The Story Behind: Grace Greater Than Our Sin

By Don Chapman

Few hymns have connected with believers as deeply as “Grace Greater Than Our Sin.” This uplifting song was crafted by Julia Harriette Johnston (1849-1919), with its melody composed by Daniel Brink Towner (1850-1919). The combination of their talents resulted in a song that has inspired countless hearts with its message of human imperfection, God’s infinite grace, and the power of faith.

The Soul Behind the Song: Julia Harriette Johnston’s Journey

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount out-poured–
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.

Born on January 21, 1849, in Ohio, Julia was 6 years old when her family moved to Peoria, Illinois. Her strong Christian upbringing set the stage for her life’s work.

Her father, Robert Johnston, was a well-known Presbyterian minister. Julia’s mother played an important role in her faith as well, establishing the Presbyterian Missionary Society of Peoria. This organization became a significant part of Julia’s life – she worked as its leader for more than twenty years.

Being involved in ministry wasn’t Julia’s only talent. She also had a gift for writing. Her words found their way into Sunday School lessons for the David C. Cook Publishing Company, and she even authored several books during her lifetime.

However, it was her incredible talent for composing lyrics that truly left an impact. Of the 500 hymns she wrote inspiring believers worldwide, “Grace Greater Than Our Sin” remains a standout.

The Man Behind the Melody: Daniel Brink Towner’s Impact

Sin and despair, like the sea-waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater– yes, grace untold–
Points to the Refuge, the mighty Cross.

Born on March 5, 1850, Daniel Brink Towner displayed a passion for music at a young age. His love for music led him towards serving God as well; he eventually became a music director at multiple churches and ultimately worked at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Here he deeply influenced their music programs.

Towner’s lasting legacy includes more than 2,000 hymns that have stirred numerous lives throughout the years. Among these is the exquisite melody paired with “Grace Greater Than Our Sin,” fittingly called “MOODY.”

Together, Julia Harriette Johnston’s evocative words and Daniel Brink Towner’s captivating melody create an unforgettable hymn that illustrates how talents combined with faith can truly make a difference.

Introducing the World to Grace

In 1911, “Grace Greater Than Our Sin” made its debut in Towner’s publication “Hymns Tried and True.” This collection included many popular hymns, and it helped introduce the song to the world,  paving the way for more hearts to be touched by its compelling message.

Message of Grace

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
All who are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive

The hymn tells the beautiful story of the grace of God through the Gospel – giving us a clear picture of how His love has the power to save us.

At the heart of this story is Jesus, who was sent by God to be our Savior and to atone for our sins. By portraying Jesus as the ultimate act of divine grace, the lyrics invite us to appreciate the incredible gift we have received. The song also encourages listeners to look towards the Cross, where Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf.

The lyrics go on to remind us that because of Jesus’ loving act, we can find redemption and forgiveness. No matter how broken or lost we may feel, God is always there to wash us white as snow and offer us His unconditional love.

One of the most touching parts of this hymn is the promise that through His grace, we’ll be able to see His face someday. This speaks not only about experiencing His presence in our daily lives but also holds a hopeful message about eternal life and meeting Him in Heaven.

Impact and Legacy

Over the years, “Grace Greater Than Our Sin” has become incredibly popular and well-loved. Because of its powerful message, it’s been included in numerous hymnbooks and continues to be sung in churches all around the world.

One reason why this hymn remains so relevant is that it beautifully captures the essence of God’s abounding grace. In today’s fast-paced world, where people often feel overwhelmed by their mistakes or shortcomings, the song provides a soothing reminder that God’s love for us is unconditional. It tells us that no matter how far we may stray away from Him, God, through His forgiveness, will always welcome us back with loving arms.

For those who listen there’s a simple yet powerful takeaway – take the time to truly reflect on and embrace the message of God’s grace in your own life. When you do this, you’ll realize just how much His love can transform you, guiding you towards forgiveness and redemption.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Where in the Bible does it say that grace is greater than sin?

A: The concept of grace being greater than sin can be found in Romans 5, particularly verses 20-21. Here, the Apostle Paul writes:

“20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (NIV)

This passage conveys that God’s grace abounds even more when sin prevails, emphasizing that His forgiveness and love outweigh our transgressions through faith in Jesus Christ.

Q: What is the meaning of “grace greater than our sin”?

A: “Grace greater than our sin” means that God’s love and kindness are so big that they can overcome any mistakes we’ve made. It shows that even when we mess up, God is always ready to forgive us. His grace helps us right our wrongs and become better people by believing in Jesus, who made an enormous sacrifice for us. This message tells us that no matter what we’ve done in the past or what we’re going through right now, God’s love is always there to help and guide us.

Grace Greater Than Our Sin Lyrics

If you’re inspired by the timeless message of Grace Greater Than Our Sin and want to explore its lyrics further visit This website offers a vast collection of hymn lyrics that can help churches create lyric slides for worship.

Download sheet music, chord charts, tracks, multitracks and instrumental parts for Grace Greater Than Our Sin exclusively with a hymncharts subscription. You won’t find this arrangement on any other website.

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