I did not grow up a Lutheran and would have never considered it to be honest. In some ways I was converted against my own will. No matter how hard I tried to prove them wrong I kept failing and then eventually just took the plunge. If you did grow up a Lutheran then this song will be old hat for you. But for me it’s one of those gems I got to discover for the first time late in life. I will be just as hard on it though as I am on the contemporary songs. Let’s see if it has sound theology or not. You can find my source on this hymn HERE.
Lord, ’tis not that I did choose Thee;
That, I know, could never be;
For this heart would still refuse Thee
Had Thy grace not chosen me.
Thou hast from the sin that stained me
Washed and cleansed and set me free
And unto this end ordained me,
That I ever live to Thee.
This first verse is teaching that God has chosen us, not the other way around. How cool is that? It also has baptism imagery tied in with predestination. The following passages come to my mind.
“because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,” Romans 8:7 NASB
“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;” Romans 8:29 NASB
“But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:4-7 NASB
‘Twas Thy grace in Christ that called me,
Taught my darkened heart and mind;
Else the world had yet enthralled me,
To Thy heavenly glories blind.
Now my heart owns none above Thee;
For Thy grace alone I thirst,
Knowing well that, if I love Thee,
Thou, O Lord, didst love me first.
Notice above that we are being taught it is God’s action of Grace that wipes away original sin and changes us into new creations. Even in the song this is centered on God’s actions not on mans. Very different from what you would get out of an arminian song, where your salvation centers in and around your actions rather than on God’s.
Praise the God of all creation;
Praise the Father’s boundless love.
Praise the Lamb, our Expiation,
Priest and King enthroned above.
Praise the Spirit of salvation,
Him by whom our spirits live.
To the great Jehovah give.
In the final verse we also have an exposition of the Trinity. Way to go, no questions about who this song is addressed to. If you have followed my older posts on christian music you know that I don’t believe all of the orthodoxy should come from the context. It needs to be in the song.
This song is a true christian treasure. It is God that chooses us, with his free will. If you experience a decision moment that’s fine. That’s not what I am getting at. But it is important to point out that those moments happen after you have faith not before. To flip that you end up preaching the same false gospel that Rome does, the only difference is that you have put the bar for works salvation a little lower.
|Is this song confessing Biblical theology?||
|Is this song centered on God instead of yourself?||
|Would this song make an Arian heretic uncomfortable?||
|Is there Biblical Gospel in this song?||
|Is there Biblical Law in this song?||
|Is this song clearly addressing God in any capacity at all?||
It’s a little different from the version I know and love, but it’s still the truth of God’s Word and Grace.