Charles Wesley and his brother John were taught how to "live righteously" in a strict religious home. In college they started "Holy Clubs" focusing on works to maintain these standards. Although he was " living right" and doing good works he had no peace. One night his eyes were opened and he came to understand that salvation is not by works but by faith alone.
It was not until that night May 21,1738 after he "gave myself to Christ" that he could write the words of this song that describe his own experience. His question was: Amazing Love! How can it be that Thou my God, should die for me?
I especially love verse four:
Long my imprisoned spirit lay fast bound in sin and nature's night.
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray:
I woke - the dungeon flamed with light!
My chains fell off, my heart was free.
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.