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~Wonderful Grace of Jesus

   Haldor Lillenas was born in Norway. He immigrated to America as a child and lived in South Dakota for two years before settling in Astoria, Oregon.

   Mr. and Mrs. Lillenas traveled extensively throughout this country, conducting evangelistic meetings as well as furnishing songs and choir music for many of the foremost song leaders of that era.

   It was while pastoring the Church of the Nazarene at Auburn, Illinois, between 1916 and 1919, that Haldor Lillenas wrote Wonderful Grace of Jesus. He said—

   “In 1917, Mrs. Lillenas and I built our first little home in the town of Olivet, Illinois. Upon its completion, we had scarcely any money left to furnish the little home.

   “Having no piano at the time, and needing an instrument of some kind, I managed to find, at one of the neighbor’s home, a little wheezy organ which I purchased for $5.00. With the aid of this instrument, a number of my songs, were written which are now popular, including ‘Wonderful Grace of Jesus.’”

   “Wonderful Grace of Jesus was first published, in 1922, in the Tabernacle Choir Book, for which Mr. Lillenas was paid the grand sum of $5.00. Although we generally sing this hymn with an inspirational, brisk tempo, Mr. Lillenas often complained that most congregations sang the hymn too fast. A song should be performed in such a fashion that the words can be comfortably pronounced without undue haste, he often said.

—Adapted from Kenneth Osbeck



Wonderful Grace of Jesus


(1) Wonderful grace of Jesus, Greater than all my sin;

How shall my tongue describe it, Where shall its praise begin?

Taking away my burden, Setting my spirit free,

For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.



Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus,

Deeper than the mighty rolling sea;

Higher than the mountain, sparkling like a fountain,

All sufficient grace for even me;

Broader than the scope of my transgressions,

Greater far than all my sin and shame;

O magnify the precious name of Jesus,

Praise His name!


(2) Wonderful grace of Jesus, Reaching to all the lost,

By it I have been pardoned, Saved to the uttermost;

Chains have been torn asunder, Giving me liberty,

For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.


(3) Wonderful grace of Jesus, Reaching the most defiled.

By its transforming power Making him God's dear child,

Purchasing peace nad heaven For all eternity-

And the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.








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