words by Fanny J. Crosby (1873)
tune by Phoebe Knapp (1873)
(If you’d like to listen while you read, then go ahead and scroll down to the bottom to click on the link, then come back up here to read.)
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
Perfect submission, perfect delight!
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels, descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest;
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
Some people claim to have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, yet they live as though they cannot know for certain whether or not they actually have a relationship with God. But the Scriptures teach us that we can know for certain that we have eternal life. This confidence is not based on inward feelings or outward signs. Instead, this assurance is founded upon the promises of a faithful God and His inspired Word. It depends not on the amount of one’s faith, but on the object of one’s faith—Christ Himself!
Frances Jane Crosby was born in New York on March 24, 1820. When only six weeks old, she was blinded through improper medical treatment for an eye infection. Her parents put her in the New York Institution for the Blind at the age of fifteen, and there she received a good education. She was hired on as a teacher there at the age of 27, and she taught English grammar, rhetoric, and American history through 1958.
It was also during this time that Fanny Crosby began writing music and poetry. Her first songs were secular songs, written for the school and other performances. She was also married during this time to a man named Alexander Van Alstyne, whom she met at the school for the blind. He himself was also blind.
I do not recall the circumstances under which Fanny Crosby realized her need for the Savior, and the biographies I read recently did not mention it. But one day she, like everyone else who has been saved, came to the point where she that she was a sinner in need of a Savior. She repented of her sins and accepted Christ’s finished work of redemption on the cross, and she was gloriously saved. At that point the message of her poems took on a new tone, as she began to write about a new story.
Fanny Crosby wrote her first hymn in 1864 for William Bradbury, and it was sung at his funeral four years later. She would go on to write more than 8,000 other gospel song texts in her lifetime of 95 years. Her many favorites such as “Blessed Assurance” have been an important part of evangelical worship for the past century, and are known around the world in English-speaking countries, and have even been translated into other languages as well. Only eternity will tell just how many folks have been blessed through the words of Fanny Crosby’s many hymns.
Her tombstone in Bridgeport, Connecticut, bears the following phrase, taken directly from the Scripture: “She hath done what she could” (Mark 14:8). What a fitting testimony for such a woman as Fanny Crosby. When folks would ask her if she was sad because she could not see, she would say, “Oh, no! I am the happiest woman on earth because the first face I shall look upon will be the face of my dear Savior!”
Isaiah 12:2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.
Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Romans 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
Titus 2:13-14 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
Revelation 1:5-6 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
If you have accepted Christ as your personal Savior, live with the absolute conviction and triumphant faith that the apostle Paul had when he exclaimed, “I know whom [not just what] I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12).
Photo, lyrics, and bibliographic information came from Hymnary.org and also from Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions by Kenneth W. Osbeck (Kregel, 1990), p. 340.
Photo taken in Milton, FL, 2018