1 To God be the glory, great things he has done;
so loved he the world that he gave us his Son,
who yielded his life an atonement for sin,
and opened the life gate that all may go in.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord; let the earth hear his voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord; let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father through Jesus the Son,
and give him the glory; great things he has done.
2 O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
to every believer the promise of God;
the vilest offender who truly believes,
that moment from Jesus a pardon receives. [Refrain]
3 Great things he has taught us, great things he has done,
and great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
but purer and higher and greater will be
our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see. [Refrain]
In contrast to many gospel hymns (including the majority of Crosby's texts), “To God Be the Glory” directs our attention away from personal experience to the glory of God. God so loved the world that he gave us his Son to make atonement for sin (st. 1); all who believe in Christ will receive pardon (st. 2) and will rejoice now and through all eternity because of the "great things he has done" (st. 3). The refrain borrows its praise in part from the Old Testament psalms. The phrase "when Jesus we see" (st. 3) must have meant something special to Crosby, who was blinded when she was seven weeks old.
Bert Polman, Psalter Hymnal Handbook
The best-loved expressions of praise for God’s care-taking work of his children comes from the familiar words of Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, Question and Answer 1: “My only comfort in life and death [is] that I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil...Because I belong to him, Christ by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes we wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.”
This great truth is explained more completely by Belgic Confession, Article 20. God has given his Son to die for us “…by a most perfect love, and raising him to life for our justification, in order that by him, we might have immortality and eternal life.” And in Article 21, “…He endured all this for the forgiveness of our sins.” For this redemptive work we give praise and adoration.