I Once Was Ignorant of Grace
DescriptionIn the tradition of songs like “And Can It Be,” this song articulates a Christian’s journey from one who is “ignorant of grace” to one comes to know God’s grace shown at the cross, then to one who will forever weep and sing because of God’s mercy. In verse one we remember our spiritual condition before God called us – we did not understand the grace of God (Colossian 1:6) even while enjoying the benefits of God’s goodness to humanity in general (Matthew 5:45). We were dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1) and needed new hearts (Ezekiel 36:26). But God began his work when he opened our eyes to see our true condition before him and the wonder of grace that he would still give His Son for rebels like us. Because of the cross we need not shrink back before a holy God but may admire, love, and approach Him, thanking Him for giving us our savior, Jesus. And that thanksgiving will overflow into song as we forever remember the Lamb of God who was slain for us (Revelation 5:9).
LyricsI once was ignorant of grace
Though living in its light;
The things of earth held my embrace
And captured all my sight.
Though I was blind and dead in sin
In love You called to me
And gave my heart new life within,
New eyes Your grace to see.
The Spirit then revealed to me
My heart was fully tinged
With strife and boundless enmity
That soon would be avenged.
But then I saw a God of grace
So eager to forgive
He let His Son die in my place
That in Him I might live.
My heart was changed – I then admired
The One I caused such loss
For all that Justice had required
Was finished on the cross.
The Savior then became to me
My joy and all-in-all
And now into eternity
Will never let me fall.
My soul must overflow in song
Each time I call to mind
That to my Jesus I belong
When judgment I should find.
O grant that I might always weep
Because of mercy shown
To one whose treason runs so deep
Yet now is called Your own.
Original PrayerThe Great Discovery (from The Valley of Vision)
I bless thee that I know thee.
I once lived in the world, but was ignorant of its creator,
was partaker of thy providences, but knew not the provider,
was blind while enjoying the sunlight,
was deaf to all things spiritual, with voices all around me,
understood many things, but had no knowledge of thy ways,
saw the world, but did not see Jesus only.
O happy day, when in thy love’s sovereignty
thou didst look on me, and call me by grace.
Then did the dead heart begin to beat,
the darkened eye glimmer with light,
the dull ear catch thy echo,
and I turned to thee and found thee,
a God ready to hear, willing to save.
Then did I find my heart at enmity to thee, vexing thy Spirit;
Then did I fall at thy feet and hear thee thunder,
‘The soul that sins, it must die’,
But when grace made me to know thee,
and admire a God who hated sin,
thy terrible justice held my will submissive.
My thoughts were then as knives cutting my head.
Then didst thou come to me in silken robes of love,
and I saw thy Son dying that I might live,
and in that death I found my all.
My soul doth sing at the remembrance of that peace;
The gospel cornet brought a sound unknown to me before
that reached my hear – and I lived -
never to lose my hold on Christ or his hold on me.
Grant that I may always weep to the praise of mercy found,
and tell to others as long as I live,
that thou are a sin-pardoning God,
taking up the blasphemer and the ungodly,
and washing them from their deepest stain.