Songs about Sanctification

When Jesus called His disciples, he called them to come and follow—to believe and then to take up a cross.

His call today is the same. The Gospel we preach in our sermons and songs includes the glorious moment when we receive God’s gift of salvation. But the Gospel message doesn’t stop there: “… whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Romans 8:30, KJV). The Gospel message includes our sanctification (becoming more like Jesus) and our glorification (being raised with Him).

When we speak of “Gospel songs”—songs that contain the Gospel—we certainly speak of songs that contain the “good news” (the literal meaning of “Gospel”) of the offer of salvation. But the good news we proclaim doesn’t stop with the moment we are rescued from Hell fire. It goes on to say that God permits us to become more like Jesus, to die to our old sin nature. And this good news certainly continues through the resurrection, through eternity spent with Jesus and with the redeemed through all the ages.

This is the Gospel our preachers preach. It should also be the Gospel our songs proclaim.

Certainly, songs that rejoice in the themes of salvation and resurrection are magnificent. Songs about sanctification are a little harder to pull off. But Southern Gospel has certainly seen a few through the years, and needs to see more. What are some of the best Southern Gospel songs that discuss the process of becoming more like Jesus?

Here’s one of the best from recent years, Brian Free & Assurance’s “Die Another Day”:

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35 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. Lord Prepare Me To Be A Sanctuary… That’s the first one that comes to my mind

    • That’s a great song, and I remember singing it in church some years back. I hadn’t remembered any SG performances of it, until you mentioned it; then I looked it up, and found that Jessy Dixon sang it on a Gaither Live in Toronto Homecoming CD/DVD. Chris Allman also did a rendition on a solo project.

      • Sorry I should have referenced Jessy Dixon. His rendition is the one I was referring to.

        Just Like You by the Brian, Ivan,Mike, and Tim line-up is another.

      • Thanks!

        “Just Like You”: That’s a great one! I haven’t listened to that one in quite a while; I need to pull it out again.

  2. The song Double Dose written by McCray Dove when he was with DMB, Gold City’s Holy Annointing as well as You Got To Live It, I Want To Know You More by the Booth Brothers. That us all I can come up with right now. I am sure a scroll through my iPod will reveal plenty more.

  3. Two hymns come to mind; More About Jesus by the Blackwood Brothers, and Sitting At The Feet Of Jesus by the Gaither Homecoming Friends. I especially love the lyrics of Sitting At The Feet Of Jesus. The whole song is great, but the last verse has some really nice words on the theme of sanctification.

    Give me Lord the mind of Jesus,
    Make me holy as He is
    May I prove I’ve been with Jesus
    Who is all my righteousness

    • “Sitting At The Feet of Jesus” is one I would never have thought of, outside of your suggestion here, in this context. Wow! What a lyric indeed!

  4. The Ruppes had a song in the late ’90’s from their CD “Seasons” entitled “Redemption Complete” that should also be included in this discussion.

  5. A couple with a quicker pace: Greater Vision’s “More and More Like You” and Gold City’s “I’m Not What I Was”.

    • I was thinking someone would bring up “More and More Like You,” and I almost mentioned it in the original post before deciding to keep my original post down to just one song.

      “I’m Not What I Was” is a great example, one that deserves to make a top-ten list if we were to make one. It’s SG all the way musically, and has a great sanctification message to boot.

  6. The Secret Place. Michael Booth.

  7. Daniel, Great discussion! It seems this would be an excellent topic for some of our SG songwriters to explore, yourself included! 🙂 I can think of many traditional hymns… One of my favorites is, “Is Your All On The Altar”. While normally sung as an invitation, I think it’s a beautiful prayer for anyone to contemplate. Very thought provoking lyrics in: “You can only be blessed and have peace and sweet rest when you give Him your body and soul.” Off the top of my head I can’t think of many SG songs which lend themselves completely to this topic. Very Bublical, very important part of our Christian walk.

    • Thank you so much! It has certainly not escaped my thought process in that area. 🙂

      I agree that there aren’t too many SG songs which lend themselves to this topic, and there need to be more.

  8. I know it’s straying away from traditional SG, but Steve Green has sung several songs which I think would qualify as having the “Sanctification” theme…. Embrace The Cross, Enter In, The Refiner’s Fire, Broken and Spilled Out.
    Some deep thoughts in these songs.

    • Yes, they would! And, after all, Steve is the original tenor singer for the Gaither Vocal Band! 🙂

      He was also my entry point to Southern Gospel. I grew up on Integrity praise choruses and other CCM artists/songs. The more I got into it, the more I decided that Michael Card was my favorite songwriter, but Steve Green was my favorite singer. To my ears, he represented the best of what Christian music had to offer. And then I heard the Cathedrals High and Lifted Up project in 2004, produced by Lari Goss, and after hearing the song “Death Has Died,” I thought, “Wow! I just found another artist who is every bit as good as Steve Green, both instrumentally and vocally!”

      • Neat history of your intro to SG!

      • Thanks!

  9. Crucified With Christ should be in there. The Booth Brothers have done a powerful version of this song.
    Daniel, I think this is a good topic and would love to see a top ten sometime. I have wondered why there are not that many songs about it. Could it possibly be that there seems to be quite a number of different views on exactly how and when sanctification happens and on exactly what it does? I know I have heard many different views.
    And my wife just walked in and suggested All of Me again for the Booth Brothers, it seems to me that they might have more songs on this topic than any other groups?

    • I do think the Booth Brothers’ songs cover a broader range of topics than some other groups. The Booth Brothers, Brian Free & Assurance, and the Collingsworth Family are three who record songs covering a fairly broad variety of topics, including this one.

  10. While I don’t believe any SG artist has ever recorded this hymn, we sing it in church fairly often. It’s called “Consecration” and here is a snipit…

    Since Jesus gave His life for me,
    Should I not give Him mine?
    I’m consecrated, Lord, to Thee,
    I shall be wholly Thine.
    Refrain:
    My life, O Lord, I give to Thee,
    My talents, time, and all;
    I’ll serve Thee, Lord, Thine own to be,
    I’ll hear Thy faintest call.

  11. While it’s not the theme of the song, it does mention sanctification.

    God’s Building a Church – Gold City

  12. Can’t think of any off the top of my head, but the Collingsworths seem like they’d have some in their repertoire.

    • They do. Their acapella rendition of the hymn “Take Time to be Holy” is the first to come to mind.

  13. The Gospel harmony Boys recorded “Redeemed” on the project One Light in 1997. The song was written by Harold Lane and contains this refrain:
    I’m sanctified, I’m heading home
    I’m sanctified, no more to roam
    I’m sanctified, my desire for sin now is gone…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jN0wX3SCOBg

  14. Lift Up The Cross – The Crist Family

  15. How about We’ve Come To Worship. When I was with the Anchormen we cut it live back in 1991. Its a Biney English song. Later on when Mike was with the Gaither they did a cut of it too. Don’t remember when.

    • I don’t think I’ve ever heard the Anchormen version, at least. I may have heard the Michael English version, but I’m not remembering it right now.

      • I’m thinking you were prbly one or two years old when we did that. I’ll see if I have a copy. The project was called Back Stage Pass and was a Mark V product. It’s a great opening song. Actually my group will be using it for an opening song when the new project comes out.

      • Very cool!

      • I had a cassette of “Back Stage Pass” and I loved it! I wish it was available on CD or digital download.

    • Hey Joe, by any chance, do you have any homemade videos of the Anchormen while you were with the group? I am one of the biggest Anchormen fans of the early-90’s era, and have practically worn out my copy of Spirit Live. If you had any videos I’d love to have a copy. May I get an email address for you? (That way I can give you my real name)

  16. The Southern Brothers sang “Do You Know That You Know”.
    Part of the song goes:

    “Are you saved and sanctified?
    Are you walking each day by the Saviour’s side?”

  17. Didn’t the Oak Ridge Boys sing a song about being sanctified? Gosh, it was so long ago but I think part of the lyrics said – Sanctified in soul and spirit, Sanctified within you mind. You’ll find light within the darkness if you’re living Sanctified.

  18. The first song that came to my mind was “Leaving No Doubt” by John Starnes. Another one is “I Praise You” by Jimmy Swaggart (I think a lot of his older songs had a sanctification theme).