Calvary is one of my favourite songs from No Other Name, the latest worship album from Hillsong. It joins This I Believe as a song I have taken to using in personal quite times in the last month. Indeed, it is approximately a month since my posting on This I Believe (The Apostle’s Creed).

Worship Together have not just added the song lyrics and chords to their website, but have also published a short video clip on the song detail page where song writer Reuben Morgan talks about the song background.

First launched in time for Easter 2014, the song was inspired by the hymn Calvary Covers It All. The song follows the same trend of modernising traditional hymns, just as Chris Tomlin did with Amazing Grace and Crown Him. Now, I must admit that I have not heard the original hymn so I cannot draw any meaningful comparisons here.

Verse 1

The Saviour alone, carried the cross
For all of my debts, He paid the cost
Salvation complete, Forever I’m free
Calvary covers it all

The opening line of the song may confuse some listeners who are scrutinising the lyrics for correct theology, citing the Gospel records which do mention Simon of Cyrene being “enlisted” by the Romans to help bear the cross as Jesus was led to Golgotha. However, in the context of the entire verse, it should become clear that Jesus alone bore all of our sins and debts when He was hung on that cross – this reference to “alone” is generalised to the concept of Jesus’ crucifixion. Only Jesus shed blood could be accepted in payment of our sin to God the Father. In this way, verse 1 is a beautiful description of John 3:16:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

Calvary is in fact the same as Golgotha – the place outside the walls of Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified. Whilst the geographical location of Calvary/Golgotha has been somewhat disputed over the years, the events of Calvary and Jesus’ crucifixion are central to the Christian faith.


Calvary covers it all
My sin and shame, Don’t count anymore
All praise to the One, Who has ransomed my soul
Calvary covers it all

The chorus lyrics are rounded by the song’s theme “Calvary covers it all”. Melodically, the first line remains grounded in the major chord, which leads into the second/third lines which resolves after a slight rise. The second half of the chorus echoes the start “All praise to the One” and again follows the same pattern of resolution, with the middle line creating a mini arc.

The words all declare the reality of God’s work being completed by Jesus on the cross and echo His final statement that “it is finished” – Calvary indeed covers and covered it all. Interestingly, Calvary is only mentioned once in the Bible in Luke 23:33:

And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.

The use of the term is discussed in this article written by David J  Stewart, that covers the basics on the concept of Calvary. It is interesting to see that whilst the term has certainly been out of fashion for a while, harkening back to the days of the King James Bible and the original hymn, Hillsong is once again helping to revive and reawaken modern day worshippers to our heritage and roots.

Verse 2

No power on earth, Not even the grave
Can separate us, From mercy and grace
He is faithful to save, Oh His blood never fails
Calvary covers it all

The second verse is a reference to Romans 8:38-39:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The phrase “faith to save” is also a curious statement, but it ultimately points us to verses like Hebrews 10:23: Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.


No one but Jesus, Can make us pure as snow
We stand in Your freedom
Calvary covers it all

Musically, the bridge is where we break out and the melody shifts up into a high gear and tone before it resolves into the same familiar last line. Calvary covers it all.

The overall tone and pace of Calvary is slow to medium. The lyrics are simple so they are sung with a bit of a pause. For example – the chorus first line goes: Calvary [pause] covers it all. [pause] my sin and shame… This same pattern continues throughout the song and it becomes a key identifying feature of the song. Collectively, it all combines to form this latest worship song. The Worship Together video is one of the few examples of the song where it doesn’t start straight away, and instead provides a short introduction. Reuben also tends to sing this in a high key to suit his voice, but it can be pitched down as needed to ensure a congregation could sing it as one. My personal view is that this song is better utilised as a personal worship song rather than for corporate worship. The few pronouns included throughout the song also suggest it is better suited to personal worship and quiet time reflection.

The bridge and accompanying instrumental are great opportunities for a orchestral or large scale choir production to sing/play and create new arrangements of the song.

I’ll end this article here with a link to one of the Youtube videos for the song.