By Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915)
To God be the glory, great things He hathdone;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life, an atonement for sin,
And opened the lifegate, that all may go in.
O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer, the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.
Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport1, when Jesus we see!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He hath done!
On Saturday 15th September, my old secondary school celebrates the Golden Jubilee. Choma Secondary school is in the southern province of the republic of Zambia half way between Lusaka the capital and Livingstone the home of the Victoria Falls one of the 7 wonders of the world. At this school, this hymn was termed “The School Hymn” (and I hope it still is) as it was the first song in the school hymn book and was sung like a national anthem at every important occasion. Unfortunately I cannot make it to the celebrations as I am miles away committed to Ceaser’s demands in East Africa. But my heart is with all my fellow alumni of Choma Secondary School. Having left the school in the 1980s I have fond memories of Choma that will last my whole life through. This is because it was at this school that I also met my saviour – The Lord Jesus Christ. As a tribute to these celebrations, I have decided to comment on this hymn today in our continued study of hymns.
About the hymn: If a hymn dies, can it live again? The life-story of “To God Be the Glory” proves that the answer is “yes!” Originally composed in America around 1875, it was almost immediately forgotten in its native land. In 1954, however, “To God Be The Glory” was rediscovered and acclaimed as a new favourite. The hymn was written by Fanny Crosby.
Frances (Fanny) Jane Crosby ranks among the Church’s greatest writers of hymns and spiritual songs. Over the course of her more than 90 years of life, she composed more than 8,000 texts, many of which have been set to music and are today our favourite hymns of the day. These include “Praise Him! Praise Him!,” “Tell Me the Story of Jesus,” “I Am Thine, O Lord,” “Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross,” “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine,” “All the Way My Savior Leads Me,” and “Jesus is Tenderly Calling.” This great output is made more remarkable still with the realization that Crosby was totally blind from six years of age; she praised the Creator and Light of the World for more than 80 years without actually seeing the work of His hands.
“To God Be the Glory” is well-recognized as a wonderful hymn of praise and adoration of God. Written and first published in 1875, it was used by Ira Sankey in the British editions of his famous song books. However, it was not included in the U.S. editions, and so was practically unknown in North America until it was first used by Cliff Barrows in a Billy Graham Crusade in Nashville in 1954.Since that time, it has become one of the most well-known and loved of songs.
Several aspects of this beloved composition set it forth not only as a hymn of praise, but also as a hymn of grace. From the outset, it is clear that Fanny Crosby ascribes all credit to God for His work (“great things He hath done”), with no role for man’s efforts in God’s great plan.
In the first stanza, it is Jesus alone who opens the life gate of salvation, so that all have the opportunity to be saved. This is a clear message of grace, in contrast to the idea that man must prove his worth before eternal life is granted.
However, it is in the second stanza that Crosby most clearly sets forth the conditions for entrance through this gate—faith, and faith alone. Note that redemption is promised to “every believer” (cf. John 3:16), and that regardless of the magnitude of one’s sins, even “the vilest offender” who puts his or her faith in Christ, such as the criminal crucified with Christ (Luke 23:43) or Saul of Tarsus (1 Tim 1:15), will immediately receive pardon from Jesus.
The third stanza and chorus continue to bring this point of grace home, proclaiming that it is God who has done great things, and the One to whom praise and adoration belong. As is evident here, as well as in her other hymns, Fanny Crosby was a great woman of God who clearly understood the importance of God’s marvellous grace in salvation.
The tune to which this hymn is set was composed by William H. Doane (1832-1915), a frequent collaborator with Ms. Crosby in the production of spiritual songs. In his lifetime Doane composed more than 2,000 tunes, many of which are still in common use today, including the tunes to such hymns as “Rescue the Perishing,” “Near the Cross,” “I Am Thine, O Lord,” and “More Love to Thee.”4
As with other classic hymns and gospel songs from the pen of Fanny Crosby, “To God Be the Glory” is a marvellous expression of praise to God for His wondrous works. However, this song also gives special place to the Free Grace position—that salvation is provided as a gift from God to everyone who will place his or her faith in Christ, regardless of one’s sins before or after conversion. The act of love on the cross which made this possible is truly reason to “Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the earth hear His voice! Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the people rejoice!” Let us indeed rejoice in our salvation provided so freely by Christ Jesus!
As we seek to reflect and continue thanking God for all that He has done, this is one way of telling God we love Him. This is our way of saying “Thank you God for all you done for us in today and before”. We love God because He gave His only begotten Son to die for our sins. His name is Jesus. Thank God we have Him today; because without Him we are nobody-we ourselves are not sufficient–however our sufficiency is from God… (2 Corinthians 3:5)
I just want to take this time to acknowledge Jesus and remeber some things about Him.
1.Jesus Christ is sufficient for Salvation (Hebrews 10:10-12)
2.He is sufficient for Creation (Col 1:16-17)
3.He is the only Mediator between God and man, He is the Sun that Enlightens, the physician that heals, the Wall of fire that defends; the Friend that Comforts; the Pearl that enriches; the Ark that supports; and the Rock to sustain under the heaviest of pressures; He is seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Heb.1:3;8:1)
4.He is our Peace (Ephesians 2:14)
5.He is our Hope (I Timothy 1:1)
6.He is our Life (Col 3:4)
7.He is our Lord of Hosts, the Redeemer,-the Holy One of Israel, The God of the whole earth (Isaiah 54:5)
8.He is the great IAM (John 8:58)
9.He is our wonderful Counsellor, the Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)
10.He is Lord (Philippians 2:10-13)
11.He is the first born of all creation (Col 1:15)
12.Advocate (1 John 2:1)
13.Almighty (Rev. 1:8; Mt. 28:18)
14.Alpha and Omega (Rev. 1:8; 22:13)
15.Authour of Life (Acts 3:15)
16.Authour and Perfecter of our Faith (Heb. 12:2)
17.Authour of Salvation (Heb. 2:10)
18.Beginning and End (Rev. 22:13)
19.Bread of Life (John 6:35; 6:48)
20.Chief Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20)
21.Chief Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:4)
22.Deliverer (Rom. 11:26)
23.Eternal Life (1 John 1:2; 5:20)
24.First and Last (Rev. 1:17; 2:8; 22:13)
25.Firstborn From the Dead (Rev. 1:5)
26.Great High Priest (Heb. 4:14)
27.High Priest (Heb. 2:17)
28.Holy One (Acts 3:14)
29.Hope (1 Tim. 1:1)
30.Hope of Glory (Col. 1:27)
31.Horn of Salvation (Luke 1:69)
32.Immanuel (Mt. 1:23)
33.Judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42)
34.Life (John 14:6; Col. 3:4)
35.Light of the World (John 8:12)
36.Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Rev. 5:5)
37.Living One (Rev. 1:18)
38.Living Stone (1 Pet. 2:4)
39.Lord of Glory (1 Cor. 2:8)
40.Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16)
41.Man from Heaven (1 Cor. 15:48)
42.Mediator of the New Covenant (Heb. 9:15)
43.Mighty God (Isa. 9:6)
44.Morning Star (Rev. 22:16)
45.Offspring of David (Rev. 22:16)
46.Only Begotten Son of God (John 1:18; 1 John 4:9)
47.Our Great God and Saviour (Titus 2:13)
48.Our Holiness (1 Cor. 1:30)
49.Our Protection (2 Thess. 3:3)
50.Our Redemption (1 Cor. 1:30)
51.Our Righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30)
52.Precious Cornerstone (1 Pet. 2:6)
53.Prophet (Acts 3:22)
54.Resurrection and Life (John 11:25)
55.Righteous Branch (Jer.
To God be the Glory Great things He hath done.