Jesus Paid It All

June 20, 2021 Speaker: Ted Detiveaux Series: Hymns of Summer

Topic: Sufficiency of Christ Scripture: 2 Corinthians 12:9– :10

Jesus Paid it All


Author: Elvina Mable Hall

She was born in Virginia in 1818

Married had five children but two of them died as infants

Widowed in 1859 (age 41)

Wrote the hymn “Jesus Paid it All” 1865

Remarried 1885 (twenty-six years after her husband’s death at the age of sixty-seven years old)

Died 1889 (early seventies)


Some of the events that took place in her birth state Virginia during her lifetime


  • 1859 – (Abolitionist movement 1830-1870)
  • 1861 - Virginia secedes from the Union and joins the Confederate States and the Civil War begins.
  • 1865 - Robert E. Lee surrenders to the Union Army at Appomattox signaling the end of the Civil
  • 1870 - Virginia is readmitted to the Union.


In Baltimore (where Elvina wrote the hymn)

  • 1862 Confederate forces defeated at Antietam. Remembered as the “Single Bloodiest Day of the Civil War,” the Battle of Antietam (antee·tm) takes place in Sharpsburg, with casualties numbering more than 23,000
  • 1864– Maryland abolishes slavery


In the spring of 1865, Hall wrote "Jesus Paid It All" "on the fly-leaf of the New Lute of Zion hymnal, in the choir of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Baltimore." Hall then shared the lyrics with her pastor who connected her with the church organist, John Grape and together they wrote the song which we know today.


So, with the landscape of civil war and the abolition of slavery this hymn is written.  Slaves were eventually set free, but this freedom came with a high price.  Many people died for the cause.  In the same way we can consider that we were once slaves to sin, and Jesus has paid it all so that we can experience true freedom.  How suiting it is to write a song in which states that “Jesus paid it all.”  There was a price to be paid for our freedom and Jesus has paid it with His life. 

I hear the Savior say,
"Thy strength indeed is small,
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all."

While it sounds like a smooth soft, loving verse, the lyrics are hard core as they get up in our face and confront the frailty of our human condition.  The hymn is basically saying that you and I are weak individuals.  Your strength is small, happy Father’s Day.  No man likes to have their strength called small. If that wasn’t confrontational enough, she then goes on to call you a child of weakness.  Your strength is not only small, but you’re weak like a child. That’s fighting words right there!

But is it Elvina’s words alone that point to our weakness or is it also in the bible?  Is there truth to what she is saying?

2 Corinthians 12:9-10


But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.


Human weakness is found throughout the bible. Here Christ acknowledges human weakness while giving a promise that His grace will be sufficient for us in our moments of weakness. 


Every man and woman of God has had moments of weakness.  Because here is the thing.  You are no match against the powers of darkness on your own strength.   You think you can handle it, or that you can control it, you think that you can overcome it by your own power, but you cannot.  There is no answer within yourself.


There is only one, and He is the one who took your place. His blood is sufficient for your salvation and His blood is sufficient to sustain you.


Give it to Jesus for His power is made perfect in your weakness.   “Find in Me thine all in all."

Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Isaiah 40:29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.

So, we find this amazing contrast throughout the Bible.  Anytime we see human weakness, we also see God’s delivering power. (Ex.  Israelites in Egypt, David and Goliath, Samson and Delilah, Elijah, Jonah, Paul)

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy pow'r and Thine alone,
Can change the leper's spots
And melt the heart of stone.

The hymn moves our attention from our weakness to the spiritual condition of our heart.  Leper spots (leprosy) are mentioned.  Because when a person was diagnosed with leprosy they were to remain outside the camp among other lepers, and they were to say “unclean” when people approached them. 

Some experts say that leprosy was not contagious and that a leper’s uncleanness had more to do with their transgressions against God rather than hygienic purposes.  It was believed that leprosy was a disease that was inflicted by God upon those who committed evil  in thought and deeds. Every leper mentioned in the Old Testament was afflicted because of some transgression.  Ex Miriam, Joab, King Uzziah

So, their uncleanness was a moral issue.  The remaining camp were to stay away from such people lest they become morally unclean as well.  Likewise, we are morally unclean because we have been born with a sinful nature.  You could say that we have heart issues. 

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

The hymn would say that our heart is like stone but needs to be melted.  This comes from

Ezekiel 11:19

19 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,


A heart of stone is a heart that is dead, dry, hardened, heavy, incapable of bearing good fruit, because the good seed is lost upon it, as it was on the stony ground.  But in return He promises to give a heart of flesh, which is a heart that is alive, tender towards the things of God, able to receive His word which will produce fruit.


The way that a stone melts is through intense heat (1,100 and 2,400 Fahrenheit)

The way that our stony, hardened hearts will melt is through the intense heat of the Holy Spirit working in our lives.  It is through His power alone that can take a stony, hardened heart and turn it into a heart that is pliable for His good purpose.   


So far, the hymn has dealt with our weakness, and the hardness of our hearts, now we are pointed to the solution in the next two verses:

For nothing good have I
Where-by Thy grace to claim;
I'll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv'ry's Lamb.

A big part in understanding salvation, is to know that you have nothing to offer that will remove the guilt of your sins. You cannot do enough good things to obtain it, nor can you do enough good that will outweigh the bad in your life; You have nothing to offer.  Salvation is God’s work alone.

We come to salvation by the grace of God and through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.  Which is simply believing that He is the Son of God, He died, and He has risen.  We can believe and have faith only if the Spirit of God opens our spiritual eyes to do so. Again, it is His work. 

When Jesus died on the cross, He has paid it all.  His garments were bloodied from His body which was beaten, so that we will receive garments as white as snow. 

And when, before the throne,
I stand in Him complete,
"Jesus died my soul to save,"
My lips shall still repeat.

When we stand before the throne of God, that will be our only claim “Jesus died to save my soul.” The only way that we will escape the wrath of God in that day is if the blood of Jesus covers our life.  God requires a perfect righteousness, one in which we cannot provide ourselves.  But the righteousness of God is imputed to us through the blood of Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:21  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

There is no way that we will stand before the throne of God being complete or made whole other than through the blood of Jesus Christ.  But through Him, we will stand complete lacking nothing. 

Let’s conclude the hymn by looking at the chorus.

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

One theme that illustrated over and over throughout this hymn is the sufficiency of Christ.

  • When we are weak, we can find our strength in Him. He is all sufficient
  • When our hearts are hardened, He has the power to melt our hearts of stone. He is all sufficient
  • When we stand before God, He is our righteousness. He is all sufficient

So on this Father’s Day as we show this video let that be the dominating thought in your mind.  He is a good heavenly Father and His son Jesus is all sufficient for you.



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