“JUST AS I AM”

Wayne S. Walker

“Ho, ever one that thirsteth come…without money and without price”
(Isa. 55.1).

     INTRO.:  A hymn which indicates a desire to come to the Lord is
“Just As I Am” (#330 in “Hymns for Worship Revised”).  The text was
written by Charlotte Elliot (1789-1871).  Born in the London, England,
suburb of Clapham, she was the daughter of an Anglican minister and
became a writer of humorous verse.  But at the age of 30 she was attacked
by a serious illness which left her an invalid.  At first bitter, she
later improved in outlook and decided to devote her life to humanitarian
interests.  In 1834 her brother, with whom she lived, organized a bazaar
to raise funds for a girls’ school, and everyone in the family helped
except Charlotte, who was to weak.  Lying awake that night in great pain
and feeling useless, she reached for pen and paper to write these words,
intending to sell the poem to make a small contribution for the benefit
of the school.

     However, her sister-in-law, returning home late from the bazaar,
found the paper and without Charlotte’s knowledge sent it to a publisher
who printed it anonymously on a leaflet in 1835.  Later that yera, when
the family doctor came around for a visit, he gave Charlotte a new
leaflet which he had purchased to cheer shut-ins.  Charlotte immediately
recognized her own words, and, in fact, the sale of the leaflet made far
more money for the school than did the bazaar.  The next year, she went
on to publish a whole book of verses called “The Invalid’s Handbook,”
which contained a number of her poems, including this one.  The tune
(Woodworth) was composed by a well-known American hymn-tune composer of
the 19th century, William Batchelder Bradbury (1816-1868).  It first
appeared in his 1849 collection, the “Third Book of Psalmody.”

     This song speaks of the submission which we must have as we come to
God for salvation.

I. Stanza #1 indicates that we must come to Christ
 A. “Without one plea” simply means that we have no inherent
righteousness of our own upon which to plead our case for God’s favor:
Tit. 3.5
 B. Rather, our only plea is that Christ’s “blood was shed for” us: Rom.
5.8
 C. Therefore, to be saved we must come to Christ, & He has promised that
those who come to Him He will by no means cast out: Jn. 6.37

II. Stanza 2 reminds us that the price for our sins has already been paid
for us
 A. Therefore, because the price has been paid, we should not wait but
come now: 2 Cor. 6.2
 B. And the reason that we need to come is to rid our souls of the dark
spots that sin has caused on our souls: 2 Pet. 3.14
 C. Of course, the price that has been paid to accomplish this the blood
of Jesus: Matt. 26.28

III. Stanza 3 expresses the penitent feelings that must motivate us to
come to Christ
 A. All of us are tossed about from time to time with conflicts and
doubts in our souls: Gal. 5.17
 B. But the fightings and fears within and without can and should lead us
to genuine repentance: 2 Cor. 7.10
 C. Such were the feelings of David after confessing his sin to God: Psa.
51.1-2

IV. Stanza 4 referst to the fact that we must truly believe in order to
come to Christ
 A. Jesus has promised that He will receive us because He is the Lamb of
God who takes away the sin of the world: Jn. 1.29
 B. And the reason that He came to welcome, pardon, cleanse, and relieve
is because of the love of God: Jn. 3.16
 C. Therefore, we must believe,a nd Christ has said that those who thus
believe in Him will be provided for: Jn. 6.35

     CONCL.:  Charlotte Elliot is regarded by many as the greatest
English hymnwriter of her day, and perhaps the greatest woman hymnwriter
of all England.  To help her overcome her early bitterness after the loss
of her health, a preacher friend told her to find Christ, and when she
replied that she did not know how, said, “Come to Him just as you are.”
She replied, “I would come to God just as I am.”  Of course, coming to
God just as we are does not mean that there are not any changes to make
or that we can go on living as we used to.  It means simply that we make
the decision, wherever we are and whatever we are doing. to turn from all
sin and obey God’s will, letting Him mold and make us into whatever He
wants us to be.  And in coming to Christ, we also need to have the same
attitude of faith and submissiveness that Miss Elliot evidently had when
she wrote, “Just As I Am.”

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