Tuesday Hymns: “The Law of God is Good and Wise”

Matthias Loy was a pastor, theologian, editor, and university president in the Evangelical Lutheran Joint Synod of Ohio during the last half of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century. He is the author of our Tuesday Hymn of the Week (although it is Thursday): The Law of God is Good and Wise.

To be perfectly honest (am I ever anything else?), I do not remember ever singing this hymn during corporate worship, however, I was amazed with the theological content about God’s Law present in the text. The first verse begins with a general statement about the goodness of God’s Moral Law as it clearly delineates what is righteousness and what is sin in this world in which we live. In the next three verses, Loy presents what have been called the Three Uses of the Law. Verse two speaks of the “evangelical use of the Law” which shows us our sin, our inability to keep God’s Law, and then drives us to Christ and His Gospel as our only hope of salvation.

Verse three explains a second use of God’s Moral Law as a guide to one who has been justified “by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone” that he might know what thoughts, words, and deeds bring glory to our Lord. Verse four speaks of a third use of the Law as a curb to the wickedness of men even in their unredeemed state. The last two verses consist of a concluding thought about the goodness of the Law of God in its proper sphere, but reminds us that it “has no pow’r to justify,” and calls upon all “to Jesus…for refuge flee.” It is sung to the tune, ERHALT UNS, HERR.

The law of God is good and wise,
And sets His will before our eyes,
Shows us the way of righteousness,
And dooms to death when we transgress.

Its light of holiness imparts
The knowledge of our sinful hearts,
That we may see our lost estate
And seek deliverance ere too late.

To those who help in Christ have found
And would in works of love abound
It shows what deeds are His delight
And should be done as good and right.

When men the offered help disdain
And willfully in sin remain,
Its terror in their ear resounds
And keeps their wickedness in bounds.

The law is good, but since the fall
Its holiness condemns us all;
It dooms us for our sin to die
And has no power to justify.

To Jesus we for refuge flee,
Who from the curse has set us free,
And humbly worship at His throne,
Saved by His grace through faith alone.


1 Comment

  1. cliftonr said,

    January 10, 2011 at 12:16 PM

    I can no longer say that I have never sung this hymn in corporate worship. We sang it yesterday to the tune Winchester New found at http://www.ccel.org/cceh/0007/000732a.mid.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: