DiM | “Home” by Chris Tomlin

Presentation1CCM Edition.

April 4, 2017. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Home” by Chris Tomlin which currently sits at #11 on 20TheCountdownMagazine.

Today’s song is a refreshing change from the CCM norm, in that it rightly focuses on the eternal Promise of the Gospel. Too often we find CCM attempt to encourage listeners by ripping promises out of eternity and misappropriating them into this temporal life. Tomlin doesn’t do that here, so I’m happy to review this song with the sole purpose of filling out the theology, what Scripture teaches, in this song to better equip the listener. For the right audience, this song is a welcome encouragement. For the unbeliever who rejects the idea that he has sinned, this song offers nothing to correct him, the Law is not preached in this song. We’ll look at the Law in this review to set the stage for the Gospel in all of its sweetness.

ChrisTomlinVEVO

Lyrics (via Genius)

[Verse 1]
This world is not what it was meant to be
All this pain, all this suffering
There’s a better place waiting for me
In heaven

Every tear will be wiped away
Every sorrow and sin erased
We’ll dance on seas of amazing grace
In heaven, in heaven
I’m going

[Chorus 1]
Home
Where the streets are golden
Every chain is broken
Oh I wanna go
Oh I wanna go

Home
Where every fear is gone
I’m in Your open arms
Where I belong
Home

[Verse 2]
Lay down my burdens, I lay down my past
I run to Jesus, no turning back
Thank God Almighty, I’ll be free at last
In heaven, in heaven
I’m going

[Chorus 2]
Home
Where the streets are golden
Every chain is broken
Oh I wanna go
Oh I wanna go

Home
Where every fear is gone
I’m in Your open arms
Where I belong

[Bridge]
Blinded eyes
Will finally see
The dead will rise
On the shores of eternity

The trump will sound
The angels will sing
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
I am goin’

[Chorus 2]
Home
Where the streets are golden
Every chain is broken
Oh I wanna go
Oh I wanna go

Home
Where every fear is gone
I’m in Your open arms
Where I belong
Where I belong

[Outro]
I’m goin’ Home
I’m goin’ Home
I’m on my way Home
I’m goin’ Home

Discussion

Overall, there is indeed some encouragement to be found in the song. There are some details I do want to run through in the lyrics, though.

Verse 1. The world is in a far worse state than even this first verse captures. My main issue is with the language of intended to be. The world was created perfect. It was created by a perfect God to be His perfect creation. Man sinned against God and brought judgment upon all of creation. Since the song spends so much time on the Promise of eternity, we’re going to spend some extra time here in the problem of sin and how we brought on the curse.

Genesis 3:17-19 (ESV)

And to Adam [GOD] said,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”

Genesis 5:28-29 (ESV) When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son and called his name Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.”

Genesis 6:5-8 (ESV) The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

Before we move on, it is critical to note exactly how bad things had become and whose fault it was… ours. I urge you to consider also that mankind has not improved at all, but has indeed become worse. This is before Sodom and Gomorrah, before Nineveh, before Nero, Stalin, Hitler, before ISIS. All of mankind bears responsibility for this sin, for every intention of the thoughts of his heart is only evil continually. This is original sin.

Romans 1:28-32 (ESV) 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. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 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.

Romans 8:20-22 (ESV) For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.

I know there is more to this verse but I’m going to move straight into a shortfall of this song that is found in its Chorus/Refrain. As we see in this last Romans passage, the Apostle Paul is pointing out that it isn’t merely us who are suffering from the effects of sin, but the whole of creation suffers. It was subjected to futility. The whole creation has been groaning together. All of creation will be redeemed by Christ. How are we reconciled to God? Through His Son, Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:16-21 (ESV) From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 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 next lines in the first verse jump to the Promise of an end to sin and tears, but it’s not just about spending the rest of eternity in heaven, God has Promised to create a New Heaven and a New Earth. All of Creation made new without sin.

Revelation 21:1-8 (ESV) | The New Heaven and the New Earth

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

Amen. This is home, not just us being in Heaven to see God face to face, that will indeed happen, but that God will make His dwelling place with us in the New Earth. THAT is our home in eternity, by the Grace of God through Faith in Christ Jesus.

1 Peter 1:3-12 (ESV) | Born Again to a Living Hope

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

Chorus. So, bearing in mind Revelation 21, we see the only shortfall in the chorus of the song is it stops prematurely. Yes, we will be with God in heaven, but in the end, He will make His dwelling with us in the New Earth. Tomlin isn’t wrong about the saints going to heaven, he just doesn’t carry the thought all the way to its end.

Verse 2. There are a couple of passages we can draw on to bring clarity to the line “lay down my burdens, lay down my past“. Beginning with the second phrase in that line, I think the author is pulling from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

Philippians 3:12-14 (ESV) Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

The other passage examines the sin nature that we all carry in our flesh. While we have been born from above, baptized into Christ, our sin washed away in the waters of our baptism, our flesh yet remains until we die or until Christ returns (whichever happens first). Scripture doesn’t encourage us to improve our flesh; rather, it urges us to lay it down, to mortify it, to crucify it in repentance of Faith.

Romans 6:1-11 (ESV) What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. or if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:1-11 (ESV) There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

1 John 1:6-10 (ESV) If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 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. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Conclusion

While this song doesn’t clearly present the Gospel, I did find encouragement in it. We’ve taken the time here to expand on what the scriptures have to say regarding eternity, and specifically what our sin has earned us and what our sin has done to all of creation. Our “Approved” category is really for songs that have a clear declaration of Law and Gospel. While this song falls short in that regard, it is nonetheless a good song for encouraging the believing listener with the Promise of eternity in Jesus Christ, our LORD.

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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