Posted by: rcottrill | May 2, 2012

Hallelujah, What a Saviour!

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

Wordwise Hymns (Philip Bliss)
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: This is a marvelous hymn. It works well for Easter time, for a Communion Service, or any time at all. With instruction from the service leader, it is effective for the congregation to sing the first three lines of CH-1 through CH-4 softly, with a crescendo on the last line each time. The final stanza (CH-5) should all be sung brightly, and a bit more quickly.

The opening line of this hymn comes from Isaiah 53:3, which describes the Saviour as “a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” And why did the Son of God come to earth as Man and suffer so? He came to reclaim “ruined sinners.” The word “perish” in John 3:16 might legitimately be rendered “come to eternal ruin.” That is our destiny, as sinners condemned by a holy God, because all have sinned (Rom.3:23). But Christ came to rescue us.

CH-1) Man of Sorrows! what a name
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

CH-2) Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

“Shame and scoffing rude,” indeed. Leading up to the actual crucifixion there was abuse from both Jews and Gentiles (Matt. 27:27-31; Mk. 15:16-20; Lk. 22:63; 23:11; Jn. 18:22; 19:1-3). Again, why did He do it?

Sinners are under God’s condemnation (Jn. 3:18, 36), and as such are “guilty, vile, and helpless” (CH-3). Think of how completely that line describes our case. We are guilty as to our legal standing in the books of heaven. We are vile, inwardly corrupted by sin. And we are utterly helpless to remedy our condition. We need to appeal to the intervention of a gracious God. At the cross the Lord Jesus bore the wrath of God for our sins. He took our place, bearing our sins and condemned to die (I Cor. 15:3; II Cor. 5:21; I Pet. 2:23-24; 3:18).

“‘It is finished!’ was His cry” (CH-4; cf. Jn. 19:30). The Greek word Christ used is tetelesti, meaning paid in full. “The Lord [Jehovah] has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6). “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (I Jn. 2:2). Our salvation is not earned by our own good works, or by church membership, or following certain rituals. All that needs to be done has been done. Now we are invited simply to receive the Saviour’s payment in faith (Jn. 3:16; Acts 16:31).

As the book of Revelation shows, our song of praise for all that Christ has done for us will continue on through the endless ages of eternity.

“To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (Rev. 1:5-6).

“They sang a new song [in heaven], saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll [likely the title deed to the earth], and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:9-10).

“Alleluia! [another form of “Hallelujah!] Salvation and glory and honour and power belong to the Lord our God” (Rev. 19:1).

CH-5) When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

1) Scan the full version of this hymn (see the Cyber Hymnal link). What are some reasons there what Christians can wholeheartedly exclaim, “Hallelujah! What a Saviour!”?

2) Have you personally trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as your only salvation? What differences does this make in your daily life?

Wordwise Hymns (Philip Bliss)
The Cyber Hymnal


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