“To God Be the Glory” is one of over 8,000 hymns written by one of the most prolific hymnists in history, Fanny J. Crosby.
Written in 1872 and published in 1875 the hymn was very popular in Britain but was not widely used in the United States. In 1954 Cliff Barrows, the song leader for the Billy Graham crusades was asked to add it to the song selection for his London crusade. The next year it was again included in a US crusade in Nashville, Tennessee, and began to gain popularity. Today, it is widely used in songbooks of most churches.
There is a line in the first stanza that recently captured my attention.
To God be the glory, great things He hath done,
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life our redemption to win,
And opened the life-gate that all may go in.
Great Things He Hath Done.
I’m reminded of Mark’s account of Jesus’ healing the demon-possessed man. He apparently was a man with super strength who could not be contained. He lived in the mountains and the tombs. He lived a miserable, tormented, self-destructive life.
But the Bible says when he saw Jesus he shouted. He ran. He bowed down. He worshiped Jesus. He knew who Jesus was–That He was the Son of God. And he begged him not to torment him.
But Jesus had other plans for the man. Jesus cast out the multiple demons that possessed the man into a large herd of pigs that ran down a steep bank into a lake and drowned.
When the word came to the townspeople they found the man Jesus healed, clothed and “in his right mind.” However, they were more concerned about the loss of the pigs that the salvation of the man and ordered Jesus to leave.
As Jesus got into the boat, the man wanted to go with Jesus. But the Master said, “Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you”(Mk. 5:19).
While Jesus’ power over death, through his resurrection, has limited Satan’s power to demon possess people today, the Devil is real. He is active. He seeks to enslave us. To ensnare us. To entangle us in sin. He enjoys keeping us bound to our carnal desires.
When we come running to Jesus and acknowledge Him, we’ve taken the first step toward freedom from sin’s bondage. Through obedience to the saving power of the gospel, we can echo Fanny Crosby’s sentiments.
Oh, perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives
Think of the great things the Lord has done in our lives. In addition to redemption, we now enjoy a relationship with the Lord. Our lives are lifted and changed. Sin’s guilt is expunged. We experience peace of mind. Faith becomes the foundation of a new life. And the hope in which we live gives life meaning, purpose and direction.
Furthermore, we can tap into His power through prayer. We have fellowship with some of the finest people in the world. And the impact of a transformed life improves our homes, our communities and vocations.
Indeed, we can sing, “Great things he has done.”
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice;
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice;
Oh, come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory; great things He hath done.
The great things, of course, are not limited to this life. As my mom often said in her final years, “We’re not put on this earth to live forever.” With a view of our heavenly home, we know the best is yet to be.
Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport when Jesus we see.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman