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H101 - His Mercy is More

Updated: Dec 26, 2021

"His Mercy Is More" isn't an old hymn. It does, however, stem from a sermon preached by the well-known hymn author, John Newton. At one point in the sermon Newton says, "Our sins are many, but His mercies are more: our sins are great, but His righteousness is greater: we are weak, but He is power." Matt Papa and Matt Boswell wrote this hymn together after discovering this Newton sermon in written form. If you listen to the Matt Boswell & Matt Papa version, as opposed to the better known Shane & Shane version, the song rolls right into the chorus with a more somber tone to it. The piano is soft and Matt's voice is more serious. The Shane & Shane version opens up like you just walked through the gates of heaven (I actually prefer the intro here).

Regardless of how the song begins in the Papa/Boswell version, it is actually a triumphant and jubilant song. The focal point, as repeated at the end of each verse and in the chorus, is that we are desperately wicked sinners in need of a savior, and we have a merciful God who ordained and provided such. As soon as the song enters verse one, the song picks up pace, tone, and mood as the recognition of our unworthiness is brought into the frame followed by the willingness and mercy of a God to send a savior. Read over the lyrics below and follow along as we unfold the beauty of our merciful God in song.

Verse 1

What love could remember, no wrongs we have done

Omniscient, all-knowing, He counts not their sum

Thrown into a sea without bottom or shore

Our sins they are many, His mercy is more

Verse 2

What patience would wait as we constantly roam

What Father so tender is calling us home

He welcomes the weakest, the vilest, the poor

Our sins they are many, His mercy is more

Verse 3

What riches of kindness He lavished on us

His blood was the payment His life was the cost

We stood ‘neath a debt we could never afford

Our sins they are many, His mercy is more


Praise the Lord

His mercy is more

Stronger than darkness

New every morn’

Our sins they are many, His mercy is more

Verse 1

What love could remember no wrongs we have done? You and I are trapped in this body of flesh until we receive our glorified bodies upon the return of Christ. But until then, here on this rock, we are going to battle sin until we are sleeping with the worms. One sin we are all guilty of is holding grudges. The scripture testifies to this nature of ours by how many times it tells us to forgive. When you forgive someone you are essentially saying, "You did wrong. But you know what? I love you. I'm also a sinful person who may have done the same thing if the shoe were on the other foot. And as far as you and I are concerned the thing that upset me never happened." However, you and I both know forgiveness is very hard to fulfill. Our selfish nature clings to the wrong that was committed against us. We demand justice for being subjected to lies, harsh words, stealing, slander, etc. So, sometimes it is especially hard for us to give forgiveness to even the most genuine seeker.

Think about this though: God is perfect. Sin against His Holy name and His Holy decree requires just punishment. When we sin against our brother in Christ, we are sinning against him and against the Father. He doesn't forgive you from sympathizing because you are both sinners. He forgives because the blood of Christ paid the price. Christ took the wrath you and I both deserved. Because of this, God is able to freely, and mercifully forgive. God is able to forgive even though he is omniscient. He knows every thought that crosses your mind. He knows every thought that led up to you committing that sin. He knows that you will sin yet again. But, because of Christ, our Father displays divine forbearance of our sins (Romans 3:25).

Papa & Boswell give us vivid imagery of what forgiveness in Christ looks like. Imagine the ocean. Covering over 70% of the earth's surface. Some of the deepest parts of the ocean are over six miles deep (Mariana Trench). The ocean is so vast that in our thousands of years of human existence we have managed to explore 5% of it. The image we have of our sins is that God takes them and tosses them into the bottom of the Mariana Trench. The only difference is that the Mariana has a bottom, and something lives there, but this ocean has no bottom. Our sins vanish forever, never to be held over our head by God like a vindictive 8th grader.

Verse 2

"The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." 2 Peter 3:9

What patience could wait? God is so patient with His children. Even as we constantly roam, chasing the pride of life, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes (1 John 2:16), God in His infinite mercy chooses not to swallow us into the ground as he did several of the Israelites (Numbers 16:32). As we see in this verse from 2 Peter and also in the song lyrics, God is patient with those who he has called (Romans 8:30) in order that they may come to a knowing faith by His working within us. We see in 2 Peter that he does so that we may come to repentance and thus a knowing faith in His son. Were He to justly administer His wrath when it is due we would never make it to a point of repentance.

The gospel is almost fully presented in the last two lines of verse two. The gospel isn't for the religious elite. It isn't for those who have it all together. It isn't for the strongest, most pleasant, or the rich. The gospel is for everyone, including the weakest, the vilest and the poor. Everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. God is no respecter of persons. His gospel is free to us, and that's why it is called grace.

Verse 3

What do we receive by His grace? Riches of kindness are lavished on us. The writers definitely had Ephesians 1:7-9 in mind when they wrote this verse:

"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ"

The payment for our sins was his blood. Notice the parallel between Ephesians and the second line of the song. When we were outside of Christ, dead in our trespasses and sins, we stood beneath a debt we could never afford (Eph. 2:1). "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ." (Ephesians 2:4) But thanks be to God, though our sins are many, His mercy is more and "by grace [we] have been saved." (Ephesians 2:4)


Praise the Lord! His mercy is more! Stronger than darkness and new every day. What a merciful Father we have that He has unconditional mercy on His elect. Let this ring out for you the rest of this week. Thank God daily that His mercy far surpasses your sin. Thank Jesus Christ, our Lord, that His blood was sufficient to appease the wrath of God on our behalf.

Grace and peace,

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