Irresistible Grace

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The doctrines of grace are sometimes affectionately referred to as a “family secret.” Many of us who now cherish God’s sovereignty in our salvation were not aware of these precious truths when we came to know the Lord. While they are certainly not to be kept secret, a person does not need a firm grasp of them in order to surrender their life to Jesus and trust in His saving work on the cross to pay for their sins and reconcile them to God. That is what this song is about. The original anonymous 19th century author says “I sought the Lord and afterward I knew He moved my soul to seek him, seeking me.” We hear the gospel invitation that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13) and respond in faith, only to look back with a biblically informed perspective and realize that it was really God who gave us our faith and Him who was really seeking us. The Bible says that before we were saved we were “dead in our trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1) and that we did not seek for God (Romans 3:11) But God stepped into our self-absorbed lives and promised that there would be people who would seek Him. Listen to how Jesus puts it in John 6:37: “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” Acts 10-11 recounts the story of Cornelius and his household trusting in Jesus and in 11:18 it says “God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.” Praise God for the gift of repentance and faith that enables us to seek Him! May we now stand in that same grace that irresistibly drew us!

Lyrics

             (Show Original Wordings)
I sought You, Lord, but now I see
You were the one who was seeking me;
I found You, Lord, and then I knew
That I was found by You.

Chorus:
You have called me with irresistible grace
From before time began.
Thank You, Lord, for saving me;
On Your grace now I can stand.

I took Your hand when I was weak:
Sinking, yet always within Your reach.
My feet were firm though on the sea
For You took hold of me.

I sought, I walked, because Your grace
Long before had fixed my place;
And now I love- how can it be?
'Twas You who first loved me.

Words by anonymous 19th century writer & David L. Ward. Music by David L. Ward.
© 1999,2007 ThousandTongues.org, admin by Thousand Tongues

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Comments

Beautiful! Thank you. Will there be a piano accompaniment soon?
» Helen Stirling on July 8th, 2008

Helen, I can't make any promises about when one might be available but I'll try to remember to contact you when I complete it.

For Christ and His church
» David on July 8th, 2008

What a blessing to find this website! Thank you for sharing these beautiful songs of praise!

Janet
» Janet Billson on July 9th, 2008

im in school, 2nd period & i just found this website.
i need this, i love jesus so much & its so hard in school
pray for the school's.
amen
thank you
» kelsey on September 18th, 2008

Finally!! Worship songs about Jesus instead of about me!!! thank you so much
» jason on November 12th, 2008

[...] - Irresistible grace [...]
» Irresistible Grace « Mercy falls on December 22nd, 2008

Love it. Thanks be to God for His grace towards us! :)
» Tyler on January 26th, 2009

[...] "Irresitable Grace" found here: Reformed Praise Irresistible Grace I sought You, Lord, but now I see You were the one who was seeking me; I found You, Lord, and then I knew That I was found by You. Chorus: You have called me with irresistible grace From before time began. Thank You, Lord, for saving me; On Your grace now I can stand. I took Your hand when I was weak: Sinking, yet always within Your reach. My feet were firm though on the sea For You took hold of me. I sought, I walked, because Your grace Long before had fixed my place; And now I love- how can it be? ‘Twas You who first loved me. The tune is easy to sing, though a little weak, musically speaking, but the words are good. I know there are others, I just can't think of them right now. __________________ J Baldwin Keowee Presbyterian Church, PCA Pickens, SC “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27 Check Out My Blog: http://reflectjoy.blogspot.com/ [...]
» Good Hymns on Election on January 31st, 2009

Beautiful song. Thank you for making this music available. As Jason said, finally songs about what God has done instead of about me.
» Kristine on March 2nd, 2009

I really like this song, but have one question: what is the "sinking" referencing? Our inability to "survive" on our own? Or, does it refer to "sinking in sin, but Jesus saved me"? If it is the later, I have a concern. We were DEAD in sin and the Spirit of God regenerated us. "Sinking' indicates we were alive and about to die.

I apologize for being "nit-picky", but I think there is an importance to being absolutely theologically correct in all analogies. Please let me know what the author's intention for the meaning of those words.

Thank you
» Sandy on April 29th, 2009

Sandy,

The original hymn author wrote: "Thou didst reach forth thy hand and mine enfold; I walked and sank not on the storm-vexed sea; Twas not so much that I on thee took hold as Thou, dear Lord, on me."

I think that the author drew this analogy from the account of Jesus walking on the water and commanding Peter to join him. Here is the account from Matthew 14:25-32 (NASB):
And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." Peter said to Him, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" When they got into the boat, the wind stopped.


When I re-worked the lyrics to fit them into a slightly different meter, I wrote: "I took Your hand when I was weak: Sinking, yet always within Your reach. My feet were firm though on the sea for You took hold of me." The word "sinking" (I wrote "sinking," the original author wrote "I sank not") is referring to what happened to Peter when he took His eyes off of Jesus and began to doubt that Jesus could save Him from the storm-vexed sea. When applied to saving faith, like in the song, I understand it to mean this: When I was weak in my unbelief and unable to hold on to Jesus by my own power to be saved, He reached out His hand and took hold of mine, saving me despite my lack of faith. Jesus had to take the initiative - He had to grab my hand, not vice versa, in order to be saved. I understand the word sinking to mean soaring towards judgment. While we are spiritually dead in our sins and unable to exercise saving faith in Jesus on our own (Eph 2:1), we are not under final condemnation until we die without Christ. In that sense you could say that sinners are sinking - heading towards hell. The Old Testament is full of metaphors using the idea of our foot sliding, sinking in miry clay, etc. and I understand those in the same way - sinking towards final defeat or judgment.

I hope that helps clarify what I (and the original author) mean by the word "sinking!"
» David Ward on May 1st, 2009

oh what a song for our wonderful savior. thank God for using your talents.
» noel villarea on May 10th, 2009

[...] ran across this nice hymn ... Irresistible Grace | Reformed Praise __________________ "... not an unconcerned sitting of God in heaven, from which He merely [...]
incredible! I love this song. We've sung it twice in church, one of them being today. I love the comparisons in the vss.
"I sought You, Lord. But now I see, Your were the one seeking me!"
» Jon Ross on September 13th, 2009

Thanks for your excellent work.

After 25 years at the Central American Theological Seminary in Guatemala City and 15 years at the Puebla Bible Seminary in Mexico we are on the faculty of the Rio Grande Bible Institute in Edinburg, TX on the border of Mexico.
» Dr. Philip Blycker on December 26th, 2009

[...] Irresistible Grace by David L. Ward [...]
Our beloved Pastor is preaching on TULIP the last three weeks.
Thank you for the Hymn choice on 'Irresistible Grace'.
To God be the Glory!
» Lloyd Vaartstra on October 18th, 2010

Even we Wesleyans love this song, although we would rather say, "Prevenient Grace."

But the message is clear!
» Bill Cryderman on November 4th, 2010

[...] > Original in Englisch lesen und hören [...]
» Unwiderstehliche Gnade « KirchenBlog on November 30th, 2010