Hymn Summary: Reformation


Salvation Unto Us has Come

Reformation Observed Oct. 25

The hymn of the day for Reformation is Salvation unto us has come (1524).  Included in the first Lutheran hymnal, the Achtliederbuch (1524), it was one of eight hymns given to the Church to carry the Gospel by song, particularly through the school children, who could quite quickly set it to memory.  Luther wrote four of these hymns, including Dear Christians One and All Rejoice, and Speratus wrote three.  Speratus wrote this particular hymn while in prison (1523)!  He had been excommunicated and sentenced to death by burning at the stake by the Church of Rome for among other things breaking the vow of celibacy, preaching against monastic vows (works), and getting married.  Through the intervention of friends he was delivered from prison and spared, his hymn preserved for the church, and he and his wife made able to join Luther in Wittenburg.

While the original German had 14 verses our English versions retain 10.  When many were illiterate and the services of the Church conducted in Latin what joy this hymn would bring to the brokenhearted, perhaps for the first time ever, to hear of Christ's saving work in one's own language.  The hymn is thoroughly grounded in the doctrine of the Scripture.  It contains powerful Law and Gospel, as it sings of the treasures of Word, grace, faith, atonement, salvation, baptism, and service to neighbor, poured out by Christ for sinners.  Imagine the relief it brought to those trying to buy their way out of hell with their money and works to hear "Since Christ hath full atonement made and brought to us salvation, Each Christian therefore may be glad and build on this foundation.  Your grace alone dear Lord I plead, your death is now my life indeed for you have paid my ransom." (vs. 6)