Day 2

Wonderful Grace of Jesus

from the reading plan

Romans 5:12-21, 1 Timothy 1:12-17, Hebrews 7:23-25

Newly married and setting up house with his young bride, Haldor Lillenas wondered how he was going to provide for his family after barely pulling together enough money to finish building their home. Music composition was his passion, but he didn’t have a piano in his tiny new abode.

When a neighbor offered a dusty organ with cracked leather and stiffened stops for the price of five dollars, Haldor eagerly bought the wheezy organ and set about composing. As he settled into family life, he wrote many songs on that first, imperfect instrument.

One of the early compositions Haldor wrote on that five-dollar organ was “Wonderful Grace of Jesus,” which he, in turn, sold for five dollars (Brown 117). This small investment helped him write more songs, better songs—over 4,000 hymns in his lifetime—and he went on to found his own music publishing company.

“Wonderful Grace of Jesus” is a triumphant song about the abundant grace of Christ (1 Timothy 1:14), one that is deeper than the sea and higher than the mountains. It is a beautiful picture of God’s mighty grace in our times of want and His generous mercy in seasons of blessing.

Wonderful Grace of Jesus
Haldor Lillenas

Wonderful grace of Jesus,
Greater than all my sin;
How shall my tongue describe it,
Where shall its praise begin?
Taking away my burden,
Setting my spirit free;
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.


Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus,
Deeper than the mighty rolling sea;
Higher than the mountain, sparkling like a fountain,
All-sufficient grace for even me!
Broader than the scope of my transgressions,
Greater far than all my sin and shame;
Oh, magnify the precious Name of Jesus,
Praise His Name!

Wonderful grace of Jesus,
Reaching to all the lost,
By it I have been pardoned,
Saved to the uttermost;
Chains have been torn asunder,
Giving me liberty;
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.

Wonderful grace of Jesus,
Reaching the most defiled,
By its transforming power,
Making him God’s dear child,
Purchasing peace and heaven
For all eternity—
And the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.

Brown, Robert, and Mark R. Norton. The One Year Great Songs of Faith. Tyndale House Publishers, 2005.

Post Comments (34)

34 thoughts on "Wonderful Grace of Jesus"

  1. Kevvinlim says:

    Through Adam all men sin. Through Jesus all men be saved. “18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.” Romans 5:18

    God’s grace (Greek: charis) means favor. There are nothing we can do, only His grace and mercy. His kindness reach us in our need.

    “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God”
    Ephesians 2:8

  2. Yang says:

    Complete reversal and not just that. Utter defeat of sin. Grace’s effect surfs on the wave of sin and spreads all the more so when sin does.

  3. Jacob Carney says:

    The wonderful grace of Jesus, where is it to me. I want to feel your presence, but how can this be. My hearth is beaten and broken, my soul cries out for you. I want to feel your mercy, and feel your presence too. I am lost in this battle, I don’t know what to do. You say that you will save me, is that what you’re going to do? My heart is beaten and broken I don’t know what to do. I want to seek your mercy and my soul cries out for you. So come and save me Jesus, like you said you’re going to do. Give me hope that you’ll repair me, and make all things new. I don’t know what to do Lord, but I am seeking you. I’m wrecked beyond belief, but I’ll call out to you. To the King of all the ages, immortal, invisible too. The only God in heaven, I will come to you. I will give you honor and glory for all my days, because you have redeemed me and you deserve my praise. Although I’m crushed and hurting, you’ll calm my storm for me. I don’t know when you’ll do this, but this is what I believe. That your mercies are abounding and your grace pours out to me. My LORD, my GOD please save me from my unbelief. I want to be in your presence, to calm these stormy seas. I want you to hold me, so I can live and breath. My GOD, my LORD will save me and cure my unbelief. He comforts me through storms and aids me in my grief. Jesus please save me from this hurt and pain, I want to serve you Jesus and be cleansed from all my stains. I need you Lord Jesus, I need you by my side. So come to my in spirit and I will abide. Come Sweet Jesus, come and save my soul to thee, save me from the wailing and crushing sins of she.

  4. Grant McClure says:

    Grace upon grace.

    I mess up. I sin. But Gods grace is sufficient my friend. Christ came into the world to save a sinner like me. And because of his grace I can receive eternal life.

    I listened to the hymn on YouTube. So many different versions and variations. Love the upbeat triumphant feel. This was my favorite…

    Grace. Unending, immeasurable, unchanging grace.

  5. Calen Warkentin says:

    Gods grace, can be found in the most imperfect instrument and the most imperfect Man !

  6. Andrew Carey says:

    Grace is not equal to my sin; it is infinitely greater. My sin infects my life with death by the grace of Jesus overwhelms it with abundant life!

  7. Justin Lowery says:

    What a powerful song! I think it’s easy to think that newer praise and worship songs are somehow different than traditional hymns, but when you read the lyrics and feel the message of the songs, you realize that they are all declaring the same message of the powerful, matchless grace of Jesus and His transforming power in our lives, souls and hearts. I am glad we have new and old songs alike to sing and declare the glory of God in any occasion, season or mood that life throws our way!

  8. Matt Vanderworp says:

    Truly the grace of Jesus reaches the most defiled of sinners. The wonderful grace of Jesus gives us a freedom to live in Christ and love our neighbor and delight in Christ. Without Jesus we would all be condemned under the law. How liberating!!!! How liberating to know that the grace of Jesus allows me to have full access to the almighty creator of the universe!

    I hadn’t heard this hymn before, but it’s now one of my favorites. Praise God!

  9. Jared Phillips says:

    God’s grace is overwhelming. When we think of the word ‘overwhelming’, we think of it in terms of a negative connotation: our jobs stress us out, our obligations (family and personal) eat at our time, the storms of life come and cripple us. But the hope and grace that is in Christ Jesus is overwhelming in the sense of pure joy, hope, and freedom. To be overwhelmed with the all-encompassing, inexplicable grace that Our Father has lavished on us because we are his children is to live our lives marked by joy, viewing our struggles and events in life through a lens of “God is in control!” To be overwhelmed with this vast, deep, and drowning grace is to have assurance that whatever political or economical disaster afflicts us, we have a Savior who’s making a triumphant return. To be overwhelmed by an amazing grace, simply put, gives us freedom to boldly proclaim the Gospel through the way we serve others, give to the broken, and pray for our enemies. God, continue to overwhelm me with your grace. May I not lose my childlike wonder of your love. May you continually shape me and sanctify me to look like your Son. Thank you for the grace you lavish upon your children, for you love them dearly.

  10. Dalton Beaty says:

    The beauty of the arrangement of God’s word never ceases to amaze me. It’s so beautiful that most of the scripture can simply have a melody added to it and it comes to life with beautifully resounding words and truths to be sung throughout ages and ages.

  11. John says:

    What a wonderful hymn! The words of this song, backed by the passages in Romans, 1 Timothy, and Hebrews, serves as a great reminder for me. Christ died for me! His grace is matchless for all my sins, it’s deeper and more mighty than any transgression that I could commit; it’s all-sufficient grace for even me! Thank God for his grace. Thank God for Jesus, who is the Christ. Thank God for life, and giving life abundantly. Amen!

  12. Dillon Davis says:

    Wonderful grace. All sufficient for me. A free gift. A large and expensive gift but free nonetheless. I am forever grateful for the grace afforded me. I was the chief of sinners too, Paul. Thank you Jesus. This is part of whAt praise does. Reminds us of the truth and your truth is the only truth that matters.

  13. Jared Paul Wilson says:

    Matt Chandler says, “Forgiveness is the ultimate example of God’s unique beauty.” I’m thankful for God’s consistent love, regardless of my ever wandering heart. It’s easy to say God’s grace is sufficient, but does my life speak that truth too? Sometimes, yes. Much of the time, maybe. And a little of the time I reflect the opposite as I divulge in sin that’s nothing more than destructive, leading to death. May I speak louder with my actions than my words that God’s grace is sufficient and the sacrifice on the cross has freed a condemned man.

  14. Isaiah Gray says:

    It’s interesting how often Jesus and Adam are compared in the Bible. One passes sin unto all mankind, the other OFFERS a path away from that sin to all mankind. And we are called to choose the path we take…which Adam will we be?

  15. Steve says:

    The grace finds me daily.
    Made available through the one who extends grace to all.
    But it’s a daily choice.
    A daily choosing to find myself in the grace.
    In every encounter. In every opportunity.
    I choose to follow.

  16. Nathan says:

    Jesus reaches me no matter how far I run or how deep I go. No amount of sin can beat him. He has carried it all and rose victorious! He has saved me! How great your love is!

  17. Catherine Faith Dela Cruz says:

    Trust in the Lord and you will never regret because He is the only one who can save us from our sins and protect us from the evil ones, He will never leave our side even if we don’t believe in Him but He is always there to come and pick you up when your down, listen when you crying, hearing all your problems and loving us unconditionally.

  18. Sean Otto says:

    I could not thank the Lord enough for the continuous grace that I don’t deserve. He covers me in renewal of the mind and body. He fills my heart with Love that I could never have any other way.

  19. David says:

    Wow, how great is Gods grace?! This man was willing to praise God and write hymns for others to see God even though at first he didn’t believe he could do it financially. The faith he had in God was great and blessed him for it. Our God is great and full of grace.

  20. Noah Melan says:

    God’s grace can be a difficult thing to comprehend. It makes no sense. Hillsong United said it well when they wrote, “Faith makes a fool of what makes sense, but grace found my heart where logic ends.”
    Grace is defined as “simple elegance, a period officially allowed for payment of a sum due, a time of thanksgiving, a form of description even of a royal being. It is also a word describing the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.”
    Every one of these definitions, whether they found roots in our faith or not, are beautiful descriptors of the all-encompassing grace of God. I’m sure there’s even more that goes into God’s grace and that this doesn’t even scratch the surface!
    But wow. A grace that encompasses our failure, shame, loss, insecurities and so much more that we don’t even deserve is unbelievable to wrap our head around. What a beautiful thing.

  21. Jordan Serio says:

    Wow, Jesus is a careless lover.

  22. James Kvas says:

    4,000 hymns that started with his old organ is a lot. Reading through these passages and examining the life of Paul is a great reminder to the grace that Christ gives to all of us. Taking an enormous sinner like Paul who persecuted many Christians in his early life and making him clean through the mercy and grace shown to him. It is also interesting to see how Paul is humble in the fact that he admits to being the foremost of all sinners, and knows that he needs the grace that God offers for than anyone else. How often do I admit that I’m am the biggest sinner I know instead of comparing my sins to others?

  23. Tony says:

    Grace, what have you done?

    Such a beautiful concept that just as much we’ve taken advantage of. Grace is the enablement to do what our flesh chose not to do before. Because we were born into and live in sin, our “auto-pilot” nature says to do certain things. But God gives us grace so that we can let the spirit and the nature of God work inside of us even more.

    The more we say “Yes” to God, the more we can say “No” to what our standard worldly nature says to us. That’s what grace truly is.

    Grace is never the enablement to sin. It’s the empowerment to do what’s right.

  24. Ryan says:

    Wow, this is so great, I love knowing the history. I wish people these days would realize hymns came out of the heart of people who God gave words and music to, just as well as the likes of Bethel, Tonkin and others.

  25. Benjamin McKnight says:

    I thought it a rather straightforward and surface level hymn at first, but really thinking about the implications of the line [His wonderful grace is] “reaching the most defiled” resonates with a guilty heart and one that lacks purpose or reason to get out of bed or for lack of a better term, a lazy ass, just because I can be and I have nothing better to do, but the grace of God can not only set me free from guilt. But also give me purpose.

  26. Ben says:

    I, as a born sinner, do not deserve anything other than death. Jesus comes in and gives me grace. An undeserved grace. He could disown me for all the wrong I’ve done and all the times I have single handedly strayed people away from His kingdom by not following what I know to be right. When I’m with friends and there is alcohol or the language we use or the content of our conversations. There are many times I stumble and God gives me this grace.
    I don’t discount this and say ” well if the grace will always be given, then I’ll just keep doing me and fingers crossed hope for the best..”
    I want to change the way I am because of the grace that is given. I like to think of it like an opportunity for me to change the way I am. The intention behind our actions means everything. We aren’t living the “right way” or doing the “right thing” because there is a since of quid pro quo; Jesus did this for me now I have to do my due diligence and return the favor. We look at the grace as an opportunity for change. We don’t have to change, but we should want to change because of the grace shown to us.

  27. Caleb says:

    God’s grace is so good. There is nothing in this world that is able to save me from the destructive life that I am so easily swayed by except for God’s grace. Instead of allowing us to die in our sins and be forever in torment, God sent Jesus to right the wrong we caused. I am so thankful for that. I’ve lived a life where I didn’t want God first in it and it was tremendously destructive and lonely and it left me empty. But as soon as I came back to God, those feelings changed. Even if it didn’t change my circumstance right away, it changed my perspective and I started to realize that the circumstance I was in wasn’t what I wanted and God helped me out of it and gave me hope.

  28. Dustin says:

    It’s easy to think that my sin is great and there’s no way Jesus could truly forgive me. Or I can believe that I’m forgiven, but somehow God’s grace doesn’t fully cover it. It’s all a lie. The Lord’s grace and mercy are far greater than I can imagine. I have to remind myself daily that His love abounds and covers my sins. Jesus took my sin to the cross and paid the price for me. In my guilt, it’s easy to hold onto things and punish myself. But Jesus took the punishment so that I can go free.

  29. Cooper says:

    The Grace of Jesus is so truly magnificent, it guides us, it protects us, it washes us clean and makes us new. The Grace of Jesus saves man and lifts him from his sins and the Grace of Jesus is one that life truly can’t go on without. For the by the Grace of Jesus those who believe in him have everlasting eternal life.

  30. Vinicius Marques says:

    The wonderful grace of Jesus. When it reaches te make deified and the lost, it reached me. That was me. How can I thank him for reaching me? Sometimes we just have to shout out “PRAISE HIS NAME”

  31. Jordan Hobbs says:

    I feel no grace, no love, no peace
    My heart it breaks and silence screams
    I fear, I doubt, but I still believe
    If only I could see
    I feel lost, worthless, and without hope
    I feel I’m falling down a slippery slope
    I have anger, angst and no way to cope
    If only I could know

    If only I could know you more
    If only I could know you now
    If only I could know you Lord
    In this season of tiresome doubt (2X)

    I feel like heaven is closed to my entrance
    I feel like hell is my closest friend
    I’ve run away from my love with my mistress
    My love whom I promised my love to the end
    I feel like this world is dark and cold
    Now I have no one to hold
    I’ve been enslaved, to many been sold
    If only I could know

    If only I could know you more
    If only I could know you now
    If only I could know you Lord
    In this season of tiresome doubt (2X)

  32. Spencer Dabbs says:

    I attend NewSpring Church in SC (we have many campuses only in SC) and In my youth group [FUSE] this past Wednesday we started a new 4-5 week series called “Growth” and the start of it was that God will up root us and place us where we need to be in order for us to grow, He places us beside the still waters so we can get some water (His Word) in our roots (our hearts), but in this it said that the planting season is the spring, it’s May right now, it’s spring, then the growing season is the summer, (next month), so after God moves us to be planted and after He works in our lives, we grow, then after we have went through the those seasons, God then let’s us go through the seasons of blessings.

  33. Josh W says:

    The story behind the hymn is like a snapshot into my life. Despite trials and hardships, God providing just what I need when I need it. Even if God never did anything else for me and my life was horrible, He’s already done more than could even deserve just by sending His son Jesus as sacrifice for my sins. His grace is wonderful and matchless… deeper and higher than I could ever imagine and more sufficient than all else. Thank you God for your grace in my life, and for drawing me to you in spite of all my failures.

  34. Brett F says:

    Jesus, thank you for your grace and saving me, a sinner. How I need you every day.

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