The Overlooked Meanings of Ancient Hymns

by E.L. Anglin

It's possible to exist surrounded by Bible verses, hymns and Christian culture, yet somehow never truly understand their meaning. To sing songs about faith, amazing grace and blessed assurance without appreciating the meanings of the terms.

Only when our eyes are truly open to the futility of our efforts can the old hymns spring from our heart as well as our tongue.

With legalism in the past, Isaac Watt's 'At the Cross' explains Romans 3:26.

Watts wrote...

"At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!"

Which is an expression of Romans 3:26...

"...he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus."

John Newton's 'Amazing Grace' is anathema to Oneness Pentecostal Water/Spirit soteriology. It doesn't make sense in that context.

The second stanza...

"T'was Grace that taught...
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear...
the hour I first believed."

Those lyrics better fit John 3:18...

"There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him..."

Fanny Crosby's 'Blessed Assurance' is incomprehensible to those who believe assurance is a myth; that salvation is a series of steps that doesn't end in this lifetime.

"Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood."

These lyrics testify of a past event that echoes into the present and future. They promote security, trust, and peace.

Is an unexamined belief system really your own? How sad it would be to sing these hymns without understanding the theology behind them. Sadder still to never even try.

Listen to the audio link, put your confidence in Jesus, and sing along.


This writing is the copyright of E.L. Anglin and is reprinted on this site by permission. View all of his available articles here.


Page added March 8, 2015

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