Christian Compositions - Conservative Christian Music


Just As I Am – Repentant Response or Defiant Declaration?

The original hymn, “Just As I Am” is a beautiful song that expresses how you and I can come to Christ “just as we are” for cleansing from our sin. We come hopeless and helpless, and find Him sufficient. We come guilty and find mercy. We come repentant and find forgiveness. It is a meek acknowledgement, a penitent plea, and an obedient response.

In many modern churches, we hear the idea expressed that we can come “just as we are”, but it has taken on an entirely new connotation.

If we are not careful, the concept that I can come “just as I am” no longer sounds like a sincere desire for forgiveness, but a selfish demand for acceptance.

Instead of the humble cry of the repentant, it is the proud claim of the rebel.

It seems to express, not the willingness of the obedient, but the willfulness of the obstinate.

Although many contemporary churches no longer welcome hymns, perhaps the lyrics would be more honest if they went like this:

Just as I am I come today,
And that is how I plan to stay,
Assured You love me anyway,
Oh, Lamb of God, I come,
I come.

“Just as I am”, I proudly claim,
“And ‘grace’ means I can stay the same,
With no repentance, grief, or shame,
Oh, Lamb of God, I come,
I come.”

Just as I am, I lift my hands
To flashing lights, and pulsing bands.
I feel my praise You understand.
Oh, Lamb of God, I come,
I come.

Just as I am, convinced I’m blessed
Because of temporal success,
At peace with my own worldliness,
Oh, Lamb of God, I come,
I come.

It is true that we must come to God as we are. There is nothing we can bring to buy our way into heaven, to earn His favor or forgiveness, or to merit His acceptance (Tit. 3:4-6; Eph. 2:8-9). It is equally true that if we realize our wretched condition, we cannot come to Him “as we are” without realizing how desperately we need Him, and how unworthy we are of His notice, let alone His love or mercy.

It is good for us to ensure that people know they are welcome and that the invitation of Christ is to “come”, but we must also ensure that they know the way to come. The Lord Jesus Christ is The Way. (Jn. 14:6) He is the narrow way.

In a religious culture that seems determined to make sure no one has to deal with the negative feelings of guilt or condemnation, I fear many who want to share the Gospel have left out the painful reality that apart from Christ, we are all guilty and condemned. (Jn. 3:17-18) The freedom, peace, love, and acceptance we seek are not found in ignoring this truth, but in realizing it, and then coming to Christ in repentant faith, trusting that His death and resurrection, His mercy and grace, are the only hope we have.

When we come to Christ as sinners seeking His forgiveness, trusting Him by faith, we will find the salvation and acceptance we need. A broken and believing heart is always received by our Lord. Rest assured though, if we come to Christ “just as we are”, He will not leave us as we were.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (II Cor. 5:17)

I wonder, which version of “Just As I Am” best expresses your heart, your beliefs, and your attitude in coming to Christ? I hope it is the biblical one.

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee,
Oh, Lamb of God, I come,
I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
Oh, Lamb of God, I come,
I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears, within, without,
Oh, Lamb of God, I come,
I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find,
Oh, Lamb of God, I come,
I come.

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve.
Because Thy promise I believe,
Oh, Lamb of God, I come,
I come.

-Charlotte Elliott

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8 Responses to Just As I Am – Repentant Response or Defiant Declaration?

  1. Marsha Leighty says:

    This is a brilliant, perfectly timed post, Niki. I truly enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing it.

  2. Gary Neal says:

    This lays the ax to the root! Not only does this describe the spirit and doctrine of much of the contemporary movement, but also the proud, unrepentant heart of man.

  3. Nevin Neal says:

    “Spot on”, Amen!

  4. Jacky Manchester says:

    Oh you did a grand job on this one my lady. I listened to a sermonette on FB recently that addressed this very issue, only your verse was the one he hung on to, not the penitent one. So sad, so lost are people that they don’t know they are lost. And if they aren’t sinners, they can’t be saved. Sometimes we have to confront so that people will see they are sinners. bless you for your lovely music and your sensitive spirit.

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