By Susan Aken, Crosswalk.com
Growing up, the hymn “Blessed Assurance” etched its words on my heart. Occasionally, when I’m alone worshipping God, the lyrics of this song will come to mind and I sing from my heart with joy. Written almost 150 years ago it’s as powerful as ever!
“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!”
At times, I’ve struggled with doubts about my salvation. At 13, being aware of sin in my heart like pride, selfishness, and hatred, and knowing Jesus came to earth, lived perfectly, died for my sin and rose again conquering death, I placed my faith in Him. I believed in Him and He gave me eternal life. But along the way, I heard others add a but to eternal life. “Yes, you must believe in Jesus,” they’d say, “but, you also must...” adding works to salvation. Or Satan, our spiritual enemy, would whisper, “How could you be a Christian? Look at what you said, felt, or did?” This left me wondering, “Will I live eternally in heaven when I leave earth?”
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What Is “Blessed Assurance?"
Many Christians doubt their eternal security. We can become trapped into thinking that if we aren’t doing enough or aren’t holy enough then we’ve lost our salvation, or maybe were never saved. Fanny Crosby, who wrote the lyrics to this song, stood firm on her faith in Jesus. As a child, she memorized multiple books of the Bible. She knew the promise written in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Salvation is a gift we don’t earn or deserve. We believe in Jesus and receive it by faith.
Assurance means to be certain and confident, free from doubt. Blessed assurance is a holy or sacred confidence. It’s an unshakeable certainty of the truth, “Jesus is mine,” He is my Savior and Lord forever.
Blind from six-weeks old, Fanny Crosby, a devout Christian, strong in faith, a celebrity in her time, and probably a genius, penned the lyrics to this song and more than 9,000 other hymns. She frequently wrote words to fit the music composed by others. One day her friend Phoebe Knapp played a song on the piano and asked Fanny if she could provide lyrics. As was her custom, Fanny first prayed and then she spoke, “It says, ‘Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!’” She then dictated all the stanzas for this beloved hymn.
Blessed assurance! Glorious guarantee! Anyone who believes in Jesus belongs to Him forever.
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A Taste of What Lies Ahead
“Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!”
A foretaste is a preview of what God has planned for us. The gift of salvation and the life of faith we have with Jesus is a glimpse of the glory to come in heaven. As John, the beloved disciple, wrote in Revelation 21:23 concerning eternity, “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” We will see His glory and live in His Light!
Orphans Made Children of God
“Heir of salvation, purchase of God.”
We’re heirs of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, since He bought us with His blood shed on the cross. This beautiful truth is revealed in Galatians 4:4-7, which states, “But when the set time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts… So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you’re His child, God has made you also an heir.” Because He made us His children, we’re full heirs and will receive salvation—not because we deserve it or earn it, but because we’re His kids.
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Cleansed by a Perfect Sacrifice
“Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.”
Jesus told Nicodemus, a religious teacher in ancient Israel, “You must be born again” (John 3:7). He was referring to being born of the Spirit. When we believe in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit fills our souls. We’re reborn through His power and become entirely new. As Scripture says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” We become new because Jesus lived a perfect life and willingly died for us. Talking about being washed in the blood sounds strange in today’s world and maybe a little creepy, but it’s a beautiful picture of a sin-sick soul being purified by the perfect blood of Jesus. He took our sins and gave us His righteousness which we receive by faith. Through Christ, God sees us as holy and blameless, spotlessly clean.
If our son was about to be executed and they allowed me take his place, leaving him free and unaccused, I would do it. Then you could say he was saved by my blood. Sin demanded a blood sacrifice. God’s word says, “The law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22). Jesus was the perfect sacrifice and, “...the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
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Ultimate Joy Found in Surrender
“Perfect submission, perfect delight.”
When we submit to Christ and surrender our hearts to Him, we find true joy, perfect delight. Earthly things provide temporary pleasures. Knowing the perfect love and forgiveness of Jesus gives us an unexplainable peace. Sin’s root is rebellion. Pride tells God, “I’ll live life my way.” Following Jesus requires submitting to Him and denying our selfish bent. One paradox the Bible teaches is we find peace and joy by dying to self. We can’t achieve perfect submission here on earth, but His joy fills us when we yield to Christ. We make this choice each day and throughout the day as we listen to His voice and follow His lead. As Jesus said, “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27).
The Apostle Paul, expressed this feeling in Philippians 3:8 when he wrote, “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.”
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Meeting Christ Face to Face
“Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.”
We can’t know what Fanny Crosby was thinking when she wrote the first line of this stanza. Perhaps it was the moment when heaven would be her first sight filling her with rapture or intense joy. When a minister told her it was a pity God didn’t give her sight, she replied, “Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I was born blind? Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior” (Christianity Today). The promise of eternity is possible because of God’s love and mercy in not giving us the judgement we deserve.
Listen to His echoes of mercy: "So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death” (Romans 8:1).
Listen to His whispers of love: “God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (1 John 4:9-10).
Christ at Home in Our Souls
“Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.”
Once we yield to Christ, all is well with our souls. We can have peace trusting He knows what is best and guides us with love and wisdom. It’s possible to experience happiness in Jesus regardless of circumstances. Our souls then watch for Him, looking ahead to eternity with our Savior. Jesus urged His followers in Matthew 24:42, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know what day your Lord will come.” We are to live like the Patriarchs mentioned in Hebrews 11:13, 16 who, “Admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth...Were longing for a better country—a heavenly one.”
God’s Spirit fills us with His goodness as He produces His fruit in us (Galatians 5:22-23). We can lose ourselves in His great love believing as King David wrote in Psalm 63:3, “Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.”
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Telling a Story of Worship and Praise
The chorus was Fanny’s response to the glorious truths of this song:
“This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.”
In light of all the great truth taught in this song, how could we not praise Him all day long? For believers, this is our story. We’re loved. Redeemed. Rescued. Eternally secure in Christ.
Fanny Crosby wrote “Blessed Assurance’s” lyrics within a short period of time. One of the reasons she could do so is because her heart and mind were filled with Scripture. Then, she depended on the Holy Spirit and listened for His inspiration. She lived her 92 years praising God, serving Him, and writing for His glory. We would do well to follow her example in saturating our minds and hearts with Scripture and in living to serve others.
Fanny didn’t complain about what she did not have; she used what she did have to the best of her ability. May we all do the same.
Listen to this beautiful hymn here.
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