“One Day” is a song that examines the gospel in a memorable and thorough way, and it reflects the life and ambition of its author, evangelist J. Wilbur Chapman. In a time of theological liberalism, Chapman defended the inerrancy of Scripture and sought better and more effective means of evangelizing urban centers. These efforts began in Pittsburgh and Syracuse and eventually spread globally. He preached alongside greats like D. L. Moody and Billy Sunday. The Gospel-centeredness of his life is reflected well in his song “One Day.”
So much of this text falls under this category. This song from start to finish clearly lays out the progression of the Gospel. In verse one we see Jesus in heaven faced with the task to come to earth and deal with the darkness of sin. Verse two speaks of Calvary and Jesus’ great suffering there. Verse three tells of the despair the disciples must have felt as they buried him. Verse four resounds with the resurrection and ascension. The song concludes with a looking forward to Christ’s return. The chorus also restates the simple points of the death, burial, resurrection, and return.
Names of God
There are many names of God mentioned here, reenforcing this song’s Gospel message. We sing Jesus, Redeemer, Savior, and Lord. This song does a good job of showing the many different facets of Jesus’ work in heaven and on earth.
This song both begins and ends directing the singers’ attention to heaven, and during the refrain Chapman reminds the singers that Jesus is returning. Though this song abounds with the blessings that result from the cross, it also is quick to glorify God and praise Him for His nature.
Theological vs. Doxological
Much of this song is theological, telling the singers what God has accomplished and how Jesus has paid for their sin, but there are many opportunities to praise God for this as well. Because of this give and take, this song is both theological and doxological.
Why Did it Get Its Score?
“One Day” received a 98% from the “Is it Helpful? Chart.” It scored so well because of its close tie to the Gospel and Scripture. This song is singable, although the tune that is most often paired with it is showing its age. (I personally enjoy this music, but I’ve heard some refer to it as “rollerskating music” because of its 9/4 lilt.) Michael Bleeker has recently set it to new music which is equally singable; this was recorded notably by the band Casting Crowns as “Living He Loved Me.”
Utilizing it in a Service
This song reads almost like a creed. It lists major important doctrines about Christ and salvation, but as it does it narrates the Gospel. There is so much in this song that the congregation can continue to feed off of, so it makes a great opening song. But, it really could be used anywhere throughout the service.