"SAVED TO THE UTTERMOST"
"He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him" (Heb. 7.25)
INTRO.: A song which emphasizes the fact that Christ is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God by Him is "Saved to the Uttermost." The text was written and the tune was composed both by William James Kirkpatrick (1838-1921). This is a somewhat rare occurrance. Primarily a musician rather than a poet, Kirkpatrick is best known as a composer of tunes for texts written by others, such as Fanny Crosby’s "He Hideth My Soul" and "Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It;" Priscilla Owens’s "Jesus Saves;" Louisa Stead’s "’Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus;" Frank Bottome’s "O Spread the Tidings ‘Round;" Thomas Chisholm’s "O To Be Like Thee;" and others.
The most famous song for which Kirkpatrick, a native of Pennsylvania who first worked in the furniture business but later devoted his full time to musical work and became president of Praise Publishing Company in Philadelphia, provided both words and music is "Lord, I’m Coming Home." The evidence seems to indicate that "Saved to the Uttermost" was copyrighted in 1889, and may have been first published in the 1890 collection, The Finest of the Wheat, edited by George Elderkin and published by R. R. McCabe of Chicago, IL. The copyright was renewed in 1917 by the Hope Publishing Co. In my collection of hymnbooks, this song appeared in seven denominational collections, mostly older ones.
Among songbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the only one where I have ever seen the song is the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2 edited by L. O. Sanderson and published by the Gospel Advocate Co., where it was used in an altered three-stanza version, with the changes presumably made by Sanderson. It was also found in the original (1921) edition of Great Songs of the Church (No. 1) edited by E. L. Jorgenson, but dropped from the 1925 expanded edition, which is the one I have. Forrest M. McCann in Hymns and History says that Kirkpatrick published the song in 1903 with revisions in 1917, but it is in my copy of The Finest of the Wheat copyrighted in 1890. However, it is also true that some songbook publishers would add newer songs to later printings of their books while keeping the same copyright date on the front page.
The song points out several aspects of the salvation that Christ offers.
I. Stanza 1 says that because of this salvation, we belong to the Lord
"Saved to the uttermost: I am the Lord’s;
Jesus my Savior salvation affords,
Gives me His Spirit, a witness within,
Whispering of pardon, and saving from sin."
A. Those who are saved are identified as the Lord’s: 1 Cor. 3.23
B. The reason why we can become the Lord’s is that "Jesus my Savior salvation affords;" Sanderson altered this to read, "Jesus, my Savior, redemption affords." I do not know why such a change would be made, unless it was to simply to mention the redemptive aspect of salvation and harmonize it with the idea of the word "affords." The word "affords" suggests a price to be paid. The saved have been bought with a price, and the price that paid for our redemption and made salvation possible is the blood of Christ: 1 Cor. 6.20, Eph. 1.7
C. The means by which we can know that we are the Lord’s is the revelation of the Holy Spirit. Sanderson changed the last two lines to "He, with my spirit, a witness within, Whispers of pardon, salvation from sin." The reference in the original is apparently to Rom. 8.16-17, where Paul said that the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. To its credit, the song does not pretend to explain how the Spirit does this but merely, like the passage, affirms that it is so. I understand that the means by which the Spirit does His work is through the medium of the written word: Eph. 6.17
II. Stanza 2 says that because of this salvation we have comfort (this stanza was unaltered in Christian Hymns No. 2)
"Saved to the uttermost: Jesus is near;
Keeping me safely, He casteth out fear.
Trusting His promises, now I am blest;
Leaning upon Him, how sweet is my rest."
A. To those who are saved, perfect love will cast out fear: 1 Jn. 4.18
B. The reason for this is that they can trust in His promises: 2 Pet. 1.4
C. As a result, they can find rest in Him for their souls: Mt. 11.28-30
III. Stanza 3 says that because of this salvation we can have hope (this stanza was omitted in Christian Hymns No. 2)
"Saved to the uttermost: this I can say,
‘Once all was darkness, but now it is day;
Beautiful visions of glory I see,
Jesus in brightness revealed unto me.’"
A. Those who are saved find that they have been called out of darkness into the marvellous light of God: 1 Pet. 2.9
B. Through the word, they can receive beautiful visions of glory with an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fades not away: 1 Pet. 1.3-5
C. The reason for this is that since Jesus is revealed in His word to them now, they can look forward to that time when He will be revealed in His brightness to them: 1 Jn. 3.1-3
IV. Stanza 4 says that because of this salvation we can be filled with praise
"Saved to the uttermost: cheerfully sing
Loud hallelujahs to Jesus my King;
Ransomed and pardoned, redeemed by His blood,
Cleansed from unrighteousness–glory to God!"
A. Certainly the saved can and should sing loud hallelujahs to Jesus the King. Sanderson changed this to "Cheerfully sing Glory and honor to Jesus, my King;" perhaps he did not want it to sound too much like it might be a "Pentecostal" meeting. However, the "loud hallelujahs" simply refer to the great joy that the ransomed can express in their praise to the Lord: Acts 8.39, Heb. 13.15
B. The reason for this great joy in praising God is that we are ransomed and pardoned and redeemed by His blood. Sanderson changed this to "Ransomed and pardoned, redeemed by the Lord." But it is important to be reminded that it was the blood of Jesus that was shed for the remission of our sins: Matt. 26.28
C. Therefore, because we are "cleansed from unrighteousness" we can give "glory to God." Sanderson changed this to "Cleansed from unrighteousness; led by the word." Again, I have no idea why Sanderson made the changes in stanza 3, unless he simply wanted to get the idea of "led by the word" in, and had to change the previous line to rhyme with "word." But the important thing to remember is that we give glory to God because we have been cleansed or washed from unrighteousness: Acts 22.16, Tit. 3.5
CONCL.: The chorus continues to express great joy for this wonderful salvation:
"Saved, saved, saved to the uttermost;
Saved, saved by power divine;
Saved, saved, saved to the uttermost:
Jesus the Savior is mine!"
While we should certainly avoid the extreme emotionalism that has often characterized "revivalist" type religious experience, there is nothing wrong with having hearts and voiced filled with joy and praise, even in our singing, because we have been "Saved to the Uttermost."