Nothing But the Blood – Carolyn Wood’s Devotional – August 21, 2021

. . . almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. Hebrews 9:22

As we thumb through our Bibles, we run across beloved and deeply underlined verses like these:

And when I see the blood, I will pass over you. . . It is the blood that makes atonement for the soul. . . For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. . . The church of God which He purchased with His own blood. . . Christ Jesus whom God set forth as propitiation by His blood. . . In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. . . With His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption . . . The precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb. . . The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. Exodus 12:13, Leviticus 17:11, Matthew 26:28, Romans 3:24-25, Ephesians 1:7, Hebrews 9:12, I Peter 1:18. I John 1:7.

We shouldn’t be surprised, then, as we study the great hymnists of history, to find their souls thrilled and their songs filled with this theme.

In 1739, Count Zinzendorf wrote his great, “Jesus, thy Blood and Righteousness.” That same year, Charles Wesley penned, “His blood can make the foulest clean, / His blood availed for me.”

The melancholy William Cowper wrote, “There is a fountain filled with blood / drawn from Emmanuel’s veins / And sinners plunged beneath that flood / Lose all their guilty stains.”

Perhaps the most popular hymn about blood is this one, written by two men who came to Christ as teenagers, Robert Lowry, author of the words, came to Christ at age seventeen. William Doane, confessed Christ as His Savior while in high school. Together they wrote hymns and published gospel songbooks.

When “Nothing but the Blood” was published in 1876, the attached Scripture was from Hebrews 9:22: “Without shedding of blood there is no remission.” Most of our hymnals omit Lowry’s original final two stanzas:

Now by this I’ll overcome—Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
Now by this I’ll reach my home—Nothing but the blood of Jesus,

Glory! Glory! This I sing—Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
All my praise for this I bring—Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Even though this hymn has obscure beginnings, we do know that it was written by Robert. He was a well-known hymn writer as well as a Baptist minister and professor at Lewisburg (Bucknell) University. He wanted to be known more as a preacher than as a hymn writer. It is said that he would have rather preached a sermon to an appreciative audience than to write a hymn. Yet, more than 100 years after his death, what Lowry is best remembered for is his many popular and well-loved hymns. Nothing But the Blood of Jesus is among these.

Nothing But the Blood of Jesus was first introduced at a camp meeting in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. Ocean Grove was established in 1869 as a place of spiritual retreat and revival as well as a place to escape the summer heat of northeastern cities. Over the years, many famous hymn writers came to Ocean Grove, including Fanny Crosby, William Kirkpatrick, and Eiiza Hewitt, as well as Robert Lowery, of course. Ocean Grove still hosts many famous preachers and speakers as well as musical artists.

As music is such an integral part of my own personal faith, I find myself recalling those retreats which I attended through the years. The locations were very different as I moved from Long Island, to the Blueridge Mountain Retreat Center in North Carolina, to Breckenridge, Colorado to Zion National Park near Las Vegas. There were many opportunities to pull away from the world and make time to study and allow God to rekindle afresh my love for him. Although the geography might have been varied and the company refreshingly different, I always found one thing constant — God! I look forward to the days when we can share these times together once again.

Carrie Underwood

Grace, Peace and Joy to you today and always! Carolyn Wood