Sunday, April 23, 2006

Just As I Am

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou biddest me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot;
To Thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Just as I am, Thy love unknown
Hath broken every barrier down;
Now, to be Thine, yes, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Words by Charlotte Elliott

Without question, this hymn has touched more hearts and influenced more people for Christ than any other song ever written. The text was born within the soul of an invalid woman who wrote these words out of intense feelings of uselessness and despair.

Charlotte Elliott was born in Clapham, England, on March 18, 1789. As a young person she lived a carefree life, gaining popularity as a portrait artist and writer of humorous verse. By the time she was thirty, however, her health began to fail rapidly, and soon she became a bedridden invalid for the remaining years of her life. With her failing health came great feelings of despondency. In 1822 a noted Swiss evangelist, Dr. Caesar Malan, visited the Elliott home in Brighton, England. His visit proved to be a turning point in Charlotte's life. In counseling Miss Elliott about her spiritual and emotional problems, Dr. Malan impressed upon her this truth, "You must come just as you are, a sinner, to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world." Throughout the remainder of her life, Miss Elliott celebrated every year the day on which her Swiss friend had led her to a personal relationship with Christ, for she considered it to be her spiritual birthday. Although she did not write her text for this hymn until 1836, fourteen years after her conversion experience, it is apparent that she never forgot the words of her friend, for they form the very essence of this hymn.

In all, Charlotte Elliott wrote approximately 150 hymns. She is generally regarded as one of the finest of all English women hymn writers. It is said that after her death more than a thousand letters were found among her papers from individuals around the world, expressing testimonials for what this one hymn had meant in their lives.

Only eternity will reveal the vast number of individuals whose lives have been dramatically changed through the use of this one hymn from the pen of an invalid woman. It is a hymn that can and should be used more frequently than merely an invitational number at the close of a service. Its message is one that we as believers need to be reminded of frequently-that our eternal standing and peace with God depends solely on Christ's merits and not our own.


ABFreedom said...

Well she's definitely valid now ... "invalid woman" is sure a rotten way to put it... sounds like something islam would write, but I guess back then those were the words of the day.

Gayle said...

Wonderful post, JGF. Absolutely wonderful!

I don't think too many people associate the word "invalid" with being "invalidated." At least I never did, but AB does make a good point, doesn't he?

We still use words such as "crippled" and "disabled" which aren't much better.

shoprat said...

two more verses that I know

Just as I am poor, wretched, blind
Sight, riches, healing of the mind
all of these and more to find(?)
Oh Lamb of God, I come, I come

Just as I am though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt
Though facing foes within and without(?)
Oh Lamb of God, I come, I come.

The (?) means I don't remember that line exactly and I am trying to do this from memory.

Son of Adam said...

This hymn is one of my favorites.

Jesus will accept me 'Just As I Am', but he definately doesn't want me to stay that way.

Rebekah said...

What an inspirational story. Definitely one of my favorite hymns!