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Lyrics (click here to hear instrumental)

Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died on Calvary.

Mercy there was great and grace was free,
Pardon there was multiplied to me,
There my burdened soul found liberty–
At Calvary.

By God’s Word at last my sin I learned–
Then I trembled at the Law I’d spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned to Calvary. [Refrain]

Now I’ve giv’n to Jesus ev’rything,
Now I gladly own Him as my King,
Now my raptured soul can only sing of Calvary. [Refrain]

O the love that drew salvation’s plan!
O the grace that brought it down to man!
O the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary. [Refrain]

William Reed Newell (1868-1956)

The History Behind the Hymn

William R. Newell was born on May 22, 1868 in Sa­van­nah, Ohio.  All who knew him considered him a “humble man”, however that was not how his life began.

Dr. Torrey, President of Moody Bible Institute told the following story. “When I was president of the Moody Bible Institute, I received a letter from a very concerned pastor who told me of a son who was causing himself and his family a great deal of trouble. His life was really mixed up. And the father felt that attendance at Moody would help. I advised the father that even though I sympathized with him, for I was a father; yet, because I was running a Bible school and not a reform school, I had to deny his request. After many letters of pleading his cause, I finally gave in with the stipulation that the rebellious teen must see me each day and make every effort to abide by the rules and requirements of the Institute.”

“Torrey went on to say that the boy faithfully visited his office each day; and with wisdom from God’s word, he answered the questions that had been keeping the boy from God. Finally, after many months of counseling, the prayers of the boy’s father were answered.”

Years I spent in vanity and strife, caring not my Lord was crucified…There my burdened soul found liberty At Calvary

That young man was William R. Newell.  Newell eventually became a minister and later returned to Moody Bible Institute as a teacher.

One day in 1895, Newell was sitting in his classroom during a planning period. He began to pen a word picture in the form of a poem describing his testimony.  His original words were penned on the back of a used envelope.

After writing the poem, Newell paid a visit to the Music Director at Moody.  That man was Daniel Towner.  “Towner went to a vacant piano room, sat down, and started writing a tune for his friend’s lyrics. An hour later, the music was finished, and the two friends were sitting down by a piano, singing the new creation together.”

Newell died on April 1, 1956, in Florida.

Today, Newell’s testimony is a reminder of all that Christ did for all of us At Calvary.

A Lesson for Me

Col 2:14  Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

A lot happened at the cross of Calvary. I think that one of the very first things that happened was that Jesus paid the price that the Law (the Ten Commandments) could not pay. We all know that even on our best day, we break one of those commandments. It’s impossible to live a sinless life and that is why Jesus came!

By God’s Word at last my sin I learned–
Then I trembled at the Law I’d spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned to Calvary.

Message for today

The Old Testament is our teacher. It tells us all about Jesus, why He had to come to die for our sins, and that He is coming again. It is our “schoolmaster” as the verses below tell us.

Gal 3:24-26  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  (25)  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.  (26)  For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

It is by faith that we are saved. The Ten Commandments were given to the Jews as laws to live by. These laws were to open their eyes to realize that they could not keep the entire law without breaking at least one. If one could keep the Ten Commandments without breaking one each and every day of their life, they would be sinless. But Romans 3:23 tells us that there isn’t one person that is sinless. That is why Christ had to come. The Law was to teach them that they could not work for their salvation but that they needed a Savior.

Eph 2:8-9  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  (9)  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Jas 2:23  And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

Abraham came before the Law was given to Moses, yet we see in James 2:23 that Abraham believed God – he had faith in his God – and he is known in the bible as the Friend of God! Therefore, the Law points us to recognize our sin and the need for a Savior, and faith leads us to salvation.

O the love that drew salvation’s plan!
O the grace that brought it down to man!
O the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary.

Friend, are you in the same boat as William Newell was in? Are you searching to fill a hole in your empty heart? It is not until you reach the cross of Calvary and realize that you are in need of what Jesus did there. It is there that forgiveness for your sins can be found.

If you are not truly born-again, there is coming a time when it will be too late for you to repent and be saved. It is no coincidence that God has placed you here for such a time as this so that you may be saved if you are not already. Please click here and the link will open up in a separate tab You Can Be Born Again and Know It!