William Gadsby – Pastor, Preacher and Hymnwriter.

Gadsby's HymnsWilliam Gadsby (1773–1844) was an English Baptist pastor. In addition to pastoring, Gadsby planted churches, and was an early leader of the Strict and Particular Baptist movement in England. Although he was not formally educated, Gadsby was regarded by his contemporaries as an excellent preacher and pastor who championed the cause of social justice and opposed the established Elizabethan Church.

He was born into poverty and only briefly attended Nuneaton church school, starting work as a ribbon weaver at age 13. By age 17 he had forgotten how to read. His conversion to Christianity was also at this age, he stated: “But when the Lord was graciously pleased to quicken my soul, being then just 17 years of age, and showed me something of what sin really was, I really feared it then, and a turn in my mind took place of a very different kind… I was then solemnly and blessedly led to believe in God’s free mercy and pardon.”

In addition to his excellent preaching and pastoring ability, William Gadsby was also a prolific writer of hymns, one that has stood the test of time is “Immortal honours rest on Jesus’ head” Gadsby’s own hymnbook, which is still used in some churches today, can be downloaded from the internet in PDF formate.

Immortal honours rest on Jesus’ head;
My God, my portion, and my living bread;
In Him I live, upon Him cast my care;
He saves from death, destruction, and despair.

He is my refuge in each deep distress;
The Lord my strength and glorious righteousness;
Through floods and flames He leads me safely on,
And daily makes His sovereign goodness known.

My every need He richly will supply;
Nor will His mercy ever let me die;
In Him there dwells a treasure all divine,
And matchless grace has made that treasure mine.

O that my soul could love and praise Him more,
His beauties trace, His majesty adore;
Live near His heart, upon His bosom lean;
Obey His voice, and all His will esteem.

Willam Gadsby (1)

The Sacrifice of Atonement

Sacrifice of Atonement “And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him”. (Leviticus 1:4)

The word Atonement means to wipe clean; to pay a ransom; to cover. Atonement means to reconcile by wiping clean, paying a ransom and covering the differences (sins) that lienate and separate a person from God, arousing His justice. The atonement propitiates or satisfies God’s wrath; it appeases, placates, cancels, annuls God’s anger against sin. Atonement means to ransom or deliver by the means of a substitute. The substitute takes the place of the sinner and bears the punishment due the sinner. Through the atonement, a person is set free from sin and its punishment. A person is ransomed from sin and the punishment of death, ransomed to live eternally with God. In one very simple statement, the atonement means reconciliation: the atonement reconciles a person to God and makes a person acceptable to God.

Two important facts need to be noted about the great subject of atonement.

1.  The atonement secured by animals was only a type, only a symbol and picture of the atoning sacrifice of Christ. Jesus Christ died as the perfect sacrifice to ransom us from sin, death, and hell (separation from God). This fact must always be remembered: justice demands that a person pay for the crime he has committed. A person cannot get off in court just by apologizing and saying “I’ll try my best not to do it again.” This is not enough, not in a true court of justice. This is especially true when dealing with God. God’s justice demands that a person pay for breaking the law of God. But note: God is perfect; therefore, His justice demands that a perfect payment be made for man’s disobedience or crime against God. But in this fact there is a major problem, for no person is perfect. Consequently, no person can make the perfect payment to satisfy God’s justice. What then can man do? This is where Jesus Christ enters the picture. Jesus Christ—His death upon the cross—is the perfect payment, the perfect atonement, that satisfies God’s justice. He offered Himself up as the perfect sacrifice for our crimes or sins against God. He and He alone is the true atoning sacrifice, the true Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

2.  The atoning (reconciling) death of Jesus Christ was made once-for-all; therefore, His sacrifice is the only sufficient sacrifice ever made. The Burnt Offering finds its fulfillment in the death of Jesus Christ. His death makes animal sacrifice obsolete. We no longer have a need to offer Burnt Offerings for the atonement of our sins. We are reconciled to God by the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. His sacrifice was the perfect ransom demanded by God for the cursing of His name, for the rejection and hostility of our behavior toward Him. Jesus Christ bore the judgment of God’s anger and wrath against sins. This He did to atone for our sins so that we might become reconciled and acceptable to Him. As stated, because of Jesus Christ, we no longer have to offer Burnt Offerings to become acceptable to God. We are acceptable when we approach God through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is His sacrifice that atones for our sins, that reconciles us to God—His sacrifice that makes us acceptable to God once-for-all.