The grace of God. For generations, Christians around the world have been singing about God’s grace. It’s no wonder because grace is one of God’s most endearing attributes. I fully believe you cannot live a successful Christian life without true knowledge and understanding of God’s grace. Yes, grace is that important.
Before we sing about grace or share some hymns about grace, I want to make sure you have the right perspective on grace. When we think about grace, one of our mistakes is forgetting the expanse and purpose of God’s grace. His grace goes beyond his ability to save us. Grace is not just what we need for salvation; grace is what we need every day. Consider these two verses.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
These two verses highlight God’s grace which is all-sufficient and all-encompassing. There is grace for saving and grace for living. Thankfully, when searching for hymns about grace, I found songwriters have attempted to capture the essence of God’s grace over the years. As you reflect on the messages found in these ten encouraging hymns about grace, focus on the necessity of God’s grace and how wonderful it really is. I pray you will always be encouraged to remember and depend on God’s grace.
One last note. We often think of hymns as older songs. For these hymns about grace, I have included a mix of classic and contemporary songs. Regardless of the category, let your soul be enlightened and encouraged as you spend some time thinking about God’s grace.
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1. “Amazing Grace” by John Newton
Amazing grace how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
was blind, but now I see.
I don’t know if it is possible to have any conversation regarding encouraging hymns about grace and not include Amazing Grace. This song written by slave trader-turned-pastor John Newton is a chronicle of his journey and transformation of his life because of God’s grace. Here is what GodTube contributor Stacie Marshall said about this iconic song:
“This song isn’t a song of theology—it’s John Newton’s own heartfelt expression of gratitude to God, who helped him turn from his profane and wicked life and eventually fight against the ills he practiced. Later in life, Newton became a supporter and inspiration to William Wilberforce who led the fight to pass the British Slave Trade Act in 1807, which abolished the slave trade in that empire.”
I guess this song is so popular because it tells all our stories. Our life before God’s grace and our life because of God’s grace. There is no other word to say but amazing.
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2. “Grace Greater Than Our Sin” by Julia H. Johnston
This song was written in 1910 and what I love most about this song is the refrain. It reminds us of what grace does and how powerful grace is. God’s grace pardons us and cleanses us. If that were not enough, the song helps you to acknowledge no matter how deep, ugly, or great your sin is, God’s grace is still greater. God has a never-ending reservoir of grace ready to reach anyone trapped in sin who will cry out to him. There is no sin so great that God’s grace cannot reach you.
Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount out-poured–
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!
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3. “Wonderful Grace of Jesus” by Haldor Lillenas
What makes this song stand out are the adjectives used to describe the grace of Jesus. Consider these words that paint a picture of his grace. Wonderful, greater, matchless, deeper, higher, sparkling, all-sufficient, and broader. Add grace after any of those words, and it presents a small scope to the true nature of God’s grace.
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.
Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus,
deeper than the mighty rolling sea,
higher than the mountain, sparkling like a fountain,
all-sufficient grace for even me;
broader than the scope of my transgressions, sing it!
greater far than all my sin and shame.
O magnify the precious name of Jesus, praise his name!
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4. “I Need Thee Every Hour” by Annie Hawks
Annie Hawks wrote this song in 1872. This song describes our need for God every moment. You might think it was written from a desperate place. However, Hawks stated that “the hymn was prophetic rather than expressive of my own experiences, for it was wafted out to the world on the wings of love and joy, instead of under the stress of personal sorrow.”
This song has become an anthem for those who recognize daily they cannot live without God’s grace every hour. By the time Hawks died, this song had been translated into more foreign languages than any other hymn.
I need Thee ev’ry hour,
Most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine
Can peace afford.
I need Thee ev’ry hour,
Stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their pow’r
When Thou art nigh.
I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;
Ev’ry hour I need Thee;
Oh, bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.
I need Thee ev’ry hour,
In joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide,
Or life is vain.
I need Thee ev’ry hour,
Teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises
In me fulfill.
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5. “He Looked Beyond My Fault” by Dottie Rambo
The late Dottie Rambo wrote this song. The motivation for writing this song came from her brother, who was sick with cancer and had a short time left to live. Dottie would faithfully witness to her brother, reading the Bible to him and encouraging him to give his heart to Jesus. Because of how he had lived, Eddie felt there was no way God could ever save him. It was shortly after that conversation that she wrote this song. Thankfully her brother gave his life to Christ before he died.
“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:3-7).
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6. “His Grace Was Greater” by The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
“His Grace was Greater” was recorded on the album Live We Come Rejoicing, released in 2000. It reminds you of God’s enduring grace. Like the prodigal son, many of us have wandered off doing our own thing or falling into the enticement of sin. When we come to our senses like the prodigal son did and return home, we find a gracious, loving Father who embraces us and rejoices because we have returned home.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found’” (Luke 15:20-24).
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7. “Grace to Grace” by Hillsong Worship
This song was recorded on the Let There Be Light album in 2016. When you think of the story of grace, this song captures it. It is the story of the gospel. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ—all because of his love for us and his grace poured out on us.
“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:20-24).
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8. “Were It Not For Grace” by Larnelle Harris
The beauty of this song by Larnelle Harris is the real story of grace. It acknowledges that Christ did for us what we could not do for ourselves. If our salvation was left to us, we would all be without any hope. But that is where grace stepped in, making the way to salvation possible all because of grace.
“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:9-10).
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9. “If Not For Your Grace” by Israel Houghton
This song of grace focuses on the overarching, all-encompassing nature of grace. Grace that rescues you, restores you, redeems you, releases you, and repairs what was broken in your life. Where would we be without this grace for our entire journey with Jesus?
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10. “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” by Chris Tomlin
Finally, we end close to where we begin. Many contemporary artists will take classic hymns about grace and put a modern spin on them. This is what Chris Tomlin has done here, reminding us that our chains are gone—once and for all. We are set free because of God’s grace.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
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Originally published Tuesday, 24 May 2022.