Posted by: rcottrill | August 15, 2011

Since Jesus Came Into My Heart

Words: Rufus Henry McDaniel (b. Jan. 29, 1850; d. Feb. 13, 1940)
Music: Charles Hutchinson Gabriel (b. Aug. 18, 1856; d. Sept. 15, 1932)

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: You can learn more details about Rufus McDaniel in the Wordwise Hymns link. In his Hymnal Handbook, Homer Rodeheaver tells the story of what happened when this gospel song was first introduced and sung.

Written in the spring of 1914, the song was taught by Mr. Rodeheaver, and composer Charles Gabriel, to those gathered for a Billy Sunday evangelistic meeting in Philadelphia, the following year. An officer named Fowler had been assigned by the police department to attend the meetings each night, to see that they were orderly. (He became a captive audience!) God used the message of this song to convict and convert him. Not only did he put his faith in the Saviour, but during the remaining two weeks of meetings, he convinced many of his fellow officers to attend, and more than a hundred professed their faith in Christ.

This is a wonderful example of the transforming power of the gospel, and that is precisely the message of the song–that God brings about a “wonderful change” in the lives of those who are saved through personal faith in Christ. As the Apostle Paul put it:

“I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek [or Gentile]” (Rom. 1:16).

CH-1, “I have light in my soul.” There is a consistent contrast in the Word of God between the spiritual darkness of the sinner, and the light of God’s salvation. Christ said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (Jn. 8:12). But “this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (Jn. 3:19).

Paul was sent out to preach the gospel “to open their eyes [by the power of the Holy Spirit], in order to turn them from darkness to light” (Acts 26:18). To Christians, he writes, “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (Eph. 5:8; cf Col. 1:13).

CH-2. “I have ceased from my wandering and going astray” is perhaps a little optimistic. It’s a worthy goal, but there is human fallibility to contend with. McDaniel is on safer ground with, “My sins which were many are all washed away.” In Revelation 1:5 we read, “Jesus Christ…loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (cf. Eph. 1:7). “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (I Jn. 1:7).

CH-3. We’re “possessed of a hope that is steadfast and sure.” In truth the One who died for us on the cross is “the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope” (I Tim. 1:1). Of believers it’s said that God “has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (I Pet. 1:3). And the writer speaks of “the hope [meaning the joyful certainty of future blessing] set before us. This hope we have as an anchor for the soul” (Heb. 6:18-19).

Both of the final stanzas speak of our eternal future, when we’ll go to dwell in our heavenly home (Rev. 21:1-5). Even in the valley of the shadow of death (Ps. 23:4) the Lord is with us. It’s no wonder, as the refrain says, “Floods of joy o’er my soul like the sea billows roll”!

CH-4) There’s a light in the valley of death now for me,
Since Jesus came into my heart!
And the gates of the city beyond I can see,
Since Jesus came into my heart!

CH-5) I shall go there to dwell in that city, I know,
Since Jesus came into my heart!
And I’m happy, so happy, as onward I go,
Since Jesus came into my heart!

1) How has your own faith in Christ transformed your life?

2) If there are Christians who don’t have “floods of joy,” why might that be? And how can we help them?

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


  1. Mr. Cottrill, today is my oldest son’s birthday I believe that I was blessed twice today, by his birth and by coming to your website. The Bible Study that is offered for free is how I found you, my husband and I have a Bible Study in our home on Thursdays’ but I had seen the tag about Hymns. I just thought what could I possibly get from old hymns that I won’t be able to understand since they were possibly written in the Old English formatt as the King James Bible was. Well was I wrong I believe your site is a blessing to us who are hungry for the Word of God and eager to learn all we can, Thank You. There is a young man 13 years old and he asked at our Bible Study a question, If believers were saved by their sacrifices in the Old Testament? and that is how I found you. That is why I believe that no matter how old we are the younger generation can help us grow and learn by their inquisitiveness and desire to learn the Word of God.
    May God’s Peace and Joy be with you always,


    • What a kind and gracious note! Thank you so much. It is comments such as yours that keep me going with this work. For forty years I taught God’s Word both as a pastor, and as a college professor. Now, although I’m currently preaching pretty much every Sunday, most of my ministry comes through writing–books, a weekly newspaper column, the Bible study website and the blog on hymns.

      You are right that some of our oldest hymns contain words that are no longer common. But usually a bit of explanation is all that’s needed for folks to benefit from them. I’m convinced that our hymns are so rich in devotion and doctrinal depth that we need to keep using them. People from 190 countries who’ve visited my blog seem to agree!

      God bless you and your husband–and your son too (Great question!). If I can be of further help on something you’re puzzling over, just let me know and I’ll give it a try.


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