Gift of Faith
w/m - Bill Itzel, Karen Itzel, Shannon Itzel
The gift of faith I have received not of my will but God’s
And now, I am a child, an heir and no longer at odds
Lord, how could you pardon me who bore sin’s heavy load?
I give to You with every breath the worship You are owed
I am blessed for He was cursed
I’m made right, and He made sin
The wrath of God was in the cup
It pleased the Lord to crush Him
All we like sheep have gone astray and none seek after You
The Shepherd came to rescue those whom in Your love foreknew
The Savior came unto His own, His own did not receive
But in mercy, opened up the eyes of many to believe
Christ, You are the sovereign King, You save whom You will save
But I look upon the wretch I am and stand today amazed
This is the title song of our new CD and one of my favorite songs we’ve ever written. Shannon wrote the beautiful melody and Karen and I wrote the lyrics. We think of the grace of God being a gift offered that we don’t deserve, and so it is, but Ephesians 2:8-9 also tells us that “By grace you have been saved through faith and THAT, all of that is not of yourselves, it is a gift of God." So not only is the grace a gift, but the faith is as well. We have nothing to boast about (v9).
The gift of faith I have received not of my will but God’s. It is not of ourselves. 2 Timothy 1:9 tells us that God “saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of His own purpose and grace, which He gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” Romans 9:16 tells us that, “it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.”
And now, I am a child, an heir and no longer at odds. John 1:12 says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1) We are Heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17).
Lord, how could you pardon me who bore sin’s heavy load? I give to You with every breath the worship You are owed. After viewing the theology of salvation in the first 2 lines, we now see our right reaction. First it is amazement over God’s grace, followed by worship and adoration of the one who saved us.
I am blessed for He was cursed. I’m made right, and He made sin. This is what is called “The Great Exchange”. Jesus took all of our sins on Himself, becoming sin (2 Corinthians 5:21) on our behalf. We were under the curse of sin, and Jesus, through His blood, took the punishment for that curse in our place. We now have a right standing before God because Jesus bore God’s wrath for us.
The wrath of God was in the cup. It pleased the Lord to crush Him. These are some of the hardest lines to wrap my mind around, but the Bible is clear. Jesus prayed in the garden to let the cup pass from Him, but it was not the Father’s will. The cup did not pass from Him, and Isaiah 53:10 says that it pleased the Father to crush the Son. This was all done so that God might receive more glory.
All we like sheep have gone astray and none seek after You. This line is a combination of the truths in Isaiah 53:6 and Romans 3:11. These are passages that show the total depravity of man. The Shepherd came to rescue those whom in Your love foreknew. Luke 15 tells of the parable of the lost sheep, “What man among you, who has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it?” Jesus is the Good Shepherd who gave up His life for His sheep. He seeks after that lost sheep “until He finds it”. Romans 8:29-30 is called the “Golden Thread of Salvation”. It begins with God “Foreknowing” and goes all the way to glorification. The term “ginosko” or “to know” has the idea of having an intimate, personal love relationship. To foreknow means God had this love relationship beforehand. John 10:14, 10:27 speak of this love, “I am the good shepherd, I know my sheep and my sheep know me”.
The Savior came unto His own, His own did not receive, but in mercy, opened up the eyes of many to believe. The first line comes from John 1:11, speaking of the Jewish people. Ephesians 1:18 speaks of “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.” Ephesians 2 tells us that, “when we were dead in trespasses and sins, God regenerated us, made us alive. Mark 10:45 says, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Christ, You are the sovereign King, You save whom You will save, but I look upon the wretch I am and stand today amazed. Romans 9:15 says, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” We have no room to boast, but can only thank God for His plan and purpose from before the foundation of the world. Today, thank God for His gift of salvation, which includes both the gift of grace, AND the gift of faith.
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.