DiM | “God is on the Move” by 7eventh Time Down

CCM Radio Edition.

disapproveApril 19, 2016. Today we’ll be taking a look at “God is on the Move” by 7evenths Time Down which currently sits at #14 on the 20theCountdownMagazine.

This is an anthemic Evangelical motivational song. It’s intended to stir up the listener emotionally. The song doesn’t really teach anything Biblically sound. It does express a poor understanding of salvation and the Gospel, which we’ll discuss in a bit. I don’t like the song… it is a distraction from the Gospel of Jesus Christ and fixates a bit on man. That seems odd for a song that repeats “God is on the move” so many times… but let’s listen, read the lyrics, and then discuss what I think is the core problem with this song.

Official Lyric Video

 

Lyrics (via K-Love)

Any time a heart turns from darkness to light
Any time temptation comes and someone stands to fight
Any time somebody lives to serve and not be served
I know, I know, I know, I know

God is on the move, on the move
Hallelujah
God is on the move
In many mighty ways

God is on the move, on the move
Hallelujah
God is on the move
On the move today

Any time in weakness someone falls upon their knees
Or dares to speak the truth that sets men free
Any time the choice is made to stand upon the Word
I know, I know, I know, I know

God is on the move, on the move
Hallelujah
God is on the move
In many mighty ways

God is on the move, on the move
Hallelujah
God is on the move
On the move today

I see a generation
Standing on the truth
In each and every nation
God is on the move

Any time the gospel stirs a searching soul
And someone says, “Send me, here I go”
I know, I know, I know, I know

God is on the move, on the move
Hallelujah
God is on the move
In many mighty ways

God is on the move, on the move
Hallelujah
God is on the move
On the move today

I see a generation
Standing on the truth
In each and every nation
God is on the move

Publishing: Love Journey Music, Moms Like Us Too, Aevinesaintmusic, Promotion And Relegation Music, Sony/ATV Cross Keys Publishing, Songs From Exit 71 (SESAC)
Writer(s): Mikey Howard, Cliff Williams, Ian Eskelin, Tony Wood

Discussion

If we’re to put the best construction on the title and chorus of the song, “God is on the move”, we have to frame that phrasing carefully. God isn’t “moving” anywhere. He IS everywhere. So, the only right way to understand this phrase is to think of it as God drawing us to Himself. God has placed each of us where we are, and He has called us, opened our eyes and ears to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and has brought us to Life in Christ Jesus. He has done the Work, we didn’t do anything. Which leads us to a major problem with the theology presented in this song: It is a pep-talk for listeners to “choose to follow God”.

You see, Scripture calls us to trust in, have Faith in God, through the hearing of His Word. But He has to bring us out of darkness, we can’t do it ourselves. There are no seekers out there… there are only those who are dead in unbelief, and then there those who have been brought to Life in Christ Jesus through faith.

Ephesians 2:1-10 (ESV) | By Grace Through Faith

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 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— 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. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

When Paul wrote to the Romans, we find him quoting several Psalms to put together to completely obliterate the notion of “searching souls”, or of any form of works-based righteousness.

Romans 3:9-20 (ESV) | No One Is Righteous

What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

For the greater context of this letter, one really has to read the full letter to the Romans. Paul is making clarifying the proper distinction of Law and Gospel in this letter. Here he is point out that God has made it clear to us in His Law that we are all sinful and unrighteous in ourselves. This is what sin has done to all of mankind. The ONLY remedy is the penal substitutionary death of Jesus Christ on the cross, the Perfect Sacrifice for our sin. By Faith (which only comes through the Word of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ) in Christ Jesus our unrighteousness is exchanged for the righteousness of Christ.

How do go about getting people Saved? We must preach the Word of God (not our ideas, not our gimmicks, not our dreams, not our flair for entertainment… preach the Word).

Romans 10:11-17 (ESV)

For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For“everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

What must they do to be Saved? When Peter was asked this very question after preaching on the Day of Pentecost, his response was simply, “Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins…” (Acts 2:37-41 ESV)

Acts 2:37-41 (ESV)

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

Notice that Peter didn’t compel them to “believe” or “make a decision for Christ” or any such decisional thing? Those whose ears were opened to the Gospel, whose hearts were made alive by the Holy Spirit were granted Saving Faith. Those who were granted saving faith, repented and were baptized for the forgiveness of sin. And that Promise of Salvation, of forgiveness was not only for them, but for their children, and for all who are far off. And none of it was of their own doing in any way. It was, and is, a Gift from God.

A good place to get a condensed summary of the Gospel of Jesus Christ can be found in 1 Corinthians 15:

1 Corinthians 15:1-6 (ESV) | The Resurrection of Christ

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.

This song doesn’t convey this understanding of salvation. The song isn’t concerned with declaring the Salvation that belongs to the LORD, instead this song is attempting to stir up your emotion, your zeal, your determination to “do something”, to “follow God” because “God is on the Move.” It’s calling you to good works, but not in way that flows from the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross.

There is a dark side to the pep-talk, motivational coin. And that is the idea that if you don’t move with God, you’ll miss Him. On this side of the coin, we also see that unless you’re doing something special, or specially motivated by your choice to follow God, then you’re just living a mediocre and ordinary life, and God is less pleased by that. That’s false. It is God who places us in our vocations. God places us in our families, in our homes, in our jobs, in our culture. God saves us, reconciles us to Him, and we are to serve our neighbors. We are to preach the Gospel and server our neighbors in our vocations. Fathers need to be fathers, Mothers need to be mothers, and in everything that we do we are to do in Thanksgiving to our LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ, for His Grace and Mercy toward us.

Hebrews 13:1-17 (ESV) | Sacrifices Pleasing to God

Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said,“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

It is only from within the framework of Salvation by Grace alone, through Faith alone (which comes through Scripture alone), in Christ alone, to the Glory of God alone that we can properly speak of good works pleasing to God. Our reconciliation with God was done by Christ… we do good works for our neighbor’s sake.

Conclusion

The song is an emotional trap. It is a distraction from the Gospel toward the Law… a works-based call to “do something” for the sake of the Gospel. The Gospel itself isn’t conveyed in the song. God is always moving in our lives, drawing us to Himself, crushing us under the Law that we might die to sin, and bringing us back to Life in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the end, we decided this song earned a Disapproval because of its fixation on man rather than on Christ.

Hebrews 13:20-21 (ESV)

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will,working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

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