Hymns and Christ’s Atonement

Hymns and Christ's Atonement

Psalm 103 begins:

Bless the LORD, O my soul,

and all that is within me,

bless His holy name!

Bless the LORD, O my soul,

and forget not all His benefits.

(Psalm 103:1-2)

The words David wrote to encourage his soul are words that we should take to heart as well. We need to be fervent and frequent in our praise to God. And we need to remember and rehearse “all His benefits.” Music provides us the means to do both. Singing helps us lift our voices in praise. And it offers a way for us to remember, respond and rejoice in who God is and all He has done for us.

There is no greater gift, no greater benefit, that God has given us than His own Son. Jesus came to give His life so that we might have life.

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him (1 John 4:9).

Only by Christ’s death can we be given life.

Only by His shed blood can we be cleansed and forgiven.

His sacrifice alone can atone for our sins.

There are many wonderful hymns that teach on Christ’s death and the significance of the atonement that He accomplished for us on the cross. Here are a few of my choices, listed under three headings:

Hymns that emphasize the infinite worth of Christ’s death:

Jesus Thy Blood and Righteousness

(Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, 1739 – translated by John Wesley, 1740; alt)

4. Jesus, be endless praise to Thee,

Whose boundless mercy hath for me—

For me a full atonement made,

And everlasting ransom paid.

5. O let the dead now hear Thy voice;

Now bid Thy banished ones rejoice;

Their beauty this, their glorious dress,

Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness.

[Trinity Hymnal—Baptist edition, 1995 #439]

Jesus Lover of My Soul (Charles Wesley, 1740)

4. Plenteous grace with Thee is found,

Grace to cover all my sin;

Let the healing streams abound;

Make and keep me pure within:

Thou of life the Fountain art,

Freely let me take of Thee;

Spring Thou up within my heart,

Rise to all eternity

[Trinity Hymnal—Baptist edition, 1995 #427]

Blow Ye the Trumpet Blow! (Charles Wesley, 1750)

2. Jesus, our Great High Priest,

Hath full atonement made;

Ye weary spirits, rest;

Ye mournful souls, be glad:

The year of jubilee is come;

Return, ye ransomed sinner home;

Return, ye ransomed sinner home.

3. Extol the Lamb of God;

The sacrificial Lamb;

Redemption through His blood

Throughout the world proclaim:

The year of jubilee is come;

Return, ye ransomed sinner home;

Return, ye ransomed sinner home.

[Trinity Hymnal—Baptist edition, 1995 #392]

Hymns that speak of Christ dying for His people, chosen from eternity:

Fountain of Never-ceasing Grace (Augustus Toplady, 1740–1778)

2. In Thee we have a righteousness

By God Himself approved;

Our rock, our sure foundation this,

Which never can be moved.

Our ransom by Thy death was paid,

For all Thy people given,

The law Thou perfectly obeyed,

That they might enter heaven.

[Trinity Hymnal—Baptist edition, 1995 #440]

From Whence This Fear and Unbelief (Augustus Toplady, 1740–1778)

2. Complete atonement Thou hast made,

And to the utmost farthing paid

Whatever Thy people owed;

How then can wrath on me take place,

If sheltered in Thy righteousness,

And sprinkled with Thy blood?

[A Selection of Hymns for Public Worship—William Gadsby, 1965 #227]

Like Sheep We Went Astray (Isaac Watts, 1709)

3. How glorious was the grace

When Christ sustained the stroke!

His life and blood the Shepherd pays,

A ransom for the flock.

[Our Own Hymnbook—C.H. Spurgeon, 1866 #291]

Ah Holy Jesus, How Hast Thou Offended

(Johann Heermaan, 1630; translated, Yattendon Hymnal, 1899)

3. Lo, the good Shepherd

For the sheep is offered:

The slave hath sinned,

And the Son hath suffered:

For man’s atonement,

While he nothing heedeth,

God intercedeth.

[Trinity Hymnal—Baptist edition, 1995 #179]

Hymns teaching that only the shed blood of Christ can remove the guilt of our sin:

Jesus Paid It All (Elvina Hall, 1865)

3. For nothing good have I

Whereby Thy grace to claim—

I’ll wash my garments white

In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.

Jesus paid it all,

All to Him I owe;

Sin had left a crimson stain,

He washed it white as snow.

[Baptist Hymnal, 2008 #249]

Not All the Blood of Beasts (Isaac Watts, 1709)

1. Not all the blood of beasts

On Jewish altars slain,

Could give the guilty conscience peace,

Or wash away the stain:

2. But Christ, the heavenly Lamb

Takes all our sins away,

A sacrifice of nobler name

And richer blood than they.

[Trinity Hymnal—Baptist edition, 1995 #176]

Jesus My Great High Priest (Isaac Watts, 1709)

1. Jesus, my great High Priest,

Offered His blood and died;

My guilty conscience seeks

No sacrifice beside.

His powerful blood did once atone,

And now it pleads before the Throne.

[Trinity Hymnal—Baptist edition, 1995 #222]

Man of Sorrows! What a Name (Philip P. Bliss, 1838–1876)

2. Bearing shame and scoffing rude,

In my place condemned He stood,

Sealed my pardon with His blood:

Halellujah! What a Savior!

3. Guilty, vile and helpless we;

Spotless Lamb of God was He;

Full atonement! Can it be?

Halellujah! What a Savior!

[Trinity Hymnal—Baptist edition, 1995 #175]

Not What My Hands Have Done (Horatius Bonar, 1861, alt.)

2. Thy work alone, O Christ,

Can ease this weight of sin;

Thy blood alone, O Lamb of God,

Can give me peace within.

Thy love to me, O God,

Not mine, O Lord, to Thee,

Can rid me of this dark unrest,

And set my spirit free.

[Trinity Hymnal—Baptist edition, 1995 #403]

O Thou the Eternal Son of God (William Dix, 1864)

1. O Thou th’Eternal Son of God,

The Lamb for sinners slain,

We worship while Thy head is bowed

In agony and pain.

2. None tread with Thee the holy place;

Thou sufferest alone;

Thine is the perfect sacrifice

Which only can atone.

[Trinity Hymnal—Baptist edition, 1995 #191]

A Debtor to Mercy Alone (Augustus Toplady, 1740–1778)

1. A debtor to mercy alone,

Of covenant mercy I sing;

Nor fear, with thy righteousness on,

My person and offerings to bring.

The terrors of law and of God

With me can have nothing to do;

My Savior’s obedience and blood

Hide all my transgressions from view.

[Trinity Hymnal—Baptist edition, 1995 #99]

Thy Works, Not Mine, O Christ (Horatius Bonar, 1857)

1. Thy works, not mine, O Christ,

Speak gladness to this heart;

They tell me all is done;

They bid my fears depart.

To whom save Thee,

Who canst alone for sin atone,

Lord shall I flee?

[Trinity Hymnal—Baptist edition, 1995 #441]

Rock of Ages Cleft for Me (Augustus Toplady, 1776)

2. Not the labors of my hands,

Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;

Could my zeal no respite know,

Could my tears forever flow,

All for sin could not atone;

Thou must save, and Thou alone.

[Trinity Hymnal—Baptist edition, 1995 #421]

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