Once I was bound by sin’s galling fetters

Once I was bound by sin’s galling fetters,
Chained like a slave I struggled in vain;
But I received a glorious freedom,
When Jesus broke my fetters in twain.
  Glorious freedom, wonderful freedom,
No more in chains of sin I repine!
Jesus the glorious Emancipator,
  Now and forever He shall be mine.
Freedom from all the carnal affections,
Freedom from envy, hatred and strife;
Freedom from vain and worldly ambitions.
Freedom from all that saddened my life.
Freedom from pride and all sinful follies,
Freedom from love and glitter of gold;
Freedom from evil temper and anger,
Glorious freedom, rapture untold.
Freedom from fear with all of its torments,
Freedom from care with all of its pain;
Freedom in Christ my blessed Redeemer,
He who has rent my fetters in twain.
Ikechukwu okpalaukeje

Abuja, FCT, Nigeria

What a wonderful glorious emancipator. Jesus we love for setting free from the chains of sins.

Fabrice Robin

Valley Stream, New York, United States

Chained like a slave I struggled in vain, wow praise the Lord for Freeing us from our chains.

Erasmo Cantu

Austin, Texas, United States

Cool hymn.

Acho Godfrey

Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria

The first time I heard this song, it really broke me down, especially when I remembered how I struggled in vain (on my own) to be free from some terrible evil habits. The song reminded me of how Jesus broke the power of sin out of my life and Emancipated me. Praise to His dear name. Amen.


Glen Innes, NSW, Australia

Freedom from fear, what a wonderful blessing! The Lord has been working with me on this one for a while and I'm doing better with it.

Another thing I thought of when I read these lyrics this morning is that God frees us, but we have to choose to stay free and keep away from habits and things that will lead us back into bondage.

Amanda Sheh

Hong Kong

I cried when I first heard this hymn when I was in the summer training in Anaheim in the year of 2014. Praise the Lord, You are my Savior, thank You for everything You have done and will do to me. Such a beautiful song, I am free :D

Nelson Liu

Irvine, CA, United States

Glorious freedom!! Wonderful freedom!!

Steve Miller

Detroit, MI, United States

Haldor Lillenas was "one of the most important twentieth-century gospel hymn writers and publishers" and is regarded as "the most influential Wesleyan / Holiness songwriter and publisher in the 20th century". Additionally, Lillenas was an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene, author, song evangelist, poet, music publisher and prolific hymnwriter, who is estimated to have composed over 4,000 hymns, the most famous being Wonderful Grace of Jesus. In 1931 Lillenas was the producer of Glorious Gospel Songs, the first hymnal for the Church of the Nazarene. In 1982 Lillenas was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

Like many Scandinavians at that time, Lillenas was raised in a Lutheran family. The Lillenas family were devout in their religious life, and attended community services when held in their area. At the age of fifteen Lillenas became a confirmed member of the Lutheran Church in Hawick. However, Lillenas indicated in his autobiography that at that time, he had not experienced "the miracle of the new birth". As a young boy, Lillenas had been befriended by an elderly woman who taught him English, and told him about Jesus. As a consequence, in 1906 Lillenas began to attend meetings at the Peniel Mission, a holiness rescue mission, in Astoria, Oregon where this woman was an active worker. According to Lillenas in a 1948 interview, it was shortly after the death of his mother, soon after moving to Astoria, one summer evening "he paused to listen to a street corner service. There he heard for the first time the strains of 'Tell Mother I’ll Be There'. He made his decision then to devote his life to Christian service." According to McGraw, the "singing and testimonies brought conviction to his heart. Later that year he was saved, and three weeks later his heart was cleansed. Soon he was "helping in the mission, singing to his heart's content, witnessing with joy to 'the wonderful grace of Jesus,' and writing songs with increasing skill and volume."

In 1907 Lillenas moved to Portland, Oregon, where he worked with the Peniel Mission. All Peniel Mission workers were unsalaried, but the local mission paid for most of their expenses. Soon after, Lillenas testified that he believed he was called to be a minister of the gospel, at which time he was appointed leader of the Portland mission. During his year of leadership, "he saw so many souls won to Christ that he felt more certain than ever that he should devote his life to the Lord's work." In 1908 Lillenas became a member of the Portland First Church of the Nazarene. Soon after Lillenas enrolled in the ministerial course of studies, which he began by correspondence. Soon afterwards, Lillenas joined a vocal group associated with the Salvation Army called the "Charioteers’ Brigade", which held street meetings and revival services throughout a large portion of California.

As a result of some generous donations, and the efforts of Rev. A.O. Hendricks, pastor of the Portland Church of the Nazarene, in 1909 Lillenas was able to continue his ministerial studies at the Deets Pacific Bible College, an antecedent of Point Loma Nazarene University. Additionally, Lillenas was able to secure part-time work to finance his studies, but by the end of the year accepted the ministry as the music director of a local church, and active in songwriting and preaching. During this time Lillenas studied voice at the Lyric School of Music in Los Angeles.

While at Deets College Lillenas was in a college group that held evangelistic services most weekends. On this team was another student, Bertha Mae Wilson, the oldest daughter of Rev. William C. Wilson then pastor of Pasadena First Church of the Nazarene., but later a general superintendent in the Church of the Nazarene. Lillenas and Bertha Mae both preached, sang, and wrote songs, and often practised in the home of her father. In his autobiography Lilenas recalled: "We soon learned that our voices blended well and so we arranged it that our lives should also be blended." On 4 October 1910 Lillenas married Bertha Mae. Bertha Mae was later an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene and composer. They had two children.

After a visit to Israel in 1955, Lillenas sponsored a Palestinian Greek Orthodox family he had met as immigrants to the USA, that included twelve-year old Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, the convicted assassin of Robert F. Kennedy. After their arrival in Pasadena, California in January 1957, the Sirhan family stayed with Lillenas for three months in his home, before moving into a home Lillenas rented and furnished for them. When Mary Sirhan's husband abandoned her and her two sons, and returned to Jordan, Lillenas ensured that they were able to remain in the USA. - Wikipedia


Oistins, Christ Church, Barbados

Woke up with this song in my spirit this Fathers' Day. I just has to find the song online. We will be singing it in our church service this morning. Wonderful freedom, glorious freedom, no more in chains of sin I repine! Free and free indeed! Hallelujah amen !

Roger Hsu

Arcadia, CA

Praise The Lord for freeing us from the bondage of the world!

We need to see this truth clearly. Other than Jesus Christ, no one in heaven or on earth can accomplish such a complete salvation. On the negative side, He is the Lamb who redeems us and takes away our sinful deeds; on the positive side, He is also the dove who imparts God's life into us and solves the problem of our sinful nature. If we continually draw near to God, look to Him, pray to Him, and live according to His life in us, we will enjoy the full salvation of the Lamb and the dove. Then we will be able to declare, "Glorious freedom, wonderful freedom, / No more in chains of sin I repine! / Jesus the glorious Emancipator, / Now and forever He shall be mine, (Hymns, #310, chorus).

The Lord Jesus died on the cross for you, bearing your sins. Furthermore, He became the Spirit to enter into You to be your life and live in you. Your life is weak, and your nature is corrupt. Without the Lord entering into you, You may be able to act in a good way for a short time, but You will not be able to do this continually. You may be able to endure for three minutes, but You cannot endure for three days, because your life is corrupt. Hence, You truly need the Lord Jesus to solve your problem of sin and death.

Your problem of sin is solved by the death of the Lord Jesus on the cross; your problem of death is solved by the Lord Jesus entering into You to be your life and to live in you. He died for You to deal with your problem of sin, and He can live in You to solve your problem of death. As a sinner, You need the Lord Jesus to die for you, and as a weak and dead person, You need the Lord Jesus to live in you. His death deals with your sin, and His life deals with your death. He is such a Savior; He died for you, and He wants to live in you. He is a wonderful Savior. He not only died on the cross to deal with your sins; He also desires to enter into You to live in you. This will release You from death to be a person who is strong, full of life and power, and able to please God. Hymns, #310 speaks of this reality, saying, "Glorious freedom, wonderful freedom, / No more in chains of sin I repine! / Jesus the glorious Emancipator, / Now and forever He shall be mine."

Eighth, the content of the meetings must be living. The greatest lack among us is that when we read messages, we are very rigid and not at all living. When we read, at any time we should add prayer and the singing of hymns. We can also give testimonies, share our feelings, or fellowship some light at any time. We should not read on and on until people begin to nod off. If we use the way of fellowship, then we will be free and living. For example, when we read about being released, we can sing the hymn "Glorious freedom, wonderful freedom!" (Hymns, #310). In this way, the home meetings will be living and enlivening. Everyone will have such a good taste that they will look forward to the next meeting.