He Will Hold Me Fast
Ada Habershon, Matthew Merker
When I fear my faith will fail, Christ will hold me fast;
When the tempter would prevail, He will hold me fast.
I could never keep my hold through life’s fearful path;
For my love is often cold; He must hold me fast.
He will hold me fast, He will hold me fast;
For my Savior loves me so, He will hold me fast.
Those He saves are His delight, Christ will hold me fast;
Precious in His holy sight, He will hold me fast.
He’ll not let my soul be lost; His promises shall last;
Bought by Him at such a cost, He will hold me fast.
For my life He bled and died, Christ will hold me fast;
Justice has been satisfied; He will hold me fast.
Raised with Him to endless life, He will hold me fast
‘Till our faith is turned to sight when He comes at last!
He Will Hold Me Fast has become a favorite among the modern hymn movement. The first two verses of this song were written in the late 19th century by Ada Habershon. The third verse was added by Matt Merker in 2013. The song is a song of comfort and assurance that our Heavenly Father loves His children, not because we are always faithful, or always obey His will, but because of His sovereign choice to love us in spite of our failures. It builds on the truth in Jude 24 “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy.” It is God’s preserving grace that keeps us, not our works, or our faithfulness. In fact, when we are faithless, He remains faithful (2 Timothy 2:13). This song has been an encouragement to our family in recent years as we have faced some hard challenges. It is the theological truths presented here that have been a firm anchor in the storms.
When I fear my faith will fail, Christ will hold me fast; When the tempter would prevail, He will hold me fast. As disciples of Christ, we are called to mortify the flesh, but that doesn’t always happen. We are constantly tempted by the one who knows our greatest weaknesses. If we are honest, there are probably many times each day when we sin in our thoughts, motivations, words, and actions. We may, and should, strive for perfection, but we will always fall short. I could never keep my hold through life’s fearful path; for my love is often cold; He must hold me fast. Jesus never fails to love and forgive when we come to Him in repentance. His faithfulness is perfect.
He will hold me fast, He will hold me fast. For my Savior loves me so, He will hold me fast. This song is not about us, it is not about what we can do. It’s about what we can’t do, and what God always does.
Those He saves are His delight, Christ will hold me fast; precious in His holy sight, He will hold me fast. The Good Shepherd loves His sheep. He knows them and they know His voice. He gives His life for the sheep, He protects them, He leads them by still waters; however, not everyone are His sheep. If it is natural to say that you love your own children more than a stranger’s, why do we expect that God would not have a special love for His children? While there is a general sense that God loves the whole world (John 3:16, 1 John 2:2, Romans 5:8), there is a special love reserved for those who have an intimate relationship with Him as Savior and Lord. John 14:21 says, “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” God has a special relationship with those who are His.
He’ll not let my soul be lost; His promises shall last; bought by Him at such a cost, He will hold me fast. This speaks to the doctrine of eternal security. If we truly are saved, our souls cannot be lost, not because we do good works and earn that right, but because Jesus paid that cost. Nothing can separate us from the love of God when we are saved (Romans 8:38-39). Jesus’ work on the cross does not fail.
For my life He bled and died, Christ will hold me fast; justice has been satisfied; He will hold me fast. When Jesus bore the wrath of God on the cross, shedding His blood, and dying as our substitute, the demands of the righteous God were met. Legally, our debt was paid in full and justice had been served. Raised with Him to endless life, He will hold me fast. ’Till our faith is turned to sight when He comes at last! When Jesus rose again on the third day, He was the first fruits of those who sleep (1 Corinthians 15:20). One day, we will be raised with Him. Romans 6:4 says, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”
It is that hope we have, that our present life is not worth comparing with the eternal life ahead. We can have rest in the here and now, knowing it is not our faithfulness that we rely on, but His, that holds us fast.
Bill Itzel has been a worship leader and singer/songwriter for over 30 years and is based in Westminster, MD. His family tours and leads worship around the country. Bill and his family attend Belcroft Bible Church in Bowie, MD. This is a blog about congregational worship and the latest news in the The Itzel's ministry.