Posted by: rcottrill | June 22, 2011

Whosover Will

Words: Philip Paul Bliss (b. July 9, 1838; d. Dec. 29, 1876)
Music: Philip Paul Bliss

Wordwise Hymns (Philip Bliss)
The Cyber Hymnal

Whosoever is an older form of the word whoever. It refers to any person, whatever person, no matter who. All are included. The word is found in the King James Version’s rendering of John 3:16–“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

During the winter of 1869-1870, British evangelist Henry Moorehouse preached a series of seven sermons on that text, night after night. By the very act of returning to the text, time after time, he suggested the profound depths of its subject. Dwight L. Moody, and other Christian workers were deeply impressed with the theme–the love of God that moved Him to send His Son to die for our sins.

One of those in the audience, returning again and again to hear Moorehouse, was hymn writer Philip Bliss. And the word in the text that particularly struck him was that “whosoever.” He realized it included everyone, and excluded no one. The concept that Christ died for all is reflected in other texts too.

“All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6). “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all” (II Tim. 2:5-6). “We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone” (Heb. 2:9. “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (I Jn. 2:2).

Of course there is a qualification of that whosoever–again taught in many passages. It is “whoever believes on Him [Christ]” (Jn. 3:16; cf. vs. 36). The gospel invitation is appropriated by whoever will receive Him, trusting in Him as Saviour (Jn. 1:12-13). Jesus said…“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn. 14:6). “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

After hearing Henry Moorehouse’s messages, Philip Bliss was inspired to write the gospel song Whosoever Will. It encourages us to spread the good news of salvation in Christ, and declares that “whosover will may come,” to Christ, “the only living way.” Whenever Bliss sang the song as a solo, in time to come, he put a great emphasis on that word “whosover”!

“Whosoever heareth,” shout, shout the sound!
Spread the blessèd tidings all the world around;
Spread the joyful news wherever man is found;
“Whosoever will may come.”

“Whosoever will, whosoever will,”
Send the proclamation over vale and hill;
’Tis a loving Father, calls the wanderer home:
“Whosoever will, may come.”

Whosoever cometh need not delay,
Now the door is open, enter while you may;
Jesus is the true, the only living Way;
“Whosoever will may come.”

As it is sometimes put, Christ’s death is sufficient payment for all the sins of the human race, for all time. But it only becomes personally efficient and effective, when the payment is claimed, by faith. It is similar to what happens when someone gives us a cheque. We have the piece of paper proclaiming that $100 has been given to us. But, as yet, we’re none the richer. It is only when faith cashes the cheque that the gift becomes ours in a practical way.

1) Since the gospel is for “whosoever,” what wonderful privilege does that give to each sinner?

2) Since the gospel is for “whosoever,” what responsibility does that place on each Christian?

Wordwise Hymns (Philip Bliss)
The Cyber Hymnal


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