HALLELUJAH, WHAT A SAVIOR!                                                written in 1875

The Story

Philip Bliss (1838-1876) was one of the more prominent hymnwriters in the “heyday” of gospel hymnwriting. You might recognize some of the other songs he also had a part in; “Almost Persuaded”, “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning”, “Wonderful Words of Life”, and the tune for Horatio Spafford‘s “It Is Well with My Soul”, just to name a few.

Though he grew up working on a farm and in lumber camps, he eventually became a music teacher. He sold his first song at age 26, and later worked for a hymn publisher. Dwight L. Moody encouraged Philip to become a music evangelist, and he did… beginning in 1874.

This hymn was published in 1875. The next year, in 1876, while traveling through Ohio on his way to Moody’s tabernacle in Chicago, he and his family would be involved in a train wreck. When Philip went back into the fiery train to try to rescue his wife, both he and his wife died.

The first 4 verses of this hymn focus on the Cross and the atonement for sin. The last verse has a different mood, as we look ahead to eternity with our glorious King.

The Song

            Read this hymn, and – today – celebrate Jesus Christ as the Savior!

Man of Sorrows!  what a name for the Son of God, who came
ruined sinners to reclaim.  Hallelujah!  What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude, in my place condemned He stood;
sealed my pardon with His blood.  Hallelujah!  What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we; spotless Lamb of God was He;
“Full atonement!” can it be?  Hallelujah!  What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die; “It is finished!” was His cry;
now in Heav’n exalted high.  Hallelujah!  What a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King, all His ransomed home to bring,
then anew His song we’ll sing: Hallelujah!  What a Savior!

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