My Father is rich in houses and lands;
He holdeth the wealth of the world in His hands!
Of rubies and diamonds, of silver and gold,
His coffers are full-He has riches untold.
My Father’s own Son, the Savior of men,
Once wandered o’er earth as the poorest of them;
But now He is reigning forever on high,
And will give me a home in heav’n by and by.
I once was an outcast stranger on earth,
A sinner by choice and an alien by birth;
But I’ve been adopted; my name’s written down-
An heir to a mansion, a robe, and a crown.
A tent or a cottage, why should I care?
They’re building a palace for me over there!
Though exiled from home, yet still I may sing:
All glory to God, I’m a child of the King.
I’m a child of the King, a child of the King!
With Jesus my Savior, I’m a child of the King!
-Harriett E. Buell (1834-1910)
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).
Our Lord’s sacrificial death covers the full penalty our sin deserves and allows Him to bestow the gift of eternal life on all who simply believe in Him. In an act of remarkable grace, the King of the universe raises believers-formerly vile sinners and rebels against His rule and kingdom-to the privileged status of His royal children.
Meditating on this evidence of God’s grace, Harriett Buell, a native of New York state, wrote the words for “I’m A Child of the King” as she walked home from church one Sunday.1 The lyrics were published in the Northern Christian Advocate in February 1877, and were noticed by John Sumner, a music teacher.2 He composed music for the lyrics without Mrs. Buell’s knowledge, so we can imagine her surprise at hearing her poem sung publicly when she attended a Sunday night service in Manlius, New York!3
The believer’s position as a “child of the King” is solely a result of God’s absolute grace. That position is neither initiated nor kept because of any action by the believer. However, in gratitude for our gracious adoption into the King’s family, we should with the hymn writer sing, “All glory to God, I’m a child of the King!”
1Phil Kerr, Music in Evangelism (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1962), 91-92.
2Kenneth W. Osbeck, Amazing Grace (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1990), 221.
3Kerr, Music, 91-92.