March 13, 2017. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Trust in Jesus” by Third Day. This was requested by a reader via the Contact Us page a couple of weeks ago.
This song is one of the better songs that has been introduced in CCM. It proclaims the Name of Jesus. There is a little too much focus on “me” without clearly distinguishing Law and Gospel. As a result, both the problem of sin and the solution to that problem get mingled synergistically into both being something “I need to do”. The key to rescuing this song is to go back in to separate the doctrines of Law and Gospel so that we can clearly identify our wicked sinfulness deserving of death and Christ’s Grace and Mercy in rescuing us from our own sin by Grace Alone through Faith in Christ alone. The song seems to present a cliff’s notes version of Ray Comfort style of street evangelism that begins with, “If you were to die today and God asked you why you should get into Heaven, what will you say?” The song doesn’t actually bring us back from “in that day” to “today”. Still, I think the song merits an “Approved” rating, particularly for those with a right understanding of their sinfulness.
I prefer to use videos posted by the artist whenever possible. As this is a reader request, I’m posting a video from a third-party channel for the sake of hearing the lyric.
Lyric (via KLove)
One of these days we all will stand in judgment for
Every single word
That we have spoken
One of these days we all will stand before the Lord
Give a reason for
Everything we’ve done
And what I’ve done is
Trust in Jesus
My great Deliverer
My strong Defender
The Son of God
I trust in Jesus
My Lord forever
The Holy One, the Holy One
What are you gonna do when your time has come
And your life is done
And there’s nothing you can stand on
What will you have to say at the judgment throne
Well, I already know
The only thing that I can say I
There’s nothing I can do on my own to find forgiveness
It’s by His grace alone
I trust in Jesus, trust in Jesus
The reader who reader who requested this review received the following email:
The song is better than most in CCM. I do think there is a little bit of confusion in the depiction of the Judgement hinging on “what we will do or say in that last Day”. I understand he’s going for artistic appeal in this song, but there is Matthew 7:21-23 to consider here. Our place in eternity is sealed up in Christ, those who are of the household of Faith will be granted eternal life in the Last Day. We will still be judged by our works and rewarded accordingly (1 Corinthians 3:10-15), but that is of the household of faith, not the dividing of the sheep and goats. There is an inherent syngergism at play in the song that I’m uncomfortable with. A suggestion that our works and our answers before the Judgement Seat are key to salvation. The bridge works to mitigate that, so as I said before, this song is better than most in CCM.
I’ll keep this song in the queue for whenever there isn’t a new song on the top 20 charts. Thank you for this submission.
Since I wasn’t writing a full DiM post, I went straight to the problem I saw in the lyric, the focus on “what we will do” on the last day. While there is a sense where we can speak of this moment accurately in a sermon or lecture, it has to be done with Law and Gospel kept distinct, without mixing/confusing the two. Let us first look to the passage in Matthew with context.
Matthew 7:12-29 (ESV)
The Golden Rule
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
A Tree and Its Fruit
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
I Never Knew You
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Build Your House on the Rock
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
The Authority of Jesus
And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.
I’ve underlined the verses I referenced in my email response. Our LORD, Jesus Christ, is preaching the Law here. Jesus taught with Authority, for He indeed is the Author, the Word made flesh. I bring up this passage to make one point abundantly clear: No matter what you’ve done, or claim to have done, when standing before the Throne of Judgement your arguments/accomplishments will not gain you entrance into the Kingdom of God. What does it mean to build your house on the rock as opposed to the sand? Notice in that picture Jesus isn’t pointing to the trappings of the house or its ornaments; for only if its foundation is firm will it stand.
Pointing to the listener for what he/she will say “in that day” is not entirely helpful without clearly distinguishing Law (that we are wicked sinners) and Gospel (Christ has atoned for the sin of mankind through His finished work on the cross). Now, there is a way that this approach might be helpful. Ray Comfort’s approach to street evangelism often begins with posing the question, “If you were to die today and God asked you why you should get into Heaven, what will you say?” in order to draw out the common fleshly belief that we are all basically good people. This is actually an introduction to the preaching of the Law (though Ray may not describe it as such). What follows is a run-down through the 10 commandments demonstrating that the hearer is in-fact a sinner in need of salvation. This song doesn’t run that part down, it assumes it, then jumps to presenting the Gospel. The song also doesn’t bring the hearer back from considering the Last Day of Judgment to “today” when we are presented with Law and Gospel. For we are only given “today” to repent and believe in the Son of God. I’d like to take a look at what the Apostle John recorded in chapter 6 after the feeding of the 5,000 and Christ walking on the water.
John 6:22-40 (ESV) | I Am the Bread of Life
On the next day the crowd that remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. Other boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.
When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
This is where we must rightly anchor the song’s refrain, “I trust in Jesus”. Having been made acutely aware of our wicked sinfulness, our complete inability to merit any favor before God, we rely fully on what Christ has done FOR US. Notice, Christ says here, “I will raise him up on the last day”. It is Christ who gives us life, for without Him we are dead already. When we consider what it means to trust in Jesus, those whose eyes have been opened by the Holy Spirit to the Truth of God’s Word, that we are indeed wretched sinners in need of salvation, and who by the same Holy Spirit have been granted saving faith to repent of sin and believe in the Son of God, for such a person to continue walking in faith is to continue walking in repentance trusting in Christ alone for forgiveness and eternal life. For our entry into the Kingdom of Heaven begins and ends in our being baptized into Christ, wrapped in the Righteousness of Christ that is bestowed upon us by Christ, who bore our sin and transgression on the cross.
The bridge of the song bears witness to this Truth, that we are wholly incapable of earning forgiveness of sin, that salvation is by grace alone, trusting in Christ alone. The chorus of the song lists many wonderful, Gospel Names for God.
With regards to proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I think the song is quite good. The problem I have is with the mingling a bit of Law and Gospel, at the expense of the law, really. There’s no call to repentance, and the presentation of the Gospel as something that hinges on “what you say”, presents the problem of sin as simply not having the right words to say. The audience is assumed to have already rightly been made aware of their sin and are terrified by the Law of God unto repentance. But for the listener who hasn’t already been made aware of his sin—even the professing believer who has lost sight of his sin—the song offers no correction, no call to repentance, and the sweetness of the Gospel is emptied for such a one who has no concept of his own sin.
As far as CCM is concerned, it belongs in the category of the “Approved” CCM songs. It is one of the better CCM for it does clearly proclaim the Good News of Salvation in Jesus’ Name.
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,