Just As I Am

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By Lauren Stoner

Many of us are familiar with the popular invitational hymn “Just as I Am.” Where did these powerful words come from? A woman by the name of Charlotte Elliott who clung to John 6:37 “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”


Just as I am, without one plea,

But that Thy blood was shed for me,

And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,

O Lamb of God, I come, I come.


Charlotte Elliott lived a life filled with sickness and disability. While others her age were living life to the fullest, she was confined to her home and frequently felt intense pain. No doubt this discouraged Charlotte. She found it hard to accept this as her new way of life.


Charlotte Elliott Just As I Am



Bitterness seeped into her life and made her a very angry, upset, and hardened woman.


Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;

Sight, riches, healing of the mind,

Yea, all I need, in Thee to find,

O Lamb of God, I come, I come.


In 1822, well-known Swedish preacher César Malan visited England and the Elliott family. During dinner, he remarked to Charlotte that he hoped she was saved by the blood of Jesus. Charlotte reacted fiercely to the remark and ended any further conversation on the subject.

However, God used Dr. Milan’s words to start working on Charlotte’s heart. A few days later, she voiced an apology to Dr. Milan. She explained that she desired to be a Christian, but she felt God wouldn’t want her. She felt she needed to change and she didn’t understand how to come to God. Wise Dr. Milan answered, “Come just as you are.” That day, Charlotte Elliott came before God just as she was and God saved her from her sin and misery.


Just as I am, thou wilt receive,

Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve.

Because Thy promise I believe,

O Lamb of God, I come, I come.


Through Christ in her life, Charlotte’s life changed. She was no longer irritable and depressed, she was pleasant and excited. In 1835, Charlotte being a proficient poetry writer, penned the words to the now famous hymn “Just As I Am.” William B. Bradbury wrote the music for this timeless hymn. Countless lives have been changed through the lyrics of this hymn. Then Sings My Soul by Robert J. Morgan said after Charlotte passed away that her family “found over a thousand letters” that people wrote to Charlotte about how her hymn impacted their lives.


Just as I Am Charlotte Elliott


During the next church service, when we hear the chords of “Just as I Am” pealing through the auditorium, I hope we all recall Charlotte Elliott and how she came before God just as she was, bitterness and all, and God accepted her and helped change her life. Charlotte wrote 150 hymns in her 82 years of life. While at one point in her life she saw herself as broken and useless, God beckoned her to come and she answered. We will never be turned away if we come before the Lamb of God.

To watch a video briefly dramatizing this hymn’s history, you can watch it here.