How could a sinner such as I
Obtain God’s favored grace?
My sins should sentence me to die
and hide me from His face.

How could a sinner such as I
Receive God’s boundless love
While other loves had passed me by
His sought me from above.

How could a sinner such as I
Become an heir of Heaven,
And royal gifts and honors high
to me be feely given?

How could a sinner such as I
Be used in God’s great plan
What good in me could He espy
To want this worthless man?

God says, “The reach of sovereign grace
Is perfectly in view
When I delight to stoop and save
A sinner such as you.”

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This hymn was occasioned by the birth of my firstborn, Jacob Adam. I not only wrote the words, but also the melody (beautifully brought to life with Jared M. Salyards’ harmonization). I would sing it to him (and still do) as I rocked him to sleep, which gives the tune a lullaby feel. My wife and I were inspired to use the name “Jacob” as we came to love the story of the patriarch while I was preaching through a series on Genesis. There are few biblical characters less exemplary than Jacob. He was a liar, a thief, a cheat. Yet Jacob’s claim to fame isn’t any of his many chortcomings, but rather that God loves him despite them. Jacob’s story is one of a sinner turned saint; a wretch used mightily in the hands of a merciful Lord. Really, it’s the story of every Christian. We have nothing to offer God but our weakness and sin and failures. This should cause all of us to cry out, “How could a sinner such as I obtain God’s favored grace?” As the final stanza reveals, the answer has nothing to do with us, and everything to do with God. We are saved for the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved (Eph. 1:6).

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