Why I Wrote “Come You Sinners”

I’ve not written many worship songs. But of the songs I’ve written, “Come You Sinners” has seemed to resonate the most in the different settings/churches where I’ve led it.

The verses for this song came very quickly one day as I was choosing songs to sing during communion. I wanted a song that I could sing over God’s people as they came forward to receive communion, and I wanted a song that God’s people could sing over each other, to teach and admonish one another in the good news of the gospel.

In two spots I borrowed a beginning line from an old familiar hymn “Come Ye Sinners”, but everything else flowed as an attempt at a fresh way to say some unchangingly amazing and refreshing truths:

Come you sinners, poor and needy
Come behold your Savior’s face
Full of love and rich in mercy
Hands outstretched with endless grace

Nothing you have done has earned it
Full atonement, vast and free
Nothing you can do can change it
Rest on Jesus’ victory

Come you weary, heavy laden
Burdened under shame and sin
There is never condemnation
When your life in Christ is hid

There is no one else to turn to
He will guide you all your days
His perfect love is perfect for you
Trust in Jesus’ saving grace

It needed a chorus, and my first attempt at one was less than stellar. If I recall correctly, the lyrics were “oh, oh, thank You Lord. Oh, oh, forevermore I will sing your praise”. I sent the song (with the first attempt at a chorus) to a few friends and I remember Bob Kauflin saying that the chorus “needs work”…

So one night the words of Augustine came to mind, and so I sat at the piano while the words and melody for the chorus came:

Our hearts are restless ’till we find our rest in You
Our lives are hopeless ’till we find our hope in You
Jesus, You are my life
Jesus, I give my life to You

This chorus seemed to “stick” and the song was done. And since the day I finished it, this is a song that I’ve found has ministered to me on countless occasions. It’s almost as if God gave me the song for me. But as I’ve shared it in a few different contexts, I’ve found that it has ministered to others as well.

I recorded this song with my previous church, and you can buy the mp3 from that album on iTunes here.
Here’s a free lead sheet (instead of the G7/D, just play a Dm).
Here’s a free chord chart.
I have string parts too, and if you email me I might be able to pass them along. 🙂

I hope this song is a blessing to you. Every time I sing the lyrics I’m amazed again that they’re actually true!

4 thoughts on “Why I Wrote “Come You Sinners”

  1. Toni August 17, 2015 / 1:42 pm

    This song is absolute one of my favorites Jamie!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • sister clare September 5, 2015 / 5:53 am

      Diitto for me! I LOVE this song!

  2. Richard August 18, 2015 / 9:30 am

    thanks, Jamie, for sharing this, both the back story and the lyrics and chords. it is a very effective and affective song for God’s people.

  3. Jen August 23, 2015 / 4:49 pm

    Jamie, we’ve really enjoyed this song at St. Stephen’s during the last year as well. Thank you for being open to letting the Holy Spirit craft it through you!

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