Hymns and Perseverance of the Saints

Hymns are a treasure trove of doctrinal truth. In the past several posts we have surveyed the rich connection between Hymns and Doctrines. Thus far we have covered the depravity of man, the doctrine of election, Christ’s atonement, and irresistible grace. Now we come to perseverance of the saints.

This doctrine consists of two important truths: God preserves and we persevere. God keeps us in the right way, but He does so through our perseverance as we fight against sin, pursue holiness and participate in the means of grace that He has provided for us.
The apostle Paul shows us how these truths are wed:

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Philippians 2:12–13).

But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity” (2 Timothy 2:19).

John Newton highlighted the connection in verse 3 of Amazing Grace:

Amazing Grace! (John Newton, 1779)

3. Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
[Baptist Hymnal, 2008 #104]

He persevered through “many dangers, toils and snares,” but it was all by God’s grace and preservation.

Here are a few hymns that speak of our need to persevere in holiness and obedience:

Awake, My Soul, Stretch Every Nerve (Philip Doddridge, 1755)

1. Awake, my soul, stretch every nerve,
And press with vigor on;
A heavenly race demands thy zeal,
And an immortal crown.
[Trinity Hymnal—Baptist edition, 1995 #480]

Am I a Soldier of the Cross (Isaac Watts, 1724)

4. Sure I must fight if I would reign:
Increase my courage, Lord;
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy Word.
[Trinity Hymnal—Baptist edition, 1995 #481]

Jesus Calls Us O’er the Tumult (Cecil Frances Alexander, 1852)

1. Jesus calls us o’er the tulmult
Of our life’s wild, restless sea;
Day by day His sweet voice soundeth,
Saying, “Christian, follow me.”
[Baptist Hymnal, 2008 #419]

When We All Get to Heaven (Eliza E. Hewitt, 1898)

3. Let us then be true and faithful,
Trusting, serving every day;
Just one glimpse of Him in glory
Will the toils of life repay.

When we all get to heaven
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory.
[Baptist Hymnal, 2008 #603]

Looking Always unto Jesus (Ken Puls, 1995)
(words ©1998 Kenneth Puls)

1. Let us run with perseverance,
Pressing forward by God’s grace,
Looking always unto Jesus,
‘Til we see Him face to face.
In the day when we are tempted
And enticed to leave the way,
Let us keep our eyes on Jesus
And in Him we shall not stray.

And here are some choice hymns that acknowledge our need for God’s power to preserve us:

Teach Me O Lord Thy Way of Truth
(from Psalm 119:33–40, The Psalter, 1912)

1. Teach me, O Lord, Thy way of truth,
And from it I will not depart;
That I may steadfastly obey,
Give me an understanding heart.
[Trinity Hymnal—Baptist edition, 1995 #451]

Teach Me O Lord Thy Holy Way (William T. Matson, 1866)

1. Teach me, O Lord, Thy holy way,
And give me an obedient mind;
That in Thy service I may find
My soul’s delight from day to day.
[Trinity Hymnal—Baptist edition, 1995 #456]

Jesus Lives and So Shall I
(Christian Gellert, 1757, trans., J.D. Lang, 1826)

3. Jesus live and by His grace,
Victory o’er my passions giving,
I will cleanse my heart and ways,
Ever to His glory living.
Me He raises from the dust.
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.
[Trinity Hymnal—Baptist edition, 1995 #596]

I Know Whom I Have Believed
(Daniel W. Whittle, 1840–1901)

4. I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days
Before His face I see.

But “I know whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto to Him against that day.”
[Trinity Hymnal—Baptist edition, 1995 #712]

The Solid Rock (Edward Mote, 1834)

1. My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.

2. When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.
[Baptist Hymnal, 2008 #511]

Whate’er My God Ordains Is Right
(Samuel Rodigast, 1675; trans. Catherine Winkworth, 1829–1878))

1. Whate’er my God ordains is right:
Holy His will abideth;
I will be still whate’er He doth,
And follow where He guideth.
He is my God; though dark my road,
He holds me that I shall not fall:
Wherefore to Him I leave it all.
[Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, 2004 (Founders Press) #59]

He Will Hold Me Fast
(Ada Habershon (1861-1918) and Matt Merker (2013)
(added words and music ©2013 Matt Merker)

1. When I fear my faith will fail,
Christ will hold me fast;
When the tempter would prevail,
He will hold me fast.
I could never keep my hold
Through life’s fearful path;
For my love is often cold;
He must hold me fast.

He will hold me fast,
He will hold me fast;
For my Savior loves me so,
He will hold me fast.

Now May He Who From the Dead (John Newton, 1779)

1. Now may He who from the dead
Brought the Shepherd of the sheep,
Jesus Christ, our King and Head,
All our souls in safety keep.
[Trinity Hymnal—Baptist edition, 1995 #317]

What other psalms and hymns and spiritual songs would you add?

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