DiM | “Drops In the Ocean” by Hawk Nelson

Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)).

March 24, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Drops in the Ocean” by Hawk Nelson which currently sits at #15 at 20theCountdownMagazine.

We’ll continue using this top 20 song list until I find a better list. Your feedback in this would be greatly appreciated.

Last week’s song was quite good, this week’s song is a disappointment. Seeker-sensitive, God-pleading-with-man drivel. The fleck of truth that might be inferred in this song is better told overtly: In Christ alone, by the atonement of His finished work on the Cross, we are forgiven and made righteous in God’s sight by grace, through faith. We are to repent and put our faith in Him and in Him alone. Try as we might to redeem vague songs with proper reading of scripture, this song has one glaring issue that cannot be glossed over and ignored.

VEVO Lyric Video

Lyrics (via KLOVE)

Drops In The Ocean by Hawk Nelson

I want you as you are, not as you ought to be
Won’t you lay down your guard and come to me
The shame that grips you now is crippling
It breaks my heart to see you suffering

Cause I am for you
I’m not against you

If you want to know
How far my love can go
Just how deep, just how wide
If you want to see
How much you mean to me
Look at my hands, look at my side
If you could count the times I say you are forgiven
It’s more than the drops in the ocean

Don’t think you need to settle for a substitute
When I’m the only love that changes you

Open your heart
It’s time that we start again

Publishing: Atlantis Underwater Music / Fairtrade Tunes (SESAC) (admin. by Music Services, Inc.); Sony/ATV Timber Publishing / Open Hands Music (SESAC); Forest For The Trees Music (SESAC)
Writer(s): Jon Steingard; Jason Ingram; Matt Bronleewe


The song starts out vague on who is speaking and to whom. By the end of the first verse, there are only 2 options, either this is a song from one believer to his/her neighbor, or it is God singing to a sinner. The one being addressed is gripped by shame. Once you get through the chorus, it is clear that the speaker in this song is Jesus (Look at my hands, look at my side). Now we have a problem. But before we get to the problem, let us acknowledge what might have been intended by the song.

The song seems to want to skip ahead to Romans 8:31-39 without dealing with the first part of Romans. Typical of modern-day easy believism, we want to jump to the “God is love” and “He forgave you” without dealing with our being dead in sin and desperately in need of a savior.

Romans 8:31-39 (ESV) | God’s Everlasting Love

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This is a wonderful promise of God’s everlasting love for those who are in Christ. But we aren’t born that way. None of us are born in Christ. We are all born dead in sins and trespasses. This is normally when I would jump to Ephesians 2, and would be justified in doing so given that the Apostle Paul wrote both letters. But let’s look at what Paul wrote at the start of this same letter to the Romans and then we’ll address the problem of this song.

Romans 1 (ESV)

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,

To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Longing to Go to Rome

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

The Righteous Shall Live by Faith

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

You cannot simply skip over our sin, our rebellion against God, or the Might of His Wrath against ungodliness and unrighteousness and fast-forward to God’s Love and Grace. So many well-intentioned (yet woefully misguided) individuals think that buy skipping over God’s wrath they are highlighting His Mercy and Love. Sadly, what they are doing is devaluing the Grace and Mercy of God. The purpose of the Law is to convict the sinner of his/her need for a Savior, Jesus Christ.

  “It is because God’s wrath is real that His mercy is relevant.” – Alistair Begg

This song is a prime example of this. Not only have the writers skipped all of the Law in Paul’s letter to the Romans, they have written a song that presents Jesus Christ as one who must plead with and negotiate or convince the sinner that he has already been forgiven. That is clearly not the picture Paul painted of the Lord God, Our Creator, in Romans 1. Was Jesus pleading with or wooing folks to accept His forgiveness when He walked the earth? We see in Matthew 4, at the start of His earthly ministry (after His time in the wilderness), Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Why is it that our music today completely avoids the call to repent? Was Jesus begging folks to follow Him? To accept Him?

Luke 9:18-27 (ESV) | Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ

18 Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 19 And they answered,“John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” 20 Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”

Jesus Foretells His Death

21 And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying,“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus

23 And he said to all, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”

Luke 14:25-27 (ESV) | The Cost of Discipleship

25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

This is the glaring problem of today’s song… and it is inescapable. God the Holy Spirit works on the hearts of men by the hearing of the Word of God so that in so hearing they might be granted faith, for God’s Glory. The Holy Spirit testifies of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is One with the Father and is the Only Way to the Father. Jesus isn’t begging the sinner to “give Him a chance to forgive them”. This anthem is narcissistic and it presents a false picture of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ as one who is pleading with us to accept His forgiveness. Those who reject Jesus, reject God to their own demise and remain condemned in their sin and death. Read Romans 1, again, and understand our rightful place in His plan of Salvation. We need Him, not the other way around.

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.

Amen. I pray this song’s presence in the top20 is short-lived. Regardless, we have addressed the error and in so doing have clearly shared both Law and Gospel. God’s Love, Mercy, and Grace are in equal measure with His Holiness and Justice.

Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.
– A.W. Tozer

In Christ Jesus,

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