WONDERFUL GRACE OF JESUS                                               written in 1918

The Story

In 1917, a young pastor, Haldor Lillenas (1885-1959), and his wife were settling into their ministry at the Nazarene Church in Auburn, Illinois. After buying a house in nearby Olivet, they had little money left to furnish it. Though they were both hymnwriters, they couldn’t afford a piano. Then Haldor found a “wheezy little organ” in a neighbor’s home, and paid $5 for it. He wrote a number of songs on that old organ, including this hymn.

This song, with its rolling melody and climbing chorus, became very popular at evangelistic meetings. Many of the  more prominent song leaders used it… often.

The message of Scripture comes through this song clearly; no matter how great a sinner you are, God’s grace is greater. And no matter how great your guilt, God’s forgiveness is greater. As the song says: Praise His name!

If you are familiar with church music, you probably recognize the name “Lillenas”. In 1924, Haldor began the Lillenas Publishing Company… that is still a prominent church music publisher today.

Since the first time I sang this hymn, it has been among my favorites.

The Song

            Read this hymn, and – today – celebrate the wonderful grace of Jesus!

Wonderful grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin;
how shall my tongue describe it, where shall its praise begin?
Taking away my burden, setting my spirit free;
for the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.

Refrain

Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus, deeper than the mighty rolling sea;                 Higher than the mountains, sparkling like a fountain,
all sufficient grace for even me, for even me.
Broader than the scope of my transgressions, greater far than all my sin and shame,
O magnify the precious Name of Jesus. Praise His Name!

Wonderful grace of Jesus, reaching to all the lost,
by it I have been pardoned, saved to the uttermost.
Chains have been torn asunder, giving me liberty;
for the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me. (Refrain)

Wonderful grace of Jesus, reaching the most defiled,
by its transforming power, making him God’s dear child.
Purchasing peace and heaven, for all eternity;
and the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me. (Refrain)

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