“What a Wonderful Savior”

…And know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world" (Jn. 4.42)

      INTRO.: A song which praises Jesus Christ because He is the Savior of the world is "What A Wonderful Savior." The text was written and the tune (Benton Harbor) was composed both by Elisha Albright Hoffman (1839-1929). The song was first published by Biglow and Main Co. in the 1891 Gospel Hymns No. 6 edited by Ira David Sankey, and also appeared in Sankey’s 1894 Gospel Hymns 1-6 Complete. Hoffman was a prolific hymnwriter whose well-known works include "I Must Tell Jesus," "Is Thy Heart Right With God?", "Are You Washed in the Blood of the Lamb?", and texts for "Glory To His Name," "To Christ Be Loyal and Be True," and "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms." Regarding "What A Wonderful Savior," among hymnbooks published during the twentieth century by members of the Lord’s church for use in churches of Christ, the chorus appeared in the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 edited by E. L. Jorgenson. The entire song is found in the 1977 edition of the 1971 Songs of the Church and the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed., both edited by Alton H. Howard.

      The song identifies many of the blessings that we can have from Christ as our Savior.

I. Stanza 1 refers to His redemption
"Christ has for sin atonement made, What a wonderful Savior!
We are redeemed! the price is paid! What a wonderful Savior!"
 A. Christ has for sin atonement made: Rom 5.11
 B. Therefore we are redeemed: Eph. 1.7
 C. This is possible because the price is paid: 1 Cor. 6.19

II. Stanza 2 refers to His blood
"I praise Him for His cleansing blood, What a wonderful Savior!
That reconciled my soul to God; What a wonderful Savior."
 A. It is possible for us to have cleansing or washing from sin: Eph. 5.26
 B. The agent which provides this cleansing is the blood of Christ: 1 Jn. 1.7
 C. The result is that our souls can be reconciled to God: 2 Cor. 5.18

III. Stanza 3 refers to His reign
"He cleansed my heart from all its sin, What a wonderful Savior!
And now He reigns and rules therein; What a wonderful Savior!"
 A. Jesus cleanses our hearts by sprinkling them from an evil conscience: Heb. 10.22
 B. The reason this is so is that He makes remission of sin possible through His blood: Matt. 26.28
 C. Then He reigns and rules therein as we sanctify Him in our hearts: 1 Pet. 3.15

IV. Stanza 4 refers to His guidance
"He walks beside me in the way, What a wonderful Savior!
And keeps me faithful day by day; What a wonderful Savior!"
 A. His walking beside us symbolizes His promise to be with His people until the end of the age: Matt. 28.20
 B. As our guide, He helps to keep us faithful that we might gain the crown of life: Rev. 2.10
 C. However, for Him to do so, we must commit ourselves to Him day by day by taking up our cross daily and following Him: Lk. 9.23

V. Stanza 5 refers to His power
"He gives me overcoming power, What a wonderful Savior!
And triumph in each trying hour; What a wonderful Savior!"
 A. Because of Jesus Christ, we can overcome this world by faith: 1 Jn. 5.4
 B. The power that He gives us to do this is the gospel: Rom. 1.16
 C. In this way, He enables us to triumph or have victory in each trying hour: 1 Cor. 15.57

VI. Stanza 6 refers to His influence
"To Him I’ve given all my heart, What a wonderful Savior!
The world shall never share a part; What a wonderful Savior!"
 A. We give Him our hearts by obedience to His word: Heb. 5.8-9
 B. The world refers to the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life: 1 Jn. 2.15-17
 C. The world must never share a part of our heart because friendship with the world is enmity with God: Jas. 4.4

     CONCL.: The chorus expresses praise to Jesus as our Savior.
"What a wonderful Savior is Jesus, my Jesus!
What a wonderful Savior is Jesus, my Lord!"
This song is somewhat repetitive, with the same phrase repeated twice in each stanza and then twice, in a slightly expanded form, in the chorus.  This was true with a lot of Hoffman’s songs and many of the simple gospel songs of the late 1800s. However, I do not believe that it is overly repetitive to the point of being trite. It is good to be reminded, as we think of the fact that all of us have sinned and deserve eternal punishment, that we have "What A Wonderful Savior!"


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