I was so upset, I was ready to take on a hymn writer. . .from 1895.
I was singing an old hymn one day, one I had learned in my childhood at my little country church. I had long since memorized the words, and hadn’t really thought much about them until this one time when something seemed really out of place. “Years I spent in vanity and pride, caring not my Lord was crucified, knowing not it was for me he died on Calvary.” Okay, so that part wasn’t untrue. But then I got to the chorus. “Mercy there was great, and grace was free,” and that’s where I stopped.
Grace was free? Free to whom? I wondered to myself. I was thinking of the price Jesus had paid, and I almost wanted to argue with the hymn writer. Grace was not free. It wasn’t free at all! But then, the rest of the chorus began to echo.
“Mercy there was great, and grace was free; pardon there was multiplied to me; there my burdened soul found liberty, at Calvary.” I don’t know if the writer did it on purpose, but the chorus of that song portrays a beautiful progression.
Mercy. The merciful spirit of Jesus that longed to see no one pay sin’s price. The great mercy that led Him to the very cross of Calvary in the first place.
Grace. The grace that He knew He would be purchasing with His own life once Calvary’s purpose was fulfilled.
Pardon. The terrible, beautiful purpose of Calvary. Sin’s price paid. Period.
Liberty. For a burdened soul. For my burdened soul. Freedom for the captives.
It turns out I would have lost the fight with Mr. William R. Newell, the man who penned the words to At Calvary back in 1895. He knew what he was talking about when he wrote the words I temporarily questioned.
Everything Jesus did was so His mercy and grace and pardon could all be free. To me. And liberty would be mine for the rest of my days.
“Now I’ve given to Jesus everything, now I gladly own Him as my King; now my raptured soul can only sing of Calvary.”
©2014 Wendi Miller
Information taken from: http://www.hymnary.org/text/years_i_spent_in_vanity_and_pride
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