Jesus Paid It All

All the Debt I Owe

Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”  [Jesus asked.] Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” Luke 7:42-43 (NIV)

I first realized I was a sinner deserving death and hell when I was child. I could do nothing to be good enough to pay for my sins—which I thought were few. I had always been a “good little girl.” I went to church regularly, sang in the choir, and submitted to my parents and those in authority. But God showed me one day that law-keepers as well as law-breakers regularly sinned in thought, word, or deed. Even one sin merited death.

My response was to beg God to forgive me. My mind kept repeating the words, “He doesn’t have to. . . He doesn’t have to. . . !” But He did forgive me. God filled me with assurance that He credited Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross as payment for the debt that I couldn’t pay.

Many hymn writers have spoken eloquently about the marvelous truth that Jesus paid our debt. In “Jesus Paid It All” William Bradbury wrote–

Nothing, either great or small, Remains for me to do;
Jesus died, and paid it all,—Yes, all the debt I owe.
Jesus paid it all, All the debt l owe.
Jesus died, and paid it all,—Yes, all the debt I owe.

Elvina M. Hall wrote the hymn lyrics that most of us know as “Jesus Paid It All.” She said that the phrases began to form in her mind as a minister said a lengthy closing prayer. Not having paper handy, she wrote the words on a blank page of a hymnbook. Later her lyrics were added to a tune written by John T. Grape called “All to Christ I Owe” which he patterned after Bradbury’s hymn.

Elvina may have known Bradbury’s hymn, too, because her words are similar to his:

I hear the Savior say, “Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray, Find in Me thine all in all.”
Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.

Do you see that Jesus paid for all your sins, big obvious sins and small hidden ones? Coming to Him in repentance and receiving cleansing is not a one-time experience, but a constant need.


Read Matthew 18:23-35. What hinders us from receiving forgiveness?

Read Romans 4:13-25. How did Abraham receive credit for his sins?

Read Luke 7:36-50. How did the woman receive salvation: forgiveness for all her sins? Which one do you identify with, the woman with big obvious sins or Simon with small hidden sins? Do you continually come to Jesus for repentance and cleansing? How about coming to Him right now?

To see the rest of the Elvina’s words set to Grape’s tune, go to  

Nancy J. Baker


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