October 20, 2016. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Never Been a Moment” by Micah Tyler which currently sits at #20 on 20TheCountdownMagazine.
Today’s song is a subjective reflection on the goodness of God which might be sung honestly by a Christian applying solid theology to the lyrics of this song. It is not an evangelistic song, it doesn’t share the Gospel, and it really doesn’t do much in the way of encouraging other believers, it is purely subjective and introspective. Let’s give it a listen and then look through the lyrics.
Micah Tyler VEVO (Official Lyric Video)
Lyrics (via K-Love)
I’ve been sinner
I’ve been a saint
A little bit of both every single day
I’ve been lost
But somehow I’ve been found
There’s been some pain
Been some regret
Been some moments
I’ll never forget
But when I look back
From where I’m standing now
There’s never been a moment
I was not held inside Your arms
There’s never been a day when You were not who You say You are
Yours forever, it don’t matter
What I’m walking through
‘Cause no matter where I’m going
There’s never been a moment That I was not loved by You
You’ve been the rock
You’ve been the peace
Always showing Your good heart to me
My days are marked by grace I don’t deserve
You’ve been the price I could never pay
You’ve been the light that has led the way
No matter where I am, I am sure
So where could I go that I could wander from Your sight
Where could I run and never leave behind
Your all consuming
Never ending love
There’s never been a moment, no
Publishing: Fair Trade Global Songs (BMI) (admin. by Music Services, Inc.); Meaux Jeaux Music / Da Bears Da Bears Da Bears (SESAC) (admin by CapitolCMGPublishing.com)
Writer(s): Micah Tyler; Jeff Pardo
Okay, so in this song the target audience is presumably God. The song as a whole is targeting the Christian who can relate to a similar “experience of God” as the singer. Experiences are not objective, so they are a horrible place from which to build theology. That which is not Biblical, is not theological. As I said in the intro, there is a specific context in which a person might honestly sing this song reflecting on the goodness of God in a way that affirms scripture. However, that context is narrow and not without its problems.
Verse 1. Scripture teaches us that as Christians saved by Grace, we are simultaneously sinner and saints, not merely alternating between the two. As long as we live in these corrupted bodies of flesh, we are sinners and we sin from our hearts. But, by the Grace of God through faith, we are also saints, forgiven of our sin because of what Christ has done for us in His death and resurrection.
Romans 7:22-25 (ESV) For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
There’s a way of limiting the meaning of the opening lines of this song to fit into this Scriptural doctrine, but the listener has to do it.
The next couple of lines are playing coy with what should be an appeal to the Gospel and this frustrates me. I’ve been lost but somehow I’ve been found. This wouldn’t be a problem if the truth of the Gospel were more clearly proclaimed in the lyric of the song somewhere. Christ “finds” us, He draws us in, He saves us. He is the Good Shepherd who leaves the 99 to rescue the one that is lost (John 10:11-18; Luke 15:1-7). We are all that one that is lost. He came to rescue us, to pick us up, throw us onto His shoulders and carry us home. We were born lost due to Adam’s sin.
The rest of the verse needs to be translated into “sin”. These lines invoke modern-day evangelical speak intended to pad the punch of the Law, to soften the conviction of sin. These days you rarely hear of Sin being our primary problem; rather, you’ll hear people go on and on about “mistakes”, “regrets”, and “poor choices”. A penitent believer will see through this rhetoric as talking around the depth of our sin and depravity if looking at it through the Law of God. However, the flesh clings to the softer tones of “oopsies” and ever seek to self-justify. This first verse is very self-centered. Considering that we had an opportunity to point to the Gospel, it didn’t happen.
Chorus. The first couple of lines are truish of the Believer, if the perspective being drawn is that of God (being outside of time and space) knew His sheep from before the creation of the world, and redeemed us from all eternity for all eternity (Hebrews 10; Revelation 13:1-8). This is heady stuff and can be expounded upon Biblically, but it also can be taken in weird directions without solid theology supporting the thoughts. Without invoking the mystery of God’s timelessness, we might be led to think of this in a way that down-plays or even overlooks the fact that we are born dead in sins and trespasses and hostile to God. For those who grew up in Christian teaching that affirms paedobaptism, this intro to the chorus might also ring true as a reminder of what God accomplished for them in the waters of Baptism. For those of you who reject sacramental Baptism, this corrective measure will not aid you.
The third line, There’s never been a day when You were not who You say You are, is objectively true.
Hebrews 13:7-9 (ESV) 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.
The chorus, though, comes right back to “me”. So the eternal quality of the Love of God ends up being invoked to say how special I am… which, at least for me, distracts from Praising God for Who He Is. Guard your hearts against this theology of glory.
John 3:16-18 (ESV) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 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. 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.
I bring this verse up to serve as a reminder of the Message of the Gospel. It isn’t merely that God loves you; it is that He loved you despite your total wretchedness, He died in your place taking the punishment you deserve, and rising again on the Third day to forgive you of your sin, in His Name. He paid the price you couldn’t pay, to give you a forgiveness you don’t deserve. That’s the message of the Gospel. Thankfully, the next verse of the song steers a little closer to this understanding of the Gospel.
Verse 2. Closer, but the message is being conveyed subjectively, as if the singer is having a special experience or revelation of God’s grace, peace, and love. I don’t think that’s the singer’s intent, but that’s how the song reads. It’s not a song that says, “hey, this is Truth from God’s Word”; rather, it is a song that says “hey, I now see that this is how God’s been to me”. That’s a stylistic choice that seeks to carve out a “personal relationship” of Christianity in a culture that tries so hard to make all “truths” subjective. Still there are gems in this verse that are worth acknowledging:
My days are marked by grace I don’t deserve
You’ve been the price I could never pay (though I’d rather it say “You paid”, because I’m not sure what going on theologically behind the “you’ve been the price”).
Adam and Eve deserved instant death for their sin in the Garden (Genesis 3). God extended His Grace to them and to all of us who were born to them.
Verse 3. This verse is a collection of descriptors of the Greatness of the Love of God. It’s not the Gospel, but it is good news and nothing that is said here is wrong.
1 John 4:8-11 (ESV) Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
This song doesn’t clearly present the Gospel, though it does proclaim the greatness of God’s Love. There is a narrow context where this song can be a helpful reminder of the Love of God for us, but it requires a lot of solid theology on the part of the listener/singer. With its best construction, it is still a bit self-centered rather than Christ centered. It’s not a song for the unbeliever, there is really no Law and the Gospel is implied and a bit muddled (which generally happens when you try to present Gospel without the Law). Now, for a Christian who is struggling with the gravity of their sin already, being crushed by the weight of condemnation from a different source, then this song might provide some comfort… but please share the clear Gospel of Jesus Christ to just such an individual. This song doesn’t go the full distance from despair to repentance and absolution.
2 Corinthians 13:11-14 (ESV) Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
In Christ Jesus,