He was just a relatively unknown Nazarene preacher in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. But Raymond Browning, born March 30, 1879, in Giles County, Tennessee, at some point put pen to paper and wrote some of the most beautiful words ever written. Adger M. Pace took those words and set them to music in the hymn titled "Deeper Than the Stain Has Gone." Not many people these days have ever heard it, and that is a bit of a shame.
Verse 1 says, "Dark the stain that soiled man's nature, long the distance that he fell. Far removed from hope and heaven, into deep despair and hell. But there was a fountain opened, and the blood of God's own Son, purifies the soul and reaches deeper than the stain has gone!"
Here is Verse 3: "All unworthy we who've wandered, and our eyes are wet with tears; as we think of love that sought us through the weary wasted years. Yet we walk the holy highway, walking by God's grace alone, knowing Calv'ry's fountain reaches deeper than the stain has gone!"
The chorus to this four-verse treasure says, "Praise the Lord for full salvation, God still reigns upon his throne, and I know the blood still reaches deeper than the stain has gone."
Those who know the tune will be humming it and smiling the rest of the day. Not just because it is beautiful, but because it is true, and it means more than anything.
We are entering into a very special time of year. It was around this time nearly 2,000 years ago that Jesus Christ did the unthinkable, really the unfathomable. He who did not have to leave heaven and come to Earth at all, came to Earth for we who could not go to heaven. He who did not have to stay here, stayed here so we who had to stay here could one day go there. He who did not have to die, died so that we who have to die could live. Above all, as 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us, he who knew no sin became sin for us so that we could be made the righteousness of God in him.
His blood, freely shed on Calvary, truly did go deeper than any stain of sin has gone.
But when we state that general truth, we often miss the specific details, and in so doing, we miss both the horror and the wonder of it. Indeed, it is the horror that should produce the wonder. You see, we tend to think that Christ shed his blood so that "pretty decent sinners," people who are off base just a little bit, could get that extra little nudge that will make them fit for heaven.
But that is not the case. Not at all.
On March 16, 2021, a young man addicted to pornography murdered eight people at spas or massage parlors in and around Atlanta, Georgia. In April of 2017 in Fresno, California, a man murdered four white men just because of the color of their skin. In October of 1994, a woman named Susan Smith rolled her car off into John D. Long Lake with her two little boys strapped inside, killing them in the murky waters.
Hitler butchered 6 million people just for being Jews. Stalin murdered some 20 million of his own people just in the lust for power. Just a few months ago Samuel Little died. He was the most prolific serial killer in United States history, confessing to 93, 60 of which have been confirmed already (including a woman from Chattanooga).
I could completely fill every single page of this paper with more names and details, 10,000 editions over. Sins and crimes from both men and women of every race. Horrifying, unspeakable atrocities.
And the blood of Jesus was shed to pay for every single one of them. And it is in that horrifying truth that we find the wonder of it all; if Christ's blood was sufficient for the removal of even those stains, then nothing you have ever done is beyond his ability to forgive. Had Hitler himself ever bowed his heart before God, repented of his sin and trusted in the finished work of Christ on Calvary, he would have been forgiven. Christ died for every sin and all sins, not for some sins.
You're stained, you say? Dirty and filthy and vile, wretched and horrible? Your life has bounced from one sin to another, you are mired in guilt and you think there is no hope? There is hope. More than hope, actually; a rock-solid certainty. Anyone willing to come to Christ and let him redeem them will become a brand new creature in his sight, one as pure as the wind-driven snow.
Your stain does not have to stay.
Bo Wagner is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, North Carolina, a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com. Email him at email@example.com.