these simple words: 'He died that we might be forgiven, He died to make us good'. The Lord Jesus did not die because of bad men. Rather, He died for bad men!
Humanity can be divided into ever so many groups, but the Bible applies one word to us all: 'sinners', "All, have sinned" (Romans 3:23). Sin! A small word with significant consequences! Death: "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Judgment: "It is appointed ve unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27).
But the God who hates my sin is the God who loves me, the sinner - and the story of Easter is the story of punishment and pardon. The sentence fell and now salvation can be offered. "Mercy and truth are met together: righteousness and peace have kissed each other" (Psalm 85:10)
The Lord Jesus took the sinners place. The sinless Christ willingly carried His Cross to that "green hll far away". He faced the sinner's penalty. Unparalleled suffering at the hands of men! Unimaginable suffering at the hands of God! "What pains He had to bear!" He paid the sinner's price In the darkness of Calvary, at infinite cost, He 'paid the price of sin'. Three days later He rose again.
Those historic events have perpetual and personal consequences. I can be forgiven! God can become my Father! Heaven can be my eternal Home!
The Lord Jesus did so much for me – but there is something that I must do. Respond to His love: "We must love Him too". Rest my all, for time and for eternity, upon Him and His work on the Cross: "Trust in His redeeming blood."
"He died to save us all", but it is only if I believe in Him that I can say: "The Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). "There is a Green Hill" - an old hymn that tells an old, old story. Good to know the words. Better to know the meaning. Best of all, to know the Lord Jesus as our Saviour.
- Fraser A Munro
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