“I’ll Live for Him”

"Not…live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them" (2 Cor. 5:15)

     INTRO.: A hymn which stresses the importance of not living for ourselves but for Him who died for us is I’ll Live for Him" (#99 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by Ralph Erskine Hudson (1843-1901). He is perhaps best remembered for composing the tune, with the chorus beginning, "At the cross, at the cross, where I first saw the light," to which we usually sing Isaac Watts’s hymn beginning, "Alas, and did my Savior bleed?" The tune (Dunbar) for "I’ll Live for Him" was composed by Charles R. Dunbar (19th c.). Nothing else is presently known about this composer, except that he also provided the tune for Mary S. B. Dana Schindler’s "There’ll Be No Sorrow There." The hymn "I’ll Live for Him" was first published in the 1882 Salvation Echoes which Hudson edited in Alliance, OH.

     Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the song appeared in the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 edited by E. L. Jorgenson; the 1935 Christian Hymns (No. 1), the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2, and the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 all edited by L. O. Sanderson; the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch; 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; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; in addition to Sacred Selections and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat. I realize that not every hymnbook can contain every hymn that everyone likes, but I miss this song in Hymns for Worship.

     The song expresses the response of one who fully realizes what the death of Jesus means for him.

I. Stanza 1 says that we must be faithful to Jesus
"My life, my love I give to Thee, Thou Lamb of God who died for me;
O may I ever faithful be, My Savior and my God."
 A. We should give Jesus our lives and love by loving Him with all our heart, soul, and mind: Matt. 22:37-38
 B. The reason is that He is the Lamb of God who redeemed us by His blood: 1 Pet. 1:18-19
 C. Therefore, we should be faithful unto Him even until death: Rev. 2:10

II. Stanza 2 says that we must trust in Jesus
"I now believe Thou dost receive, For Thou hast died that I might live;
And how henceforth I’ll trust in Thee, My Savior and my God."
 A. Christ will receive us, but we must believe in Him: Jn. 8:24
 B. One thing that we need to believe is that He died that we might live: 1 Cor. 15:1-3
 C. Therefore, for salvation and for our entire lives we must trust Him: Eph. 1:12-13

III. Stanza 3 says that we must consecrate our lives for Jesus
"O Thou who died on Calvary To save my soul and make me free,
I’ll consecrate my life to Thee, My Savior and my God."
 A. Jesus died on Calvary or Golgotha: Jn. 19:17-18
 B. The purpose for which He did this was to save our souls from sin: Matt. 1:21
 C. Therefore, we should consecrate our lives to Him by being crucified with Him and then living by faith in Him: Gal. 2:20

     CONCL.: The chorus express the desire to live for the one who died for us.
"I’ll live for Him who died for me; How happy then my life shall be!
I’ll live for Him who died for me, My Savior and my God!"
Notice that while the main thrust of the song is to encourage us to live for Jesus, each stanza specifically mentions that Jesus died for us.  Some of our books have only two stanzas, and some denominational books in my collection have no chorus but make the chorus stanza 4. Either way, when I remember all that Jesus did for me by His death on the cross to provide salvation from sin, I’m more and more resolved that "I’ll Live for Him."


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