All Glory Be to Christ

Hymns are one of my favorite genres of praise songs, they typically have very deep and meaningful lyrics coupled with an easy to remember tune.   They connect us with the church through the ages and give us a glimpse into the thoughts of the great men of faith that have come before us. They contain vastly more depth than the Jesus-is-my-girlfriend pattern that has become commonplace. Which of these two songs could be written to a boyfriend and which of these must necessarily be about the God of the Bible?

Recently, one hymn in particular has stood out to me, and it’s actually a quite modern one. It is “All Glory Be to Christ” by Kings Kaleidescope. I’ve been listening to it on loop for the past several days and it is the only song that I have ever done that with.  As I’ve listened to it on repeat, I’ve noticed myself singing it throughout the day, its lyrics have thoroughly saturated me. There is something to be said about repeating the same thing over and over again until it becomes ingrained in you rather than constantly feeling the need to innovate.

Although it is a modern hymn, it is set to the tune of “Auld Lang Syne”, a Scottish hymn from the 1700’s.  For an interesting, though speculative, look at the lyrics through the lens of Scottish history, check out this post.  

The author of the hymn, Dustin Kensrue, had intentions for rewriting the lyrics based less on its Scottish ancestry and more on the fact that “Auld Lang Syne” is typically sung to inaugurate the New Year and he wanted a song which dedicates the new year to bringing glory to Christ. His article explaining this can be found here

This hymn has been a huge success, even being featured in the “Hymns of Grace” hymnal, which I find impressive since the song had been out for less than 3 years at the time. What is it about this hymn that makes it so great?  Other than the fact that it’s set to a well known tune, I believe it owes much of its success to the fact that nearly every line either quotes or alludes to Scripture and the chorus exhibits a high Christology. Let’s turn to the lyrics now and see this. 

Should nothing of our efforts stand
No legacy survive
Unless the Lord does raise the house
In vain its builders strive

“Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.

It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.”
-Psalm 127:1-2

To you who boast tomorrow’s gain
Tell me what is your life
A mist that vanishes at dawn
All glory be to Christ!

“Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring.”
-Proverbs 27:1

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.”
-James 4:13-16

All glory be to Christ our king!
All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign will ever sing,
All glory be to Christ!

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
-Ephesians 3:20-21

His will be done
His kingdom come
On earth as is above
Who is Himself our daily bread
Praise Him the Lord of love

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.”
-Matthew 6:9-13

Let living water satisfy
The thirsty without price
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet
All glory be to Christ!

“Come, everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.”
– Isaiah 55:1

“Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink,” you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.'”
– John 4:10

“On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.'”
– John 7:37

“It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.”
– Revelation 21:6

All glory be to Christ our king!
All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign will ever sing,
All glory be to Christ!

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
-Galatians 1:3-5

When on the day the great I Am
The faithful and the true
The Lamb who was for sinners slain
Is making all things new.

“‘Very truly I tell you,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!'”
– John 8:58

“These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.”
– Revelation 3:14

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
To receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!”
– Revelation 5:12

“And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.'”
– Revelation 21:5

Behold our God shall live with us
And be our steadfast light
And we shall ere his people be
All glory be to Christ!

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.'”
– Revelation 21:3-4

“And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.”
– Revelation 21:22-23

All glory be to Christ our king!
All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign will ever sing,
All glory be to Christ!

Q. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
-Westminster Confession of Faith, Question 1


from Joy Has Dawned, released 27 November 2012
Words by Dustin Kensrue, arrangement by Kings Kaleidoscope / © Dead Bird Theology (ASCAP), It’s All About Jesus Music (ASCAP)
HT: Dan Huff

I am much indebted to this post for collecting the Scripture references for the verses of the hymn. 

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