Hymns of Glory: He Will Hold Me Fast

“Hymns of Glory” will be a recurring series. Its purpose is to reflect on beautiful, sound, and spiritual hymns, both old and modern, that have made a tremendous impact in the lives of those who write for The Reformed Alliance, and have glorified God through it’s all-around composition. May you be blessed by the series, and consider these hymns for personal, family, and corporate worship.

Of all the hymns that I have sang in my years of being a believer in Christ, there is none that has brought more tears, more hope, and more assurance than He Will Hold Me Fast. It was originally penned by Ada R. Habershon (also the writer of Will The Circle Be Unbroken?) after receiving a letter from a fellow hymn writer Robert Harkness. In the letter, Harkness described a brother he met in Canada, a brother which wasn’t sure about his faith. Harkness expressed such anguish in his letter, that he begged Habershon to write a biblically sound hymn that would assure people of their hope in Christ. Habershon wrote the hymn, and Harkness composed the melody for it. Together they composed a beautiful hymn that had wonderful words, but sadly…it was forgotten for a time.

Towards the middle of the 20th century, the popularity of the hymn went down, and the hymn was replaced with shallow, poor gospel songs with little biblical (or, ironically, gospel) truth. However, it has recently been brought back into popularity thanks to Reformed groups such as Keith and Kristen Getty, Sovereign Grace Music, and Norton Hall Band. I couldn’t be more thankful. Though the hymn was written and composed in 1907, I hadn’t heard of it until this year. As I heard the words of this hymn, I wept and lifted my hands in complete surrender to the One who will “hold me fast”. I heard this hymn during a time when it was difficult, and temptations were getting worse; I thought sin would give way into my life.

This hymn reminded me that it is not I who died on the cross, nor I who brought salvation into my poor wretched life, but it was the will of the Father and the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ that has enabled me to hold fast through all this time. It was His wondrous love that beckoned me to the cross, and called me to receive His grace. If God is the perfecter of the faith, how can I be the one to sustain myself? It would be impossible. With Christ, and His abilities, I am able to walk in the faith, persevere through Hell’s temptations, and love Him even in the midst of tribulations. Christ will indeed hold me fast. I needed that in a time when I wanted to take my own life, to go back to sin, or to separate myself from all truth that God had shown me. In a way, discovering the song was proof of God’s hold on my life.

Do those temptations come back? Yes. More often than I wish they would (to everyone who reads, please keep me in your prayers concerning this), but when I pray and study God’s Word in the morning, sing hymns during work and my drives, and discuss theology and biblical truth with my friends, I am reminded of God’s love and goodness. When God gives me friends I can trust, people of the faith that I can call family, and a best friend that has been amazing and nothing, but patient and supportive to me…I can only say, “God…even when I wanted to die…give up…You…held me fast…thank you!”

May this hymn be inspiring to you, as it was to me. To listen to the hymn while reading the lyrics, click here (it is Sovereign Grace Music’s rendition of the hymn during praise at Together for the Gospel Conference). Below are the lyrics:

When I fear my faith will fail
Christ will hold me fast
When the tempter would prevail
He will hold me fast
I could never keep my hold
Through life’s fearful path
For my love is often cold
He must hold me fast

He will hold me fast
He will hold me fast
For my Savior loves me so
He will hold me fast

Those He saves are His delight
Christ will hold me fast
Precious in His holy sight
He will hold me fast
He’ll not let my soul be lost
His promises shall last
Bought by Him at such a cost
He will hold me fast

For my life He bled and died
Christ will hold me fast
Justice has been satisfied
He will hold me fast
Raised with Him to endless life
He will hold me fast
Till our faith is turned to sight
When he comes at last

Soli Deo Gloria.

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