Today’s Music Monday comes again from Norton Hall Band‘s second hymns album. This hymn is entitled, “He Will Hold Me Fast.”
Disclaimers: (1) The Scripture passages used may not have been as inspiration for the writing of the song. These are just passages that the song has caused me to think about or are theologically related to the content of the song. (2) By no means do I consider myself an authority on music theory. I can only write about what I appreciate and what I do know about music! Therefore, these comments won’t be technical, but just my thoughts as a listener.
Theology Comment(s): This song reflects God’s sovereign hand in the doctrine of the perseverance of the saint. Whenever I think of Christ “holding” the saint my mind goes straight to John 10:27-29, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (emphasis added). This passage speaks of a sort of “double security” since believers are in both the Father and the Son’s hands. It is an insurance that Christ’s salvation is permanent and persevering.
The first verse recognizes the saint’s weakness and disposition towards spiritual stumbling. While it is biblically true that the bondage of sin has been completely broken; it is also biblically true that saints will continue to struggle with sin on this fallen earth (I am not a proponent of non-Lordship salvation or the idea of the “carnal Christian”). Perhaps we can include a discussion on Paul’s teaching in Romans 7 about the believer’s struggle with sin. The reasons for falling into sin may be our own faults or may be aided by the temptations of the enemy. Yet, even despite these difficulties and this reality Christ’s salvation cannot be revoked upon the redeemed sinner.
The chorus is an exhortation to remember that our life, even after the moment of salvation, is a continued work of Christ. When I think of the chorus I think of not only the perseverance of the saint, but the progressive sanctification of the saint (Phil 1:6; 2:12-13). Perseverance and progressive sanctification are real because of the Savior and they are evidences of His love for us, “For my Savior loves me so, He will hold me fast”!
The second verse speaks of the value of the saint. While this doesn’t promote a self-esteem type of theology it highlights the value of the saint on the basis of Christ’s invaluable sacrifice. Our identity as believers is rooted in Christ and since we have been “bought by Him at such a cost” we can be sure He will not “waste” our newly redeemed life in Him.
The third verse digs deeper into the theology behind Christ’s redemptive death on the cross and resurrection and its application to the saint. All of life’s real problems such as sin before a holy and just God; the consequences of sin as death have already been dealt with by the sacrificial death and resurrection of our Savior. The verse ends with a triumphant reminder that Christ is coming back to bring our salvation to complete fruition: resurrection glory and reconciliation with Him forever!
Music Comment(s): Musically, the song is rather simple. On first listen the song feels like it carries a rhythm that seems to “drag” (I don’t mean that in a negative way); but I think it actually matches the tone of the lyrics. While the lyrics speak of the difficulty of trudging along this difficult and fallen earth the music helps in the reflection of the first verse.
The third verse begins with just voices as the lyrics focus upon the resurrection hope given by Christ. The verse then breaks into a strong crescendo leading into the chorus. Again, this is a a great encouragement because it reflects how saints can gain new strength in life’s difficulties by reminding themselves of what God is accomplishing in the big picture.
For a smaller church, it would be a playable with some; perhaps with the exception of the string section. If you do have able bodied in your church to play strings Norton Hall provides the arrangement for free!
Recommendation(s): This song is great for those who seeking spiritual encouragement. With almost all the songs on Music Monday I think this would be great for congregational singing. I would suggest that worship leaders would work with preachers to make sure that the theme and tone of the song is appropriate to the preaching of the Word. It would seem rather awkward to sing such a sweet song about God’s preservation of His saints when the sermon is addressing some other doctrine.
BONUS! This song is also on Keith and Kristyn Getty’s new album, “Facing a Task Unfinished.” There it features a 1:30 min long violin solo.