There Was One Who was Willing to Die


Words: Carrie E. (Mrs. Frank A.) Breck (1855-1934).
Music: Grant Colfax Tullar (1869-1950)

There was One who was willing to die in my stead,
That a soul so unworthy might live,
And the path to the cross He was willing to tread
All the sins of my life to forgive.

They are nailed to the cross,
They are nailed to the cross,
O, how much He was willing to bear! 
With what anguish and loss Jesus went to the cross!
But He carried my sins with Him there.
He is tender and loving and patient with me,
While He cleanses my heart of its dross;
But “there’s no condemnation,” I know I am free,
For my sins were all borne on the cross.

I will cling to my Saviour and never depart–
I will joyfully journey each day,
With a song on my lips and a song in my heart,
That my sins have been taken away.

“Having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances…nailing it to the cross” (Col. 2.13-14)

This is a hymn that emphasizes the fact that we can have forgiveness of sins because of what Jesus did at the cross. The text was written by Carrie E. (Mrs. Frank A.) Breck (1855-1934). A native of Vermont who spent most of her married life in Portland, OR, she gave lyric expression to her faith as she carried out the routine duties of her day. The tune was composed by Grant Colfax Tullar (1869-1950). A Methodist minister and evangelistic song leader a successful music printing business. Mrs. Breck often sent her poems to Mr. Tullar so that he could provide music for them. Some of their most famous collaborations are the songs, “Shall I Crucify My Savior?” of 1896, and “Face to face with Christ, my Savior” of 1898.

“Nailed to the Cross” was first published by Tullar-Meridith Co. in 1899. The song reminds us of the blessings that we have because of the cross.

Stanza one says that all past sins can be forgiven:  Jesus died in our stead: Matt. 26.28, Rom. 5.8, 1 Cor. 15.3. The purpose for His death was that we might live: Jn. 10.10, Rom. 6.2-3;  And the result of this is that we can have forgiveness: Eph. 1.7, Heb. 10.17-18

Stanza two says that our present state can be that of no condemnation. Jesus is tender, loving, and patient with us: Rom. 8.31-33, Heb. 7.25, 1 Jn. 2.1-2;  Even now, when we sin, He is willing to cleanse our hearts: 1 Jn. 1.7-9;  As a result, we can stand before God with “no condemnation”: Rom. 8.1-2

Stanza three says that our future can be filled with hope:  Of course, this hope is conditioned on the fact that we must cling to the Saviour and never depart: Heb. 3.6, 4.14, 10.23;  But if we do that, we can joyfully journey each day: Phil. 4.4, 1 Pet. 1.8;  And we can have a song on our lips and in our hearts, and can look forward to singing the eternal song of redemption, because of what Jesus did for us at the cross: Rev. 7.9-14

The chorus continues to stress the importance of the fact that Jesus Christ nailed our sins to the cross in the sense that it was there that He shed His precious blood as an atonement for them.

“They are nailed to the cross, they are nailed to the cross, O, how much He was willing to bear!  With what anguish and loss Jesus went to the cross! But He carried my sins with Him there.”

This song has often been used to prepare for the Lord’s supper, and it is certainly an appropriate one to help us show the Lord’s death. And we should ever be thankful that Jesus was willing to bear the anguish and loss of dying for us that all which would cause us to be condemned before God might be “Nailed To The Cross.”

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