JESUS PAID IT ALL
Elvina M. Hall, 1820–1889
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)
It has been stated that all religious systems can be spelled with just two letters—D O. The gospel of Christ, however, is spelled with four letters—D O N E! This hymn text, written by a lay woman named Elvina Hall, speaks pointedly to this basic truth, which is the very basis of our Christian faith.
Mrs. Hall wrote these words one Sunday morning while seated in the choir loft of the Monument Street Methodist Church in Baltimore, Maryland, supposedly listening to the sermon by her pastor, the Rev. George Schrick. One can imagine a conversation something like this following the service:
Pastor Schrick, I must confess that I wasn’t listening too closely to your message this morning. Because, you see, once you started preaching about how we can really know God’s love and forgiveness, I began thinking about all that Christ has already done to provide our salvation. Then these words came to me, and I just had to get them down on paper. And the only paper I could find at the time was the flyleaf of this hymnal. So I scribbled the words on that.
The pastor recalled that the church organist, John Grape, had just previously given him a copy of a new tune that he had composed, which he had titled “All to Christ I Owe.” To the amazement of all, they soon discovered that John Grape’s tune fit perfectly with Elvina Hall’s words scribbled on the flyleaf page of the hymnal. Since its first published appearance in 1874, this hymn has been widely used in churches, especially for the communion services.
I hear the Savior say, “Thy strength indeed is small! Child of weakness, watch and pray; find in Me thine all in all.”
Lord, now indeed I find Thy pow’r, and Thine alone, can change the leper’s spots and melt the heart of stone.
For nothing good have I whereby Thy grace to claim—I’ll wash my garments white in the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.
And when before the throne I stand in Him complete, “Jesus died my soul to save,” my lips shall still repeat.
Chorus: Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain—He washed it white as snow.
For Today: Romans 3:24-26; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 1:7–9
Breathe a prayer of thanksgiving even now that our eternal standing with God is dependent only on the redemptive work of Christ. Seek to share this good news with someone who may be confused about this.