There are hymns of praise. There are hymns of prayer. There are hymns of mourning, hymns of worship, and hymns of rejoicing.
“I Stand All Amazed” is a hymn of wonder.
I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me,
Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me.
I tremble to know that for me he was crucified,
That for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died.
I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine
To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine,
That he should extend his great love unto such as I,
Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.
I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt!
Such mercy, such love and devotion can I forget?
No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat,
Until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet.
The first-person verbs tell the story of each of us standing before our Savior, stripped bare of pretense and overwhelmed by the gravity of the moment. In the first verse we stand, confused and trembling. In the second verse, we marvel at the condescension of God. In the third verse, we think—ponder, perhaps—on the mercy and love of our Lord Jesus Christ.
While we stand agape at what He has done for us, what is the Lord doing? He is reaching out to us. In the first verse, He is offering his love, and proffering his grace. Beyond just rhyming with “offer”, “proffer” has a similar meaning; the Oxford Dictionaries define it, with vivid imagery, as “to hold out (something) to someone for acceptance.” He holds out His love and His grace, and simply waits for us to take hold and accept them.
That love does so much for us. The last line of the second verse is a sermon unto itself, describing the Savior’s love as “sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.” We find that His love alone is enough to:
- Own us. When we are born of Christ, and when we give up our will for His, we become His sons and His daughters. We are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
- Redeem us. Christ’s love and His redemption of each of us are inseparably intertwined; it’s why both Ammon and Alma speak of singing the song of redeeming love.
- Justify us. Different from redemption, His love made it possible to satisfy the demands of justice, making it possible for us to be clean and enter again into the presence of God.
Speaking to mission presidents in 1997, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland spoke about Christ’s love as Charity, with a capital C: “As much as we try, we fall short. But one time, by one Person, the pure love of Christ was demonstrated. Real charity was given to this world. Christ loved us perfectly and it lasts forever. That’s why we can say that real charity never faileth. He never fails us.” It’s that unfailing love that causes us to stand in amazement, wondering at His greatness.
After spending two and a half verses contemplating the magnitude of this love, we gain resolve at the end of the third verse. First, we will praise and adore at the mercy seat. “Mercy seat” here is the English translation of the Greek hilasterion, and the term appears in both the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament, the mercy seat was a feature of the Ark of the Covenant, on which the blood of animals was sprinkled—animals sacrificed to atone for the sins of the people. In the New Testament, it is translated as “propitiation”—referencing Christ’s atonement, where He Himself stood as the sacrifice to atone for our sins. When we sing that we will praise and adore at the mercy seat, we singly deeply and symbolically of accepting the atonement of Jesus Christ, which He holds out to us with extended arms.
When we have done this, we will qualify to kneel at the feet of Jesus Christ, before His glorified throne—still amazed, but no longer standing.
It’s wonderful. It really is.
Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!