FAITH IS THE VICTORY                                                                 written in 1882

The Story

            In Batavia, New York, John Yates (1837-1900) was a shoe salesman, and then the manager of the local hardware store. His parents had emigrated from England.

Shortly after he left the hardware store to become the editor of a local newspaper, he wrote this hymn, “Faith Is The Victory”. The key phrase is taken from the King James Version of 1 John 5:4, which says, “And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” But John uses Scripture all throughout the song, primarily as he describes the use of the armor of God in Ephesians 6.

John was ordained as a Methodist minister in 1886, and later became pastor of the West Bethany Free Will Baptist Church. It wasn’t until 1891 that John sent “Faith Is The Victory” to Ira Sankey (1840-1908), who composed the music for it. It first appeared in The Christian Endeavor Handbook and in Gospel Hymns No. 6. This is the only hymn John wrote that is still sung in our Protestant churches today.

Ira Sankey did not write poetry like Fanny Crosby and Phillip Bliss, so he did not excel in the hymn verses but he composed the music for hundreds of great hymns by other writers. This is one of those hymns, and it was sung at his funeral.

The Song

          Read this hymn, and – today – remember to have faith in each and every  situation in your life.

Encamped along the hills of light, ye Christian soldiers, rise.
And press the battle ere the night shall veil the glowing skies.
Against the foe in vales below let all our strength be hurled.
Faith is the victory, we know, that overcomes the world.

Faith is the victory!  Faith is the victory!

O glorious victory, that overcomes the world.

His banner over us is love, our sword the Word of God.
We tread the road the saints above with shouts of triumph trod.
By faith, they like a whirlwind’s breath, swept on o’er every field.
The faith by which they conquered death is still our shining shield.  (Refrain)

On every hand the foe we find drawn up in dread array.
Let tents of ease be left behind, and onward to the fray.
Salvation’s helmet on each head, with truth all girt about,
The earth shall tremble ‘neath our tread, and echo with our shout.  (Refrain)

To him that overcomes the foe, white raiment shall be giv’n.
Before the angels he shall know his name confessed in Heav’n.
Then onward from the hill of light, our hearts with love aflame,

we’ll vanquish all the hosts of night, in Jesus’ conqu’ring Name.  (Refrain)


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