What righteousness does God demand,
That is not good and precious?
How can the guilty hope to stand
While mired in vices vicious?
For with a heart that flees from God
Man always takes the wider road,
Led on by sin's seduction
To death and to destruction.
As dogs return to their own filth,
A fool returns to folly,
But never could his works or wealth
Give help to make him holy.
For by his pow'rs alone he must
Be bound to sin and then to dust,
And find for his transgression
God's righteous condemnation.
Nor let the fool think that his guilt
Is but a fleeting feeling,
All flesh is grass and soon must wilt
When God speaks wrath, revealing
The secrets of our hearts inside,
The sins we thought that we could hide -
Then shall the unbelieving,
Exchange their joy for grieving.
Lord God, I scarcely lift my eyes,
For shame has filled my spirit,
For sins I know that You despise
I grieved Your Holy Spirit,
I cast Him out and let him in
Who is the author of my sin,
The devil who deceives me
And then in judgment leaves me.
Will you forgive the sin that taints
My soul with fear and sorrow?
Will You revive the soul that faints,
Despairing of tomorrow?
Have you the pow'r that I do not
To wash and cleanse each sinful blot
For which I beg remission
In tears and in contrition?
There is a righteousness for you
That you could not discover,
Revealed apart from what you do,
Apart from what you suffer.
It is the righteousness of God,
Who took on flesh and shed his blood,
To save his lost creation
From sin and from damnation.
Yes, Lord, I've known it once before,
And gladly did believe it,
But now again I've closed the door -
How can I still receive it?
I've crucified my Lord again,
How can a sacrifice remain
For me, who gave up heaven
So freely to me given?
The sin you've done is deep and sore,
I know the guilt you suffer;
But I have grace and mercy more
Than sins that you could offer.
What sin is there in you to see
That did not pierce and torment me?
What guilt is on your conscience
I did not bear with patience?
But Lord, too often I have strayed,
And now I see inside me
No faith to grasp what you have said -
All comfort is denied me.
And my experience will tell
That I am destined still for hell,
My faith is surely taken,
And I must be forsaken.
What, will you anger God some more,
Or tell Him He is lying?
Will you despise the pain I bore,
The peace I won by dying?
Or don't you think I know your grief?
So give Me now your unbelief,
And take My Holy Spirit,
Who clothes you with My merit.
Is this pure robe for me to wear,
Who am impure by nature?
Yes, it is yours with Me to share,
You are a new-born creature.
But what of all my sin and shame?
It is no more, you bear My name,
And with God's sons can gather
To call My God your Father.
What love is this that gives me tears
To weep with joy and gladness?
It is the love that stills your fears
And comforts you in sadness.
This mercy that no end can see
Still sets the burdened conscience free,
Declaring you forgiven,
A child and heir of heaven.