Song Snapshots #5: I Stand Redeemed (Legacy Five)

Song Snapshots is a column featuring the stories behind new and classic Southern Gospel songs.

Inspiration for songs can come from unlikely places—but the inspiration for Legacy Five’s first mega-hit, “I Stand Redeemed,” would have to be one of the most unusual places ever.

One day, Belinda Smith dropped by Kelly Garner’s house. Christina DeGazio, a Canadian songwriter, was also there; she had come down to Nashville to write with Kelly. All three wrote for Niles Borop’s Centergy Music at the time.

When Belinda arrived, Kelly and Christina were talking about a song they had recently written and submitted to Niles. They said, “Our publisher totally hated this line in our song.”

“Which line?” she asked.

They replied, “I stand redeemed.”

Now Belinda makes it clear that she absolutely loves Niles Borop. But, she says, “You have to know, I’ll just do something to aggravate you, if it will be funny, and I think you’ll get the joke.”

So, she said, “We should write an entire song called ‘I Stand Redeemed,’ just because there’s no way he could throw out the line. If that’s the title, he can’t make us change it.”

“They were like, ‘Oh, let’s do it! It will aggravate him!’”

“It wasn’t to make him mad,” she clarifies, “just to goad him, because we really loved that man! It was just be like mm-hmm, and what about that line? Because who knew that we would sit down and the I Stand Redeemed would come out?”

Belinda got down at Kelly’s baby grand piano. “I just started playing,” she recalls, “and the whole first verse came out.”

When I think of all my faults and my failures
When I consider all the times I’ve let God down
I am humbled by the grace He has extended
I’m amazed at the mercy I have found
I could never earn this love on my own
But every time I come before His throne
I stand redeemed… 

“It was so weird,” she says. “We were all like, ‘Oh dear. What do you do?’ We were just trying to aggravate Niles, and now it was really serious!”

They worked together on the chorus. They had a big discussion over whether to use the word “liberty.” Kelly and Belinda were against the idea, thinking it was a “fourth of July word,” but Christina—the Canadian of the writing trio—held out until they left the word in. “So that’s the international influence on the chorus!”

By this point, it was 9:30 in the evening. Belinda, who lived forty-five minutes away in Franklin, had gotten up at 5:00 that morning for her day job, and had to get up at 5:00 the next morning. So she called it a night and headed for home; Christina and Kelly finished the second verse.

One day, after a demo had been made for the song, Kelly saw Roger Bennett’s wife Debbie in Staples. “I don’t know why she had the cassette,” Belinda recalls, “but she gave it to Debbie. Debbie took it home, and it became the first Legacy Five single. Only in Nashville!”

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19 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. This is such a tremendous and powerful song! Thanks for the insight. I’m glad they kept “liberty”. It may be a “Fourth of July” word, but more importantly, it’s a Bible word. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free…” Galatians 5:1

    • I’m so glad they kept “liberty,” too!

  2. This song may have started as a joke,but it is proof that God works in mysterious ways. It is a wonderful and powerful song.I am thankful that it has stood the test of time.

    • Yes, this is definitely proof that God works in mysterious ways. Even if a joke started the song, by the time the first verse came out, they knew they had to take it seriously!

  3. And then there’s also 2nd. Corinthians 3:17
    “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

  4. A great story about a great song.

  5. I feel pressed to elaborate just a little more. There are songs out there that say good things about salvation, and there are some that miss the mark a little bit.

    This is one of those songs that is, to me, lyrical perfection. It captures what we truly are, and what Christ did for us. Even at my best, I am unworthy…but I can come before Him unashamed! I stand redeemed by the blood of the Lamb!” Well, I better calm down…I’m at work.

    This is one of the all-time great songs of salvation.

    • Your closing sentence is a very strong statement … that happens to be correct.

    • Agreed! Its a great biblically correct song about salvation!

      Its okay to get excited at work 🙂 As Jim Hamill said on one of the kmen live albums “Testify Son, If you’re still saved”

  6. Ruth is right…this is another wonderful example of God at work from the very beginning and putting the right people in the right place at the right time (with a cassette in her pocket, for example!!) to get a song to His desired destination for His desired purpose. My, oh MY…I love to watch Him work! Wonderful, anointed song, ladies. We writers will never be able to say all we want to say about redemption. But we will go on trying…now more than EVER.

  7. Ahahaha, I love it. 🙂 Keep doing these snapshots Daniel, they’re great!

    • I plan to! I have a few others in the queue. This is certainly one of the most memorable I’ve found and probably will ever find, but there are quite a few other solid stories on their way!

  8. I really wish we could’ve gotten a completed Gold City rendition with Josh Cobb….the video from NQC, while not flawless, showed great potential to bring this song back with its original lead vocalist.

    • Yes, that moment was one of several that showed us the unrealized potential of that lineup!

  9. Wow! what a powerful song, needs to heard more.

  10. One of the absolute greatest songs to come along in SG during the past twenty years.

  11. What a song…..my all time fav L5 song, sung by my fav line up of L5…..love Josh Cobb’s tenor voice and this song showcases it so well. Thanks for posting the story behind the song.

  12. This is the only song that L5 released that ever released glory bumps on me. There are many many great songs old and new that do that for me but as far as their singles, this was the only one. Don’t take this wrong because they have had many successful single releases and many great songs. If they had not then they would have been sitting at home a long time ago. They have been very very smart in their choices through the years. I hate having to go through all that just so it doesn’t sound like I’m insulting them in other areas. Lol. Anyway I would love to hear Matt with the other three voices on this same song. The powerful ending on this song would “ROCK” the house with Matt’s natural edge he has in his voice. I believe he can nail that low G with ease.

  13. Our choir comes apart when we sing this song!!…in a good way that is! LOL There are just songs that CANNOT be beat! I love hearing how songs were born, too. This was a good one!