“Nothing but the Blood of Jesus”

"We have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins" (Col. 1.14)

     INTRO.: A song which emphasizes the fact that we have redemption only through the blood of Christ is "Nothing But The Blood" (#269 in Hymns for Worship Revised and #197 in Sacred Selections for the Church).  The text was written and the tune (Plainfield) was composed both by Robert Lowry (1826-1899). A native of Philadelphia, PA, he was educated at Bucknell University and became a Baptist preacher, serving churches in West Chester, PA, and New York City, NY, before coming to the Hanson Place Baptist Church in Brookly, NY. While there, he became especially interested in church music and in 1868, after the William B. Bradbury Co. was reorganized as the Biglow and Main Co., he became editor of their Sunday school songbooks after Bradbury died. Lowry produced many gospel songs for these books, sometimes providing both words and music as in "Christ Arose" and "Shall We Gather At The River," as well as this one which was first published in the 1876 Gospel Music which he co-edited with William Howard Doane (1832-1915).  Also Lowry gave musical settings to the hymns of others, such as Fanny Crosby’s "All The Way My Savior Leads Me," Annie Sherwood Hawks’s "I Need Thee Every Hour," Sylvanus D. Phillips’s "Savior, Thy Dying Love," and Isaac Watts’s "Come, We That Love The Lord," adding a refrain to make it the familiar "Marching To Zion."

     Moving from Brooklyn, Lowry went to Lewisburg, PA, where he preached, taught at Bucknell and received his doctorate degree, then relocated in Plainfield, NJ, where he worked with the Park Ave. Baptist Church and spent the rest of his life. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, "Nothing But the Blood" appeared in the 1921 Great Songs of the Church (No. 1, text only) and the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 (with the tune accompanying it) both edited by E. L. Jorgenson; the 1935 Christian Hymns (No. 1), the the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2, and the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 all edited by L. O. Sanderson; and the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater. Today it may be found in the 1971 Songs of the Church, the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed., and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise all edited by Alton H. Howard; the 1978/1983 Church Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; the 1986 Great Songs Revised edited by Forrest M. McCann; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; in addition to Hymns for Worship, Sacred Selections, and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat. Nearly all of our books use only three stanzas. Sacred Selections and Hymns for Worship both have four, but Lowry actually wrote six!

     The song reminds us how important the blood of Jesus Christ is to us.

I. Stanza 1 talks about its power to take away sin
"What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus."
 A. Every responsible human being has to deal with the problem of sin: Ro. 3.23
 B. This sin needs to be washed away: Acts 22.16
 C. Only the blood of Jesus can make us whole again: Mk. 2.17

II. Stanza 2 talks about its power to provide pardon
"For my pardon, this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus."
 A. When we sin, we need pardon: Exo. 34.9
 B. Not only do we need pardon, we need to see what can bring that pardon: Heb. 2.9
 C. And what we see is that only the blood of Jesus can cleanse us from sin: 1 Jn. 1.7

III. Stanza 3 talks about its power to atone
"Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus."
 A. The blood of goats and calves cannot take away sin: Heb. 10.4
 B. Naught of good that we might do can atone for our sins: Tit. 3.5
 C. Yet, to take away sin, something is needed to atone for it, and it is the death of Christ by which He shed His blood for us: Rom. 5.8-11

IV. Stanza 4 talks about its power to bring righteousness
"This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus."
 A. Because of what Jesus did for us we can have hope: Col. 1.27
 B. Because of what Jesus did for us we can have peace: Eph. 2.14-17
 C. And because of what Jesus did for us we can have righteousness: Phil. 3.9

V. Stanza 5 talks about its power to help us overcome
"Now by this I’ll overcome–
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
Now by this I’ll reach my home–
Nothing but the blood of Jesus."
 A. God wants us to overcome: 1 Jn. 5.4
 B. God wants us to reach our home: Col. 1.5
 C. And to make this possible, Jesus shed His blood for our redemption: Matt. 26.28

VI. Stanza 6 talks about its power to produce joy in our lives
"Glory! Glory! This I sing–
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
All my praise for this I bring–
Nothing but the blood of Jesus."
 A. We should give glory to the Lord: Rev. 1.6
 B. We should sing to Him with thanks in our hearts: Eph. 5.19, Col. 3.16
 C. And we should praise Him because He has washed ou robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb: Rev. 7.9-14

      CONCL.: "Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin" (Heb. 9.22). The chorus chorus helps us to understand the
importance of Christ’s blood to our salvation.
"Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus."
This can serve as a good invitation song, to encourage those who need to respond to the gospel call to come for cleansing in the blood of Christ upon their compliance with His terms of pardon revealed in the scripture.  It can also serve as a hymn of praise to the Lord on the part of Christians for the blessings that we have as a result of the blood of Jesus. But whenever we sing the song, we need to remember that insofar as atonement for our sins is concerned, our salvation is grounded upon "Nothing But the Blood of Jesus."


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