Above: Paul Speratus
Image in the Public Domain
Original German Text (1523) by Paul Speratus, during or shortly after his political incarceration (for being a Protestant) in Moravia
Hymn Source = Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (1996), Evangelical Lutheran Synod
This, perhaps the most Lutheran of hymns, is a staple in many Lutheran hymnals. However, the majority of Lutheran hymnals I have consulted include no more than 10 stanzas. The full text is 14 stanzas long.
Salvation unto us is come
By God’s free grace and favor.
Good works cannot avert our doom;
They help and save us never.
Faith looks to Jesus Christ alone,
Who did for all the world atone;
He is our one Redeemer.
What God doth in His law demand
No man to Him could render.
Before this Judge all guilty stand;
His law speaks curse in thunder.
The law demands a perfect heart;
We were defiled in ev’ry part,
And lost was our condition.
False dreams deluded minds did fill,
That God His law had given,
As if to Him we could at will
Earn grace and enter heaven.
The law is but a mirror bright
To bring the inbred sin to sight
That lurks within our nature.
From sin our flesh could not abstain,
Sin held its sway unceasing;
The task was useless and in vain,
Our guilt was e’er increasing.
None can remove sin’s poisoned dart
Or purify our guilty heart,
So deep is our corruption.
Still all the law fulfilled must be,
Else we were lost forever,
Then God His Son send down that He
Might us from doom deliver;
He all the law for us fulfilled
And thus His Father’s anger stilled
Which over us impended.
As Christ hath full atonement made
And brought us to salvation,
So may each Christian now be glad
And build on this foundation:
Thy grace alone, dear Lord, I plead,
Thy death now is my life indeed,
For Thou hast paid my ransom.
Not doubting this, I trust in Thee,
Thy Word cannot be broken,
Thou all dost call, “Come unto me!”
No falsehood hast Thou spoken:
“He who believes and is baptized,
He shall be saved,” say’st Thou, O Christ,
And he shall never perish.
The just is he–and he alone–
Who by this faith is living,
The faith that by good works is shown,
To God the glory giving;
Faith gives thee peace with God above,
But thou thy neighbor, too, must love,
If thou art new created.
The law reveals the guilt of sin,
And makes man conscience-stricken;
The gospel then doth enter in,
The sin-sick soul to quicken.
Come to the cross, look up and live!
The law no peace to thee doth give,
Nor can its deeds bring comfort.
Faith to the cross of Christ doth cling
And rests in Him securely;
And forth from it good works must spring
As fruits and tokens surely;
Still faith doth justify alone,
Works serve thy neighbor and make known
The faith that lives within thee.
Hope waits for the accepted hour
Till God give joy for mourning;
When He displays His healing pow’r,
Thy sighs to songs are turning.
Thy needs are known unto thy Lord,
And He is faithful to His Word,
This is our hope’s foundation.
Though it may seem He hears thee not,
Count not thyself forsaken;
Thy wants are ne’er by Him forgot,
Let this thy hope awaken;
His word is sure, here is thy stay,
Though doubts may plague thee on thy way,
Let not thy faith be shaken.
All blessing, honor, thanks and praise,
To Father, Son, and Spirit,
The God who saved us by His grace,
All glory to His merit.
O Father in the heav’ns above,
The work begun performs Thy love,
Thy worthy name be hallowed.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done
In earth, as ’tis in heaven.
Keep us in live, by grace led on,
Forgiving and forgiven;
Save Thou us in temptation’s hour,
And from all ills; Thine is the pow’r,
And all the glory, Amen!