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There Is a Difference in the Way We Sing Hymns   

Have you ever noticed a difference in the way you sing hymns now that you have come to believe in Jesus and the way you used to sing them?

Savior, Savior, hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by. 14

Perhaps you sang this hymn before you came to believe, and then there are the hymns we sing after we have come to believe.

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine.
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.

I'll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death;
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now. 15

This is a hymn that looks to eternity. There is a clear distinction between hymns and other songs. In the past when I had no idea what the words of hymns were talking about, they didn't seem to differ very much from any other songs, and they even seemed rather corny. My opinion changed, however, once I came to a definite realization of the love of God. There is a huge difference between hymns and the songs of this world.

Once I was bound in the grip of all my sins. 16

Originally there were very different words set to this music:

Gone are the days when my heart was young and gay,
Gone are my friends from the cotton fields away,
Gone from the earth to a better land I know,
I hear their gentle voices calling, "Old Black Joe."

Why do I weep, when my heart should feel no pain,
Why do I sigh that my friends come not again. 17

Whenever I sang this song, my heart would be drawn into the nostalgia of it. Such feelings used to preoccupy my heart, but now everything has changed.

Once I was bound in the grip of all my sins,
But then my Savior came and set me free.
Although my sins were red as crimson bright,
The blood of my dear Lord has washed them snowy white.

I've cast aside all vain glory of the world
And through God's grace many blessings now are mine.
I give my heart and my body to the Lord,
And serve Him in the glory of His heavenly home.

Jesus Lord, Savior dear, for the sake of all my sins
Was crucified and died upon the rugged cross. 18

There's a world of difference between the two versions, isn't there? The original song expresses a longing for this world, a desire to see the people who are missed and are far away. By contrast to this, the hymn talks of discarding vain glory. It tells how the fleeting things of this world will all disappear and how we have received many blessings through the grace of the Lord. The difference is that once we were in darkness but now we have come to see a brilliant light.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

This precious verse can be seen as representative of the whole Bible. If it weren't for the truth proclaimed here, there would be no way for us to be saved. Jesus came to this world in order to offer His body as a sacrifice. God gave His only begotten Son for the sake of our sins. He prepared one eternal offering, Jesus, to keep us from being cast into hell. When Jesus was nailed to the cross, He took upon Himself all of our sins. Then in order that we might live eternally, He rose from the dead. Some day our bodies will be changed to be like that of Jesus after His resurrection. He will return and we will be clothed in bodies of eternal life.

14 Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915), Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior, 1868
15 William R. Featherstone (1846-1873), My Jesus, I Love Thee, 1864
16 Translated from Korean, Once I was Bound in the Grip of All My Sins
17 Stephen Collins Foster, Old Black Joe, 1860
18 Translated from Korean, Once I was Bound in the Grip of All My Sins


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