Since I Have Been Redeemed

excell_eo

(photo of Edwin O. Excell)

“SINCE I HAVE BEEN REDEEMED”

“O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good: For His mercy endureth for-ever.  Let the redeemed of the Lord say so….” (Ps. 107:1-2)

INTRO.:  A song which speaks of the many wonderful blessings for which those who are the redeemed of the Lord can give thanks to Him is “Since I Have Been Redeemed” (#548 in Hymns for Worship Revised).  The text was written and the tune (Othello) was composed both by Edwin Othello Excell, who was born at Uniontown in Stark County, OH, near Canton, on Dec. 13, 1851, the son of a German Reformed Church minister named J. J. Excell.  After his early education in the public schools of Ohio, he married in 1871 near Brady’s Bend, PA, relocated to that state, and supported his family by working for twelve years as a plasterer and bricklayer, during which time starting at the age of twenty he began to conduct country singing schools and became a popular teacher.  From 1877 to 1883, he attended normal music schools conducted by Frederick W. Root and his father, hymn writer George F. Root.

Following his move to Chicago, IL, in 1883, the “E. O. Excell Co.” music publishing business was started with Sing the Gospel, and Excell began the publication of gospel songbooks which were widely used.  Also he was active in Sunday school work, leading the singing at Sunday school conventions and, with Methodist bishop John H. Vincent, helping to found the International Sunday School Lessons.  His powerful voice and talent as a congregational song leader were quite famous, and for twenty years he assisted Southern evangelist Sam P. Jones in his revival campaigns.  In all, Excell produced more than 3,000 gospel songs and edited about fifty songbooks.  Probably his best known melody is found with Johnson Oatman’s “Count Your Blessings,” but he also provided the tunes for Jonathan B. Atchinson’s “Let Him In” and the well-known children’s song “I’ll Be a Sunbeam,” and was responsible for the modern arrangement and harmonization of John Newton’s “Amazing Grace.”

“Since I Have Been Redeemed” first appeared in Excell’s 1884 book Echoes of Eden for the Sunday School, which he compiled in Chicago.  In addition, Excell published some 38 compilations for other individuals.  He provided the plates and did printing and binding in the early songbook ventures of Robert Coleman, a prominent Baptist musician, and was the original printer of Great Songs of the Church in 1921 for Elmer L. Jorgenson who was associated with churches of Christ.  Later in 1921, Excell fell ill while assisting Gipsy Smith with a city-wide revival crusade in Louisville, KY, and returned to Chicago to be hospitalized. He died on June 10, 1921, after more than thirty weeks in Wesley Memorial Hospital.  At the time of his death, the firm which bore his name was the highest volume producer of hymnbooks in America. His heirs sold the large E. O. Excell Co. copyright portfolio to the Hope Publishing Company in 1931.

Among hymn books published by members of the Lord’s church for use in churches of Christ, “Since I Have Been Redeemed” has appeared in the 1971 Songs of the Church, the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed., and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise all edited by Alton H. Howard; the 1978/1983 Church Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat; the 2009 Favorite Songs of the Church and the 2010 Songs for Worship and Praise both edited by Robert J. Taylor Jr.; and the 2012 Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs edited by Steve Wolfgang et. al.; in addition to Hymns for Worship.

The song specifies a number of spiritual blessings that being redeemed in Christ brings to us.

I. According to stanza 1, the redeemed have a song to sing

I have a song I love to sing,

Since I have been redeemed,

Of my Redeemer, Savior, King,

Since I have been redeemed.

  1. When a person is redeemed, God puts a new song in his mouth: Ps. 40:1-3
  2. This song is about our Savior: Lk. 2:11
  3. Its purpose is to give praise to Him who is our King: Rev. 19:16

II. According to stanza 2, the redeemed have a Christ who satisfies

I have a Christ who satisfies

Since I have been redeemed,

To do His will my highest prize,

Since I have been redeemed.

  1. Those who are redeemed accept Christ as their Savior by obeying Him: Acts 2:36-38
  2. But even after making Him our Savior, we must continue to do His will: Matt. 7:21
  3. By making this our highest prize here, we can gain the eternal prize: Phil. 2:13-14

III. According to stanza 3 (not in HFWR), the redeemed have a witness bright and clear

I have a witness bright and clear,

Since I have been redeemed,

Dispelling every doubt and fear,

Since I have been redeemed.

  1. This is not the idea of our “witnessing for Jesus,” as only the apostles could truly be witnesses of Him: Acts 1:8 (cf. v. 2), 21-22
  2. Nor is it referring to some kind of direct witness of God to us, since He has already born witness to His inspired messengers: Heb. 2:3-4
  3. Rather, it is the witness that God gives to us in the Scriptures to dispel doubt and fear: 1 Jn. 5:9-10

IV. According to stanza 4 (also not in HFWR), the redeemed have a joy that is inexpressible

I have a joy I can’t express,

Since I have been redeemed,

All through His blood and righteousness,

Since I have been redeemed.

  1. Christians can rejoice in the Lord: Phil. 4:4
  2. Peter says that in a sense this joy is “unspeakable” (KJV): 1 Pet. 1:9
  3. This joy is the result of the redemption that is available by His blood: Eph. 1:7

V. According to stanza 5 (#3 in HFWR), the redeemed have a home prepared in heaven

I have a home prepared for me,

Since I have been redeemed,

Where I shall dwell eternally,

Since I have been redeemed.

  1. From the foundation of the world, God has prepared a kingdom for those who come to Him for redemption: Matt. 25:34
  2. As a result, Jesus is now in heaven preparing a home for His people: Jn. 14:1-3
  3. The redeemed will dwell there eternally because it is a place of eternal life: Mk. 10:29-30

CONCL.:  The chorus then captures the feeling of happiness on the part of one who is redeemed

Since I have been redeemed,

Since I have been redeemed,

I will glory in His Name,

Since I have been redeemed,

I will glory in my Savior’s Name.

What a wonderful life of peace and joy I can have “Since I Have Been Redeemed”!

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