Posted by: rcottrill | February 12, 2018

Jesus Paid It All

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Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Elvina Mable Hall (b. June 4, 1822; d. July 18, 1889)
Music: John Thomas Grape (b. May 6, 1835; d. Nov. 2, 1915)

Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Mrs. Hall was a member of a Methodist church in Baltimore. Mr. Grape, the author of the tune, was the church organist. The unusual story of how the hymn was created is found in the first Wordwise Hymns link.

The other day I went to my favourite Tim Horton’s coffee shop, and placed my order at the counter. Suddenly, there was a hand on my shoulder, and another hand reaching around the other side, holding a twenty dollar bill. “I’ve got this,” a voice said, and I turned to see a friend–who actually lives about fifteen hundred miles away! “Daniel!” I exclaimed, when I found my voice. “You’re like an angel, suddenly appearing out of nowhere!”

There was no great mystery about it. Daniel and his wife were visiting family in the area, and they had phoned my wife to see if they could arrange to surprise me. They certainly did. But it’s the kindness of that gift of lunch that I want to focus on. Small in itself, but representing a level of thoughtfulness and care on their part that has encouraged us many times.

It’s a wonderful blessing to receive gifts from friends and family–especially when we know there’s sincere affection behind them. I remember my first teddy bear, from loving parents. (Have a photo of it under the tree for my first Christmas.) And other gifts followed over the years, including a tiny piano, which I’m told was my favourite toy for a long time.

And also on the music theme, at Christmas of 1963, my mother gave me a book of stories about our traditional hymns. That’s an example of the providence of God, because it aroused my interest in studying more on the subject of our sacred music, as I have for over fifty years or so since then.

The Lord Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35), and many have proved it so over and again. But the most wonderful gift that ever was given came from God Himself, earmarked for any and all who’ll receive it by faith. “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). Our salvation is “the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). And, “thanks be to God for His indescribable gift” (II Cor. 9:15).

Bound up in the gift of salvation, purchased for us at Calvary, is the gift of Christ Himself (Gal. 2:20). Our many sins left us with an unpayable debt to God. No good works could cancel the debt, since being good is only what is expected of us (Lk. 17:10). But God, in grace, sent His Son to die for our sins (I Cor. 15:3).

And the fact that He paid the debt for all the sins of all humanity since the beginning of time is made clear many times.

¤ “The Lord has laid on Him [Christ] the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6).
¤ “Jesus…gave Himself a ransom for all” (I Tim. 2:5-6).
¤ “That He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone” (Heb. 2:9)
¤ “He Himself is the propitiation [the full satisfaction of God’s justice] for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (I Jn. 2:2).

Christ’s dying cry from the cross, “It is finished!” (Jn. 19:30), is one word in the Greek language: “Tetelestai!” It was a word commonly written at the bottom of a bill when payment was made. It meant: Paid in Full.

That is the gospel, the good news of salvation in Christ. It’s what the Lord Jesus did with our debt. Now, it only remains for us to accept the payment, through personal faith in Him, “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16). He paid in full our debt of sin.

And in 1865, Elvina Hall wrote a fine hymn expressing that truth.

CH-1) I hear the Saviour say,
Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

CH-2) For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim,
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.

CH-3) And now complete in Him
My robe His righteousness,
Close sheltered ’neath His side,
I am divinely blest.

CH-6) And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
“Jesus died my soul to save,”*
My lips shall still repeat.

* The last two lines of the final verse seem to have been changed around 1927. The original version was as follows (though an early change was made of “trophies” to read “honours”:

I’ll lay my trophies down
All down at Jesus’ feet.

1) Is this a hymn you use in your church? (If not, encourage the pastor or service leader to use it. If it isn’t in your current hymn book, it’s in the public domain and could be reproduced in the church bulletin.)

2) What are your favourite hymns on the theme of God’s salvation?

Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal


  1. Since you believe He paid all the sins of all of humanity do you then believe all will be saved? For how can God righteously demand the debt to be paid again by eternal suffering in hell?

    Providentially, just yesterday I paid a debt for someone else that they could not pay. They had a debt and a blot on their record that could not be taken away unless and until the debt was paid in full. Suppose the recipient was to come back again and demand payment. Even on a human level we would cry foul. The debt is either paid and the slate wiped clean, or it isn’t. Therefore i ask: will not the God of heaven do right?

    • It’s a great question. As Abraham asked, rhetorically, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen. 18:25). Certainly He will. But you need to account for the difference between a gift offered, and a gift received. I could write my son a cheque for a hundred dollars. But unless he takes the cheque to the bank, cashes it, and puts the money to use, the gift will do him no good. It’s just a piece of paper. So is a doctor’s prescription. It will only cure what ails me if I take it to the pharmacist, get the medicine, and take it.

      Two points the Bible makes clear, over and over.

      1) Salvation is a free gift from God that needs to be received by faith.
      It is indeed sufficient for all, but it does not become efficient until it is accepted. “By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:18). “For the wages of sin is death [the just payment], but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). “Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted [credited to him] for righteousness” (Rom. 4:4-5; cf. II Cor. 5:21).

      “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). “This is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” (I Jn. 5:11-13).

      To be efficacious, the sacrifice of Christ must be applied by personal faith in the Saviour. It’s whoever believes in Him that will not perish but have everlasting life (Jn. 3:16). “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (vs. 18). “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (vs. 36).

      2) There will be many who, dying without Christ, will be condemned to eternal judgment.
      (This is why the work of evangelism and world missions is so urgent. But if all will be saved anyway, why bother?) Several of the Scriptures just quoted refer to another destiny that is possible, apart from receiving God’s gift. There is “perishing” (coming to eternal ruin), in Jn. 3:16. “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). “He who does not have the Son does not have life” (I Jn. 5:12). He/she is “condemned already” (Jn. 3:18). “The wrath of God abides on him” (Jn. 3:36).

      “The Lord Jesus [will one day be] revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (II Thess. 1:7-9). Regarding the heavenly city, “Anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 19:15).

      I hope that will be of help. May the Lord guide you as you consider His Word.


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