The Hymn of the Month is “I Know My Faith Is Founded” (LSB 587). The German text was written by Erdmann Neumeister, who was a pastor, organist, and schoolmaster in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In 1941, the hymn was translated into English by The Lutheran Hymnal.
The hymn uses the tune NUN LOB, MEIN SEEL, typically associated with the historic Lutheran hymn “My Soul, Now Praise Your Maker.” The tune first appeared as a chorale set to the text of Psalm 103 in Concentus novi, a collection of devotional songs written by Johann Kugelmann soon after the Reformation.
I know my faith is founded
On Jesus Christ, my God and Lord;
And this my faith confessing,
Unmoved I stand on His sure Word.
Our reason cannot fathom
The truth of God profound;
Who trusts in human wisdom
Relies on shifting ground.
God’s Word is all-sufficient,
It makes divinely sure;
And trusting in its wisdom,
My faith shall rest secure.
In Luke 17, Jesus’ disciples say to Him, “Lord, increase our faith!” Stanza one of the hymn illustrates how this increase of faith occurs for the Christian. Our faith must be grounded not on the shifting sand of man-made sentiments but on the rock-solid cornerstone that is the eternal, unchanging Word of God.
The truth of the Word of God isn’t something we can grasp with our limited human ability. Martin Luther writes in his explanation of the Third Article of the Creed, “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him.” Since our reason is not sufficient, our faith in God’s Word becomes necessary. This faith is secure.
Increase my faith, dear Savior,
For Satan seeks by night and day
To rob me of this treasure
And take my hope of bliss away.
But, Lord, with You beside me,
I shall be undismayed;
And led by Your good Spirit,
I shall be unafraid.
Abide with me, O Savior,
A firmer faith bestow;
Then I shall bid defiance
To ev’ry evil foe.
The faith we receive in our Baptism must be nurtured and always on guard against the darts of Satan. By the power of the Holy Spirit, God’s active Word works daily in our hearts to turn us away from our sin and toward Christ. In the gifts we receive from Christ at His font, at His altar, and in His Word, we are steeled against the temptations and tortures of the devil.
We must not remain complacent in our faith. Should we become satisfied with ourselves, we become even more susceptible to Satan’s attacks. He never quits. But neither does our Lord—therefore, we must continue to flee Satan in favor of the places Christ is always present for us. There, He gives us the treasure of firmer faith so that we may grow as members of His Body, the Church.
In faith, Lord, let me serve You;
Though persecution, grief, and pain
Should seek to overwhelm me,
Let me a steadfast trust retain;
And then at my departure,
Lord, take me home to You,
Your riches to inherit
As all You said holds true.
In life and death, Lord, keep me
Until Your heav’n I gain,
Where I by Your great mercy
The end of faith attain.
Even as our faith is nurtured and grows firmer in Christ, we will still experience persecution, grief, and pain, until our sinful bodies succumb to death. But even in death, we turn to Christ, who crowned us with faith when we died to our sin at our Baptism and will give to us the crown of life when we die in Him. Then we will fully experience the eternal riches of heaven, when neither sin, death, or our sinful natures will be able to separate us from Christ.
This crown of life is the end of faith that the final line of this hymn refers to. A life of faith in Christ necessarily leads to a life in heaven with Christ. We cling to this, in our lives and in our death, because it is the only foundation that gives us true rest in Him. This confession of faith is profound for the Christian, even as we experience the worst effects of death and evil the world has to offer. Even so, our faith is founded in the One who destroyed death and hell forever: our Lord Jesus Christ.
Catechism quotations © 1986 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Hymn is taken from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Read more about hymns on the CPH Worship blog: