This contest is neither sponsored nor endorsed by
WELS or by the WELS  Commission on Worship.
Michael Thom of New Ulm, MN
Michael is the winner of the 2010 HYMNWRITERCHALLENGE contest. His
challenge: write a hymn based on the theme "Why Objective Justification Matters."

Michael's winning hymn:

As countless as the sands upon the mighty ocean's shore,
So many live on earth today, so many came before.
Each one was known to you, O Lord -- each face, each voice, each name --
And in your heart of hearts, O Lord, you loved each one the same.

Though there is found upon the earth none righteous -- no not one,
Though all have sinned and fallen short in all that we have done,
Yet in your tender mercy and your all-embracing love
You sent your Son, your only Son, to help us from above.

Behold, the Lamb sent forth by God to bear all sin and blame,
Whose sinless soul assumed the debt of every sinner's shame,
That all the world might be released from fear and death and hell
And have instead His righteousness and in His presence dwell.

What joy! To know that God in Christ declared all sinners free,
For with that blessed verdict comes great confidence for me;
Though great my guilt and weak my works, that verdict stands most sure --
In Jesus ALL are justified! In this I rest secure!

For all the world God's verdict stands -- for every tribe and clan,
For male and female, slave and free, for child and aged man,
For rich and poor, for black and white, for Gentile and for Jew --
God's "Innocent!" declares to all: the Savior died for you!