“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.


This is, quite easily I might add, my absolute favorite hymn. This is a Hymns of Glory post, however, I’d like to use a slightly different format than James usually uses. I’m doing this for a couple of reasons.

1. The song’s writer, Charitie Lees Smith, was born in 1841, was the daughter of a minister and a hymn writer, and wrote this hymn in 1863. Aside from that, there isn’t a lot of background information to be found about this particular song like there is with It is Well With My Soul

2. I think the lyrics are more than rich enough to justify taking time to go through them instead of the narrative of the hymn-writer’s life.

For these reasons, I hope you’ll join me in plumbing the depth of these lines and reveling in the majesty of our Lord!

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea
A great High Priest, whose name is love
Who ever lives and pleads for me

This is the first line of this glorious hymn. Let’s dissect it a bit. “Before the Throne of God above” insinuates that we are talking about a court setting. We are on trial, and God himself is our judge. If you are honest with yourself at all, you know that this is a court case you’ve no chance of winning. Isaiah didn’t win in Isaiah 6, and John didn’t win in Revelation 1, and you, reader, also have no hope of winning. Upon the sight of the Lord, your guilt is realized in full, and a confession is imminent, (Isa. 6:5) if not death. (Rev.1:17)

We, however, have a “strong and perfect plea/ A great High Priest whose name is Love/ Who ever lives and pleads for me.” This wonderful truth is realized in the Christian’s heart, that we have a perfect plea in this very situation! This plea is none other than Christ’s interposition of his blood on our behalf. This means that, while we may stand before God, guilty and blameworthy, Christ is the one seen by God. He is our “great High Priest” interceding before God, on our behalf, saying, “Father forgive them, for I have purchased them with my cross, and you have punished their sin in me. Accept them, therefore, because they are joined together with me.” That he was once slain and now lives to intercede for us who were bought by his blood is the framework for our very faith and the nail upon which we may hang our salvation. (Rev. 1:18; 1 Cor. 15:17)

My name is graven on His Hands
My name is written on His heart
I know that while in heav’n He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Write your plans in pencil and give God the eraser?” Well, God writes in stone, where no eraser can take away, nor pen can add. When it is said that “My name is graven on his hands,” such language signifies the covenant relationship between God and his people. Those who are in covenant with God, can neither be lost, nor forsaken, except by a breach of the covenant. Since we are in Christ, and Christ cannot break covenant with the Father, we cannot be lost, cast out, done away with, or forsaken. Thus, we may sing, with great fervor and joy, “I know that while in heav’n he stands/ no tongue can bid me thence depart!” 

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look, and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin

How often are we tempted to look upon ourselves in light of our sinful states and think, “I am beyond loving. How could anyone love a sinner such as I?” In this hymn we sing that, even in these dark and trying times, we may look upward, as Christians, to Christ and believe in him. We may rest in the truth that Christ actually made an end of our sin. There is no sin that now has sway over our souls as they stand before God.

Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me

Now we get to the heart of all true theology: justification. Justification is the doctrine describing our understanding of how we are reconciled to God. This song lets us know that God looks upon the spotless Lamb on the cross and pardons the guilty sinners whose places he takes. God counts as righteous all who believe in Christ’s atonement for them. Christ’s righteousness is imputed, or counted, to us, and our sin is imputed, or counted, to him. This “Great Exchange” is the basis for our relationship with God.

Behold Him there, the risen Lamb
My perfect, spotless Righteousness
The great unchangeable I AM
The King of glory and of grace
One with Himself, I cannot die
My soul is purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ, my Savior and my God

The last verse of this song is a celebratory one. It rejoices in the beauty and wonder of Christ himself being our “alien” righteousness, as Luther would say. We have done nothing to merit this favor from God, but he still delights in blessing us so. In praise we respond with Behold him there the risen Lamb! Overwhelmed with love and admiration for Christ, the song hits a crescendo with the lines, My soul is purchased by his blood/ my life is hid with Christ on high/ With Christ my Savior and my God! 

We started with the recognition of where we were and what state we were in, and now we finish with who Christ is. Christ is the Christian’s Savior! He is our God! (To listen to the song, click here. To follow along with the lyrics, they below.)

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea
A great High Priest, whose name is love
Who ever lives and pleads for me
My name is graven on His Hands
My name is written on His heart
I know that while with God He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look, and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me

Behold Him there, the risen Lamb
My perfect, spotless Righteousness
The great unchangeable I AM
The King of glory and of grace
One with Himself, I cannot die
My soul is purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ, my Savior and my God

Soli Deo Gloria.