He Will Hold Me Fast, Hymn Series

June 10, 2021  - By Alyssa Cottrell

This article is part of our Hymn Series, releasing throughout the month of June leading up to the launch of our new Be Still collection. Rooted in praise to the Lord, hymns have a way of helping us slow down to really reflect on and appreciate truths about God and the gospel as we sing the lyrics and meditate on their meaning. It is our prayer that the new resources in the Be Still collection would do the same. The Be Still collection features a hymn-themed stationery set, a brand new Be Still & Know study on the Christ hymns of Colossians and Philippians, and updated versions of our Be Still & Know: Romans 12:9–21 and Be Still & Know: Ephesians 4:17–32 studies. Find these products in the Well-Watered Co. beginning on Wednesday, June 16th!

Earning Favor

I once went on a mission trip to earn God’s favor. As God often does, he used that experience as a turning point in my struggle with legalism. While on that trip, a friend of mine shared that we didn’t have to obey God or perform good works in order to build up a “spiritual resume” to impress him. I was shocked to hear her say that, not because I didn’t think she was right, but because I definitely came on that trip to try to earn favor with God!

Having grown up in the church, legalism has been one of my biggest struggles. I frequently try to earn God’s favor through my good works. If I don’t do enough, I fear that I will lose God’s love. If I continually struggle with the same sin, I think he will give up on me. This leads me to believe that I must “earn my keep” in order to remain in God’s faithful hand, or else I will lose my salvation. 

The first time I heard the hymn “He Will Hold Me Fast,” I was moved to tears. The lyrics were so rich with biblical truth, and they spoke directly to the struggle with legalism I had battled for years. By God’s grace, my fears that I will lose my salvation are false and are proven unfounded in Scripture. The promise of God’s Word that Christ is the one who secures my salvation is echoed in this hymn. And it is these words that I have returned to over and over when my heart needs this reminder of truth. 

When I Fear My Faith Will Fail

The good news of the gospel is that we are saved by grace through faith, not by our own works (Eph. 2:8–9). Any attempt to save ourselves by our own merit will fail. Faith alone in Christ alone is the only way to be reconciled to God (John 14:6). When we doubt our salvation, we are trusting in our own merit to save us. We think that if we feel rightly about God, if we can put aside that stubborn sin struggle, if we can just get in the Word more consistently, then we can be assured. But the gospel tells us that none of those things—while good in and of themselves—can save us.

Colossians 2:6 says, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him.” How did we receive Christ Jesus as Lord? By grace through faith. This is how we continue to walk with him. By grace through faith, we continually repent of sin and pursue righteousness in Christ. Our own merit and efforts could never save us—therefore, they can also never sustain us. As this hymn reminds us, when we fear our faith will fail or that our love for God has grown cold, Christ is the one who holds us fast. As Charles Spurgeon once said, it was never our hold on Christ that saved us—it was Christ himself. 

His Promises Shall Last

In John 10, Jesus shares with a crowd that he gives his sheep eternal life, and “no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28). If we are in Christ, we are secure. His faithful, loving hand holds us tightly and will never let us go. He will never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5), and he is faithful and just to forgive all our sins (1 John 1:9). While it’s true that our own hold on Christ may fail, it is equally true that his hold on us never will. We cannot sin so far as to lose our salvation, and we cannot do enough good works to maintain it. Our salvation is secure simply because Christ’s redemption on our behalf is secure.

In my own struggle with assurance, I have needed to remind myself of these truths again and again. While feelings are real, they are not reliable. I may feel far from God, but I know that he is near. I may feel like I am perpetually struggling with sin, but I know that in Christ, my sins are forgiven. What feels true is not always true. In this struggle of doubt, this hymn has helped to remind me that Christ’s hold on me is secure—no matter how my feelings or circumstances may try to convince me otherwise.

For My Savior Loves Me So

God is the source of our salvation (Heb. 5:9), and he will bring each of our journeys to full completion (Phil. 1:6). As we await Christ’s return, we get to live in the freedom that comes in being assured that we are his. We don’t have to prove our value or earn his favor. He will hold us fast, sisters. Because he loves us so much, gave himself up for us, and is interceding before the Father on our behalf, he will hold us fast. As you meditate on the words of the hymn below, praise God for the truth that in Christ, our salvation is secure because it is his Son, not our own merit, that holds us fast.

He Will Hold Me Fast
Original lyrics: Ada Ruth Habershon
Additional lyrics: Matthew Merker © 2013 Getty Music Publishing

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!

Meet the Author:

Alyssa is passionate about discipling women to love God with all of their hearts, souls, minds, and strength. She currently serves as the Communications Coordinator in her local church in Fort Worth, TX. Reading, writing, and going to the movies are just a few of her simple joys! 

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