DiM | “How Can It Be” by Lauren Daigle

Presentation1Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship.

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

There has been a lot of movement in the Top 20 Charts. Today we will be taking a look at the #7 song “How Can It Be” by Lauren Daigle. Overall I think the song is okay for Christians with solid Biblical foundation but it is sufficiently vague in all the right places to be dangerous for one whose doctrine is incomplete or shaky.

VEVO Lyric Music Video

Lyrics (via KLove Website)

How Can It Be

Lauren Daigle from the album How Can It Be (Single)

I am guilty
Ashamed of what I’ve done, what I’ve become
These hands are dirty
I dare not lift them up to the Holy one

Chorus
You plead my cause
You right my wrongs
You break my chains
You overcome
You gave Your life
To give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be
How can it be

I’ve been hiding
Afraid I’ve let you down, inside I doubt
That You could love me
But in Your eyes there’s only grace now

Chorus
You plead my cause
You right my wrongs
You break my chains
You overcome
You gave Your life
To give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be
How can it be

Bridge
Though I fall, You can make me new
From this death I will rise with You
Oh the grace reaching out for me
How can it be
How can it be

Chorus
You plead my cause
You right my wrongs
You break my chains
You overcome
You gave Your life
To give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be
How can it be

Publishing: © 2014 Sony ATV Timber Publishing (SESAC) / Sony ATV Timber Publishing & Open Hands Music (SESAC) / Ponies Riding Shotgun (ASCAP
Writer(s): Words and Music by Paul Mabury, Jason Ingram and Jeff Johnson

Positive Elements

Okay, so for the Christian with solid Biblical foundation, this song points to a lot of Truth. If your doctrine is flawed, you’ll still find it very comforting but the “why” might be askew (I’ll expand on that later). For now, let us look at all of the great inferences that can be made by those who know what Scriptures say.

I am guilty. Confession. We are guilty. This guilt isn’t limited to what we’ve done, but extends to who we are as descendants of Adam, born into his sin. We are fallen, born dead in sins and trespasses.

Ephesians 2:1-3 (ESV) 1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath,like the rest of mankind.

Romans 3:20-25 (ESV)20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

I dare not lift [these dirty hands] up to the Holy One. This line is more of a lie the enemy tells us, the condemnation he tries to lock us down in. As we saw in Romans 3:20, through the law comes knowledge of sin. There is a portion of scripture that the enemy might use to levy his condemnation on Christians, “I desire that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands”, thus blocking Christians from praying due to their unholy hands. But remember, the enemy is a liar and he twists scripture. Let’s turn to 1 Timothy 2.

1 Timothy 2:1-10 (ESV) | Pray for All People
1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. 8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; 9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire,10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.

Chorus. This is a positive because the song moves from this condemnation from the enemy right into the chorus where the singer is declaring the Truth of the Gospel (if we are assuming the “You” is Jesus Christ). I highlighted the Gospel portion in the passage above. You plead my cause (…there is one mediator between God and men), You gave your life (who gave himself as a ransom for all). The message of the Gospel is that Christ paid the penalty of our sin, and He who had no sin became sin in our place.

2 Corinthians 5:20-21 (ESV) 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

The second verse falls back into sharing some of the shared struggles we have with condemnation again, for the sins we commit. Again, the enemy seeks to break our worship and prayer by keeping us in despair thinking we’ve let God down. God knows our hearts… and His Word makes clear that He loved us even when we were lost sinners. Since our salvation is not a result of our works, it cannot be undone by our lack of perfection… it wasn’t our doing to begin with.

John 3:16-18 (ESV) | For God So Loved the World
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

By Grace we are saved, through faith. Whoever believes in Jesus Christ is not condemned. The bridge reflects back the availability of forgiveness and restoration when we fall. The “How Can it Be” reflects the Mystery of the Gospel.

1 John 1 (ESV) | The Word of Life
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Colossians 1:24-29 (ESV) | Paul’s Ministry to the Church
24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

For the Christian who is firmly planted in the Word of God, this song brings to mind many a great promise of the work of Christ on the cross. However… for the one who lacks knowledge found only in the Scriptures…

Concerns

This song is vague. The Name of Jesus isn’t named. The only non-pronoun reference is “the Holy One”. Now, the line “you gave your life” helps narrow it down to a Christian message, for only Christianity grants the message of God laying down His life to save creation. While we pointed to several Gospel texts and asserted that various lines in the song made inferences to them, the song itself doesn’t explain any of it.

There is no repentance. The only hard claim is the first line I am guilty. Any subsequent reference to sin is emotive (a feeling of dirty, disappointment, shame) or softened (I fall, let you down). The only reference to the Holiness of God is couched in a sense of condemnation. In fact, if you throw out the sound doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement, you lose sight of the fact that Jesus took the full brunt of the Wrath of God as payment for our sin. What remains is a language of sin as though it is a person and our enemy directly, apart from the Holiness of God. You get a Joel Osteen-esque language of sin being a system of “mistakes” or “blemishes” that Christ died to clean up for us. An improper view of sin (Law) undermines the Mystery of the Grace of God in the Gospel.

Conclusion

I wish the song had been written more explicitly, naming the Name of Jesus and calling for repentance. The song is written vaguely enough to suggest that everyone is forgiven already because of Christ, and that our biggest problem is the feeling of guilt/condemnation. It is so close to the Truth… but not quite there. For the Christian, particularly the one with sound doctrine filling in the blanks, this song is great. I believe it only needed some minor additions or adjustments to stand on its own. The problem comes when we encourage Christians (and unbelievers) declaring them forgiven without calling them to repentance. This is a major problem in the visible church and a common issue with these top-20 songs.

To God be the glory, Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

3 thoughts on “DiM | “How Can It Be” by Lauren Daigle

  1. I like your discernment of the lyrics and how you pointed out there was no reference of repentance. I was looking for feedback on this song, because I really liked it, but started wondering more so about the verses of “how can it be”, wondering if it’s Satan’s way of putting the concept of God/Jesus doing all that he did for us (as though “how can that be????”) and don’t like it as it almost sound as though God’s act of taking away the sin of the world and acting as our mediator is questionable or something like that. Idk because it is such a beautiful sounding song with, like you said, some good lyrics. However, for some reason, that started bothering me.

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. At the time, I hadn’t really considered the angle of “how can it be” actually throwing doubt as the Truth of God’s Grace, but you make a solid point. I’m encouraged by your sharing of your concerns for this song, and that those concerns lead you to this blog. I pray that you find encouragement here for this an other top-20 songs. Keep up the good work, and be blessed in Jesus’ Name.

  2. I have been having a difficult time praying & reading the Bible lately. I have been praying about it & I thought I may just be in one of those “wilderness seasons”. Then this song was playing on TV as a video yesterday. The Holy Spirit was using it to let me know the “why” of my prayers. The enemy was using guilt, shame & condemnation every minute of every day. I was going to bed feeling this way & waking up this way. I did not even know how I had been tricked & deceived. I think there are many in the Body of Christ that struggle with this especially if you do not know who you really are “In Christ” after you have come to Him in true repentance. Those of us who may have had a terrible past have to be alert as we have given the enemy many things to condemn us with. We sometimes feel overwhelmed by God’s great, great love for us & wonder “how can He (Jesus) forgive all of those things as reflected in the Lyric’s of “how can this be”. I understand the struggle that this Artist is trying to portray. But, I do have to agree with your points on the theological aspect & the vagueness as to who she is referring to when she mentions “you”. I can see where this song would be popular with the youth.

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