"O ‘TIS WONDERFUL!"
"Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time" (1 Tim. 2.6)
INTRO.: A song which expresses joy at the fact that Jesus gave His life as a ransom for us is "O ‘Tis Wonderful." The text was written by I. I. Leslie. I have not been able to find out any further information about this author or the date and source of publication for the song. The tune was composed by F. A. Blackmer. Cyberhymnal does list a composer named Francis Augustus Blackmer, who was born on Feb. 17, 1855, at Ware, MA. Though he attended the Wilbraham Academy, when it came to music, he was largely self-taught. After producing his first song at age sixteen, he went on to become a composer and songwriter who is credited with around 300 hymns. A member of the Adventist Church, he spent most of his life in Somerville, MA, near Boston, where he had a pianoforte business.
Songbooks which Blackmer compiled include The Gospel in Song from 1884, which probably included his hymns "Numberless as the Sands" and "Once I Thought I Walked With Jesus;" The Gospel Awakening from 1888; Singing by the Way from 1895; and Songs of Coming Glory from 1926. Some of his other hymns are "No Dying There" from 1892, "I Do Believe the Bible" from 1905, and "O the Peace My Savior Gives." In addition, he was a song leader at the Alton Bay camp meetings in Lake Winnepesaukee, NH, from 1914 until 1930. His death occurred at Somerville on Oct. 8, 1930. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, "O ‘Tis Wonderful" appeared in the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2 edited by L. O. Sanderson.
The song refers to the joy of salvation in Christ as it relates to past, present, and future.
I. Stanza 1 talks about the past
"When I was far away and lost, O ’tis wonderful!
That I was saved at such a cost! O ’tis wonderful!"
A. Once, we all were far away and lost because we were like sheep going astray: 1 Pet. 2.25
B. However, God made it possible for us to be saved: Acts 2.21
C. Yet, it was at "such a cost" because the price was the blood of Jesus Christ: 1 Pet. 1.18-19
II. Stanza 2 talks about the present
"I once was blind, but now I see; O ’tis wonderful!
Was bound by sin, but now am free; O ’tis wonderful!"
A. When we were lost in sin, we were spiritually blind, but like the man who was cured of physical blindness by the Lord, after we were saved we can now spiritually see: Jn. 9.25
B. Also when we were lost, we were bound by the slavery of sin: Rom. 6.16-18
C. However, Christ makes it possible for us to be free: Gal. 5.1
III. Stanza 3 talks about the future
"Some day I’ll see the Savior’s face, O ’tis wonderful!
And find with Him a resting place; O ’tis wonderful!"
A. While we rejoice in the blessings of salvation now, we look forward to "some day" when the Lord returns: Phil. 3.20-21
B. The hope that God offers those who are saved is to see the Savior’s face when He comes back: 1 Jn. 1.1-3
C. Then, the righteous will find with Him a resting place and enjoy eternal life: Mk. 10.29-30
CONCL.: The chorus continues the paean of joy for what Christ has done for us.
"O ’tis wonderful! O ’tis wonderful,
That Jesus gave His life for me! O ’tis wonderful!"
When we think about the utter abject spiritual condition that all of us were in because of our sin and contrast that to the wonderful love of God in sending Jesus to die on the cross that we might have salvation from sin now and the hope of eternal life with God in heaven, we are moved to say, "O ‘Tis Wonderful!"