CHRIST RECEIVETH SINFUL MEN                                                      written in 1718

The Story

This song was written by Erdmann Neumeister, pastor of a Lutheran Church in Hamburg, Germany, in 1718… thought it sounds more contemporary than that. Mr. Neumeister is considered the originator of the church cantata.

He wrote about 650 hymns, but wrote this hymn to be sung at the end of a sermon on Luke 15:2. That verse tells about the Pharisees and scribes grumbling, “This man (meaning Jesus) receives sinners and eats with them.”

About 150 years later, Emma Bevan, a British woman who was the wife of a prominent banker and was fluent in German, translated this old hymn into English.

The third step that brought this hymn to us came about 30 years later, when James McGranahan, who pioneered developing men’s choirs in church services, took this hymn ad gave it a lilting tune men would like to sing. It is one of those odd hymns that changes timing between verses and the chorus…

Though this hymn has gone through a few changes since it was first written about 300 years ago, the message has remained the same. Jesus still receives sinful men – and sinful women. And I, as a sinful man myself, am so glad He does!

The Song

            Read these lyrics and, today, make them your own prayer of appreciation…

Sinners Jesus will receive; sound this word of grace to all
who the heavenly pathway leave, all who linger, all who fall.  Refrain

Sing it o’er and over again; Christ receiveth sinful men;
make the message clear and plain: Christ receiveth sinful men.

Come, and He will give you rest; trust Him, for His Word is plain;
He will take the sinfulest; Christ receiveth sinful men.  Refrain

Now my heart condemns me not, pure before the law I stand;
He who cleansed me from all spot, satisfied its last demand.  Refrain

Christ receiveth sinful men, even me with all my sin;
purged from every spot and stain, Heaven with Him I enter in.  Refrain

The chorus joyfully encourages us to proclaim this good news of salvation from sin through Christ to the whole world. As Christians, we should be thankful that Christ was willing to receive us… and then spread the good news to others that “Christ Receiveth Sinful Men.”


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