With our ever-present sin, we must return continually to the ever-abundant grace of God in Christ Jesus. Sunday morning is one of the primary times to reflect upon grace and celebrate it together as a body.
Here are five worship songs about grace that are ideal for congregational singing.
No list of songs about grace is complete without this classic. Published in 1779, this song was written by English slave-trader turned preacher John Newton. It was sung extensively during the Second Great Awakening in the United States and by slaves in the American South. We are still singing it today because of its poignancy, truth, and strong melody.
This hymn is rare for its anthem-like quality. The refrain is simple and yields itself to being shouted out with joy. First published in 1911, the song was co-written by a Presbyterian author and the director of music at Moody Bible Institute. It features the word “grace” dozens of times, emphasizing one of the central virtues of salvation and the Christian life.
The idea for “Scandal of Grace,” written by Matt Crocker and Joel Houston of Hillsong, came from a conversation Joel had with a friend about God and the gospel. In Joel’s words:
One of my friends had some questions about Jesus and the validity of the Gospel. In the midst of the conversation, another friend said, “Mate, it doesn’t make sense; it’s a scandal of grace.” It just stuck with me.
The scandal of grace is that God gave himself for those who rebelled against him. The gospel could not be more antithetical to the self-centeredness of our fallen condition. It turns everything on its head. This is exactly what “Scandal of Grace” meditates on.
This song was especially popular about 10 years ago, but it remains a solid grace-based song. Additionally, its upbeat tempo makes it ideal for a higher-energy service starter. Written by Matt Maher during a time of personal spiritual hardship, “Your Grace Is Enough” was first released by Chris Tomlin in 2004 and then subsequently released by Maher, which opened up many doors for him to lead worship around the world. We’re especially fond of the lyric “You wrestle with the sinner’s heart” for how it portrays God’s eager, powerful, loving war against our sin. Read more about the history of the song, or watch this video of Chris Tomlin discussing and performing it.
“This Is Amazing Grace” is a great opening song as well, not only for its themes of God’s power and grace, but also its high energy. By taking the iconic phrase “amazing grace” and setting reflections of God’s rule and Christ’s sacrifice around it, the song adds nuance and specificity to a familiar theme. “This Is Amazing Grace” helps give a richer knowledge of God’s grace and is a really fun song to use in church—especially because of the rhythm change in the bridge.
This is a guest post by music professionals Cody Norris and Stephen Folden.