Dear Christians One and All Rejoice
Luther wrote this hymn in 1523, and it was the first hymn he ever wrote for congregational singing. While “A Mighty Fortress” might be the most popular of Luther’s hymns in our day, “Dear Christians One and All Rejoice” might be Luther’s most important hymn in addition to being his first. It tells the powerful story of man’s wretched state, the Father’s plan to send his Son to die for the sins of the world, and Jesus’ faithful execution of his Father’s will. Salvation was not easy. Indeed, it was the most bitter of all struggles, but because of our Lord Jesus’ work, we are blest forever. The hymn concludes with Jesus promise to send the Holy Spirit and the blessed encouragement that we follow in our Lord’s teaching.
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Lutheran Service Book, Hymn 556
The Lutheran Hymnal, Hymn 387
Text: Rom. 3:28
Author: Martin Luther, 1523
Translated by: Richard Massie, 1854, alt.
Titled: "Nun freut euch, liebe Christen g'mein"
Tune: "Nun freut euch"
1st Published in: Etlich' christliche Lieder
Town: Wittenberg, 1524
Dear Christians, one and all, rejoice,
With exultation springing,
And with united heart and voice
And holy rapture singing,
Proclaim the wonders God has done,
How His right arm the vict’ry won.
What price our ransom cost Him!
Fast bound in Satan’s chains I lay;
Death brooded darkly o’er me.
Sin was my torment night and day;
In sin my mother bore me.
But daily deeper still I fell;
My life became a living hell,
So firmly sin possessed me.
My own good works all came to naught,
No grace or merit gaining;
Free will against God’s judgment fought,
Dead to all good remaining.
My fears increased till sheer despair
Left only death to be my share;
The pangs of hell I suffered.
But God had seen my wretched state
Before the world’s foundation,
And mindful of His mercies great,
He planned for my salvation.
He turned to me a father’s heart;
He did not choose the easy part
But gave His dearest treasure.
God said to His belovèd Son:
“It’s time to have compassion.
Then go, bright jewel of My crown,
And bring to all salvation.
From sin and sorrow set them free;
Slay bitter death for them that they
May live with You forever.”
The Son obeyed His Father’s will,
Was born of virgin mother;
And God’s good pleasure to fulfill,
He came to be my brother.
His royal pow’r disguised He bore;
A servant’s form, like mine, He wore
To lead the devil captive.
To me He said: “Stay close to Me,
I am your rock and castle.
Your ransom I Myself will be;
For you I strive and wrestle.
For I am yours, and you are Mine,
And where I am you may remain;
The foe shall not divide us.
“Though he will shed My precious blood,
Me of My life bereaving,
All this I suffer for your good;
Be steadfast and believing.
Life will from death the vict’ry win;
My innocence shall bear your sin,
And you are blest forever.
“Now to My Father I depart,
From earth to heav’n ascending,
And, heav’nly wisdom to impart,
The Holy Spirit sending;
In trouble He will comfort you
And teach you always to be true
And into truth shall guide you.
“What I on earth have done and taught
Guide all your life and teaching;
So shall the kingdom’s work be wrought
And honored in your preaching.
But watch lest foes with base alloy
The heav’nly treasure should destroy;
This final word I leave you.”
Text: Public domain