Sunday, May 4, 2008

Nothing But The Blood


Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, would write these words, "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God." (Romans 3:25) The emphasis of this verse is on the shed blood that satisfies or propitiates our sin debt. Another way of saying the same thing is, "What can wash away our sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus." More than likely it was this verse or one like it, dealing with the subject of blood, which caused Pastor Robert Lowry to write a hymn.

Born in Philadelphia, on March 12, 1826, young Robert accepted Christ as his personal Savior at the age of 17 and later graduated from Bucknell University with high scholastic honors. In the 73 years of his life here on earth, he pastored churches in Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York City and Brooklyn. Along with his preaching, Dr. Lowry also had the gift of music in the writing of hymns. When asked about his method for writing songs, he would answer by saying:

I have no set method. Sometimes, the music comes and the words follow…. I watch my moods, and when anything strikes me, whether words or music, no matter where I am, at home or on the street, I jot it down…. My brain is sort of a spinning machine, for there is music running through it all the time. The tunes of nearly all the hymns I have written have been completed on paper, before I tried them on the organ. Frequently, the words of the hymn and the music have been written at the same time.

He supplied the music for such familiar hymns as We’re Marching to Zion, Savior, Thy Dying Love, Where Is my Wandering Boy Tonight, I Need Thee Every Hour and Fanny Crosby’s song, All the Way my Savior Leads Me. The words and music would come together in 1864 to produce Shall We Gather at the River. Then, in the Easter season of 1874, Christ Arose would flow from his pen and his heart. Finally, in 1876, Pastor Lowry would give us the answer to our sin debt in his song, Nothing but the Blood.

Down through the ages, man has tried to work off his sin debt in good works and religion—only to fail. The Bible says, "Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness." (Hebrews 9:22) Robert Lowry understood this very well:

Verse 1:
What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh! Precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Verse 2:
For my pardon, this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing, this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
(Repeat chorus)

Verse 3:
Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
(Repeat chorus)

Verse 4:
This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
(Repeat chorus)

Written by: Robert Lowry (1876)
Public Domain

Background came from the following site:

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