Jesus Paid It All
It is amazing how important little words can be. Whole existences can depend on something as small as an “if.” And those of us who have been around for a while will surely remember what hinged on the definition of “is.” Personally, I find myself drawn to the little words “set” and “put,” as in God has “set” His affections on us, or “set” your mind on Christ. Then there is that blessed word “in”, for our only hope is to be found “in” Christ.
A number of years ago I was mentoring a woman who said God had laid the word “all” on her heart, and she was being filled up with joy as the “alls” of Scripture were popping out at her. All is, indeed, a powerful and encompassing word, and it shows itself mightily in this week’s anthem.
The song opens with our general state of being. We are weaker than we realize. But the Lord reaches out to us, just as He did to the disciples in the Garden and warns us to watch and pray, for our spirit is willing, but our flesh is weak. He knows that is the only way we will find strength in our times of need. It is in watching and praying before the crisis hits that we will find Him as our all in all. If only the disciples had heeded His command, perhaps they would have faced the mob with courage, instead of fleeing into the night.
But can we say the same? When have there been times in our own lives when we have failed to watch and pray, and therefore failed to find in Him our all in all? When have we come to the end of our resources only to we have no more courage, no more wisdom, nor more strength, no more answers, no more patience…? At those times did we go away empty, or alone, or terrified, or did we find in Him our all in all?
In the second stanza the word “all” is missing, but the intent of the word is there, because the writer acknowledges that God alone has the power to change lives and hearts. This is the same as saying He has “all the power.” Haven’t we been there? Haven’t we had a besetting sin or habit or fear that we have striven so hard to conquer on our own, but didn’t get the victory until we fell dependent on the power of God to change us? Or haven’t we been frustrated as we prayed for someone whose outlook or attitude or hardness of heart seemed immovable? Our perseverance could not rule the day or change the mind, and our only recourse was to cry out to the only One who can work in the heart to change the heart of stone?
Again, in the third verse we see the “all” only by contrast, because we are reminded that we come to the through with nothing—Nothing by which we could claim any merit with God. Scripture tells us that our righteousness is filthy rags in His sight. Sometimes, when we have lived the faith walk for a while, we can begin to forget that we owe Him all. We begin to think too highly of ourselves. We look down our noses at others, and begin to think we are just a cut above the average believer. We’d never say we merit God’s favor, but everything in our attitude tends to telegraph our pride. We must constantly remind ourselves that we have no claim or merit when it comes to God’s grace. It is ALL on Him —all the rich whiteness of our robes is because of the blood of Calvary’s Lamb.
The refrain has been pounding all this home, reminding us that Jesus paid it all. It has never been a little of us and a lot of Him, or vice versa. His righteousness doesn’t just give us a boost to make up for what we lack. He paid it ALL. “Nothing in my hand I bring. Only to Thy cross I cling.”
And we do owe Him all. We owe Him all our eternal gratitude, we owe Him all our worship and praise. We owe Him all our love. This is often where we fall short. We can’t just acknowledge that He paid it all, then go on our merry way, living our lives our way. If we truly understand the totally of His all, if we have truly accessed the fullness of His all for us, then we will give our all for Him. Nothing less will do.
“Sin had left the crimson stain; He washed it white as snow.” All the sin is gone. If Jesus hadn’t paid it all, if all the sin wasn’t gone, we’d be doomed. Even the slightest of tinge would leave us bound for judgment and wrath. How glad we should be that He paid it all! Let us worship Him for that from the bottom of our hearts!
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries