Hymnology: Blessed Assurance - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)
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June 24, 2022

Hymnology: Blessed Assurance

“It is not enough to have a song on your lips. You must also have a song in your heart.”
- Fanny Crosby

In 1873, two close friends, Fanny Crosby and Phoebe Knapp gathered together and unexpectedly developed what we would refer to today as the song, “Blessed Assurance”, one working as the composer, the other as the writer.

It was New York, 1820, when Fanny Crosby was born. She was only two months old when she suffered from an eye infection that received improper treatment. Because of this, Fanny was left mostly blind for the rest of her life, only able to sense light and dark. With her father passing away when she was a baby, her mother was left to work as a maid while her grandmother raised her. Fanny’s grandmother did not look at Fanny’s inability to see as a disability, rather she read Scripture to her, providing a way for Fanny to memorize passages by heart. Although memorizing Scripture was a huge part of Fanny’s early years, it wasn’t until 1850 that she officially committed her life to Jesus Christ.

Over the span of her life, Fanny Crosby wrote over 9,000 hymns. One day Fanny decided to visit her close friend Phoebe Knapp who was also a well-known hymnist and composer of the time. Phoebe decided to share a tune she developed, and Fanny was subsequently inspired to write words to it. The tune and words came together in beautiful unity, providing the foundation for a hymn loved by churchgoers throughout the world.

The hymn, “Blessed Assurance,” consists of three short verses yet amply recounts the beauty of the grace imparted to mankind, the hope found in Salvation, and the expectation of a future wholly encompassed within the all-consuming love of Christ. If one repents of their sins, places their faith, their purpose and life solely in Jesus Christ; Salvation is found. We are able to experience a taste of the everlasting water and become heirs of a promise to an eternity spent exempt from the suffering previously experienced under the bondage of sin.

Born once on earth in flesh, the lifelong destiny of mankind is to remain a debtor to the wages of sin, which is death. But, Christ gave up his life so that we may be born into a new life, one bought, ransomed, and dedicated to God alone. It is at this beautiful moment of submission, repentance, and acceptance of grace that our story begins, a new song can then be sung. A story that testifies to the work accomplished by the author of our Salvation and a song that pours forth praises to the composer of whom our soul owes its newness of life.

Grace is given and grace received, one can delight in the submission of their soul to the Creator that spoke their name into existence. With forgiveness imparted on our behalf, unaccomplishable through our own merit but only by the purity of Christ, our sins are cast as far as the East is from the West. Our past life of sin is forgiven, yet we are to strive for continual sanctification, running in endurance with our eyes set on the prize before us. We are to strive towards our goal to glorify God with our life till our dying breath brings us to our promised new life in Christ. The unseen promise of an eternity in Heaven that we hold fast to even now will then be made sight, all through the mercy and perfect love of Christ.

With our life in continual submission to Jesus our Savior, we can then truly rest, rest our eternity in his hands with perfect assurance. Remaining content in our station on earth, knowing full well happiness, peace, and joy are found in what is everlasting not in the temporary conditions of the flesh. As we are to remain on this earth contented in all things, we have the privilege to watch and wait for a future that we can yearn for with great expectation and hope. We can look to a future where we will stand before our Creator undeserving, knowing that we were sinners destined and deserving of hell, depraved in our sinful condition, lost completely in sin.

In awe, we will bow before him, in full acknowledgement that with perfect justice, God imparted a perfect Sacrifice. In His mercy he gave to the wretched and in His love, he ransomed the undeserving. This is our beautiful story, our everlasting song that we will be witnesses of God’s goodness, beneficiaries of His mercy, recipients of an unfathomable grace, and unworthy heirs to the all-consuming love of God in Christ Jesus. It is because of Christ we have hope, it is in Christ we trust, it is for Christ that we are to live… through it all, praising our Savior all the day long.

- Abby Forton ‘22