CTT | 2nd Commandment Violation (2CV)?

Today I’d like to take a look at a commonly used rebuke in social media whenever someone posts an image of God or old icons from the early church depicting Jesus, or even a crucifix. The rebuke being a claim that the post was a 2CV, or 2nd Commandment Violation. So, what does this mean? 
 
This is a reference to a numbering of the 10 commandments common to the Reformed tradition and most Protestant denominations. By that numbering, the 2nd Commandment is “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” or usually shortened to “You shall not make any graven images”. The argument usually follows the line of reasoning that any image that might be of God or might be worshiped as an idol constitutes a breaking of this commandment, regardless of how the image is actually being used. There are varying definitions of what constitutes a 2CV, but in the extreme sense, any paintings, drawings, carvings, statues, etc. are forbidden by the 2nd Commandment. 
 
Lutherans don’t follow this numbering of the 10 Commandments so a “2CV” for a Lutheran would be breaking of the Commandment, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” This leads to some confusion in communication between Lutherans and Protestants. So, let’s look at the Commandments themselves rather than the list/numbering found in a denomination’s Catechism or Confessions. For that, we’ll turn to Exodus 20:1-21 without the verses numbered.
 
Exodus 20:1-21 (ESV)
And God spoke all these words, saying,
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
“You shall have no other gods before me.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
“You shall not murder.
“You shall not commit adultery.
“You shall not steal.
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”
Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.” The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.
Now, the ESV editors also insert line breaks. But if we look at the words themselves, we don’t see any numbering. I don’t read Hebrew or Greek so we cannot discuss this passage linguistically. But we can look at the context of what is written. Both traditions start numbering the Commandments at “You shall have no other gods before me.” 
 
2CV2CV2
In the images above, I’ve highlighted the verses surrounding what is called the 2nd Commandment by those using the 2CV rebuke. Here is where Lutherans (and others) see a problem with isolating verse 4 as its own Commandment. The context of verses 2-6 is all on the same topic… the First Commandment, “You shall have no other gods before (or besides) me”. So we treat v2-6 as all part of the 1st Commandment and consider verse 7 as the start of the 2nd. I’ve run across folks who allege that Rome and Lutherans number the Commandments so they can “skip the second commandment” to protect their graven images. This is simply untrue, particularly given how we teach the commandments. It is true that at the time of the Reformation, Rome was in grave error of several forms of idolatry, but their numbering of the Commandments wasn’t born of these errors. Rome’s numbering comes from the early Church fathers and Luther pulled from the early church as well, so Lutherans didn’t pull from Rome, we both pull from St. Augustine’s work. I believe most Protestants pull from Origen. Historicity alone cannot determine which is “more right”, which is why we started by examining the Scriptures in context.

So is it a direct violation of the 1st or 2nd Commandment to depict Christ or the Holy Trinity in a drawing or sculpture?

I cannot see that as the focus of Exodus 20 or Deuteronomy 5. The focus is on idolatry, the worshiping of idols as gods. An argument can be made that under the Mosaic covenant, the idols themselves were idolatry. Under the New Covenant, we have a clearer picture of the sin of idolatry and realize that we are guilty of the sin of idolatry when we allow anything to rise above God in our hearts, even without physical idols, and that we are far more guilty of this sin than any of us can imagine. So, under the New Covenant, we need to carefully examine the purpose of such depictions of the Triune God of Scripture to ensure that it is indeed pointing the observer to the One True God, not to worship of the depiction as god. Discernment is needed here. Now, not all depictions of Christ are sound, some are quite blasphemous. The blasphemy should be targeted and rebuked. I don’t recommend getting stuck on a blanket prohibition of drawings/depictions in hopes of making your rebuke irrefutable.

But the commandment says not to make ANY graven image of ANYTHING!

If we allow that verse to be lifted out of its context, this might be a fair argument. But it becomes highly problematic both in its immediate context and in the instructions God gives Moses for the construction of the Tabernacle (Exodus 25-27), which included several graven/woven images of cherubim. God commanded Moses to craft a fiery serpent on a pole (Numbers 21) for the Children of Israel to look at for healing from the deadly snake bites. That bronze image had to later be destroyed because the people later set it up as an idol they had named and made sacrifices to (2 Kings 18). So, we see the heart of the matter is the worship of a false god. Idolatry is found in the heart of the idolators, not in the substance of the idol. The idol itself is nothing (1 Cor 8), but in worshiping the idol, pagans are worshiping demons (1 Cor 10). This is breaking the first and greatest commandment:

Matthew 22:36-38 (ESV) “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.

Deuteronomy 6:5 (ESV) You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Since someone might stumble due to a depiction of the Triune God, we should ban all of them!

No, the answer to sin isn’t more law; rather, it is the clear preaching of the Gospel. God’s Law doesn’t grant the power to keep it, a man-made law is infinitely worse. The New Testament makes it clear that no one keeps the law but Christ and that salvation is by Grace through Faith, not by works of the Law. Your accuser might claim to be (or speaking out of concern for) a weaker brother/sister.

1 Corinthians 8:4-13 (ESV) Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

Speak in truth with the brother/sister with all patience, humility, and kindness. If it is something you’ve posted deliberately on their wall or in their feed, remove it. If they are demanding you remove it from your own social media, kindly decline when the depiction is intended to benefit other neighbors. Need to exercise discernment here on a case-by-case basis.

Conclusion

When someone charges you with 2CV! do try to give it a best possible construction, that the individual is trying to uphold the Law as he/she has been taught. Might there have been something idolatrous in what you shared? Temper your initial response (and offense) in order to gauge the level of knowledge or understanding possessed by your accuser. Above all, do everything to the Glory of God.

Our catechisms are helpful in training up disciples. We need to know our catechisms well enough to identify where they summarize Scripture and how they’ve done so. The numbering of the 10 commandments is such a summary. Be willing and able to return to the Scriptures when dealing with differences in confessions.

Jude 24-25 (ESV) Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “I Just Need U” by TobyMac

Presentation1CCM Radio Edition.

May 04, 2018. Today we’ll be taking a look at “I Just Need U” by TobyMac which currently sits at #1 on the 20theCountdownMagazine.

This is probably one of the better TobyMac songs I’ve reviewed. I found the writing to be quite honest and well-intentioned. The Psalms he drew from weren’t being stretched out of context and the song doesn’t make false promises. This song finds itself on the positive side of the middle ground. It falls short of a full Approval because it lacked a clear Gospel, but at least it bore a confession of needing God. Let’s listen to the song and read the lyrics.

Video

Lyrics (via K-Love)

I Just Need U
I just need U.

Last night put the heavy on me
Woke up, and I’m feeling lonely
This world gotta a way of showin’ me
Some days it’ll lift you up
Some days it’ll call your bluff
Man, most of my days I ain’t got enough

And all I know is You’re my only hope

When I’m up, when I’m down
When the wolves come around
When my feet hit the ground
I just need, I just need U
On my darkest days, when I’m losing faith
No, it ain’t gonna change
I just need, I just need U
Lord, I need U
Yeah, I just need U

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I will fear no evil for thou art with me
Thy rod and thy staff …
They comfort me when I’m beat down broken
Hold my heart when it’s split wide-open
Turn these eyes to my sole protector
And break the will of this born defector

When You pull me closer I come to life

Ain’t no way this thing gon’ change, it’s U
I need on my darkest days, when I’m losing faith
I need U every single day, every breath I take
I need U

Publising: Achtober Songs (BMI) (Admin. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) / So Essential Tunes / RELWOF (SESAC) (Admin. at EssentialMusicPublishing.com) / Blake NeeSmith Publishing Designee (BMI)
Writer(s): Toby McKeehan, Bryan Fowler, and Blake NeeSmith

Discussion

Overall, the song isn’t bad. The Premise of the song is a little bit wonky, as it seems to be a song about Toby dealing with popularity and the highs and lows of it all.

Verse 1. The first verse frames the discussion oddly.

Last night put the heavy on me
Woke up, and I’m feeling lonely
This world gotta a way of showin’ me
Some days it’ll lift you up
Some days it’ll call your bluff
Man, most of my days I ain’t got enough

The focus is on how he can’t live up to the world’s expectations but stops short of calling the world evil. We’re not seeing the problem of sin being set up here, just sort of a cry of not “being enough” or not “having enough”. The problem is in the underlying theology. This follows the notion that being a Christian means having access to power once we’ve reached the end of ourselves. We turn to God when we need a life raft as if we didn’t need Him long before we were aware of our need.

Chorus. Now, the chorus does include “when I’m up”, so one might argue that this clears the song of what I just pointed out as a problem. However, the emphasis on the first verse and the rest of the song is on being down.

When I’m up, when I’m down
When the wolves come around
When my feet hit the ground
I just need, I just need U
On my darkest days, when I’m losing faith
No, it ain’t gonna change
I just need, I just need U
Lord, I need U
Yeah, I just need U

For the most part, this is a good confession of an enduring need for God. Odd that it goes from the thought of “losing faith” to “it ain’t gonna change”… how is the artist attempting to resolve the thought of losing faith? I don’t think TobyMac knows quite what to do with that. I think that’s why TobyMac memes and most of his lyrics amount to “dedicate yourself harder”, “do more”, “love more”, “strive/endure/persevere”, etc.

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.

Galatians 3:2-9 (ESV) Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

I bring these passage up because they are critical to understanding Law and Gospel properly distinguished. In each letter, Paul is teaching these Churches (predominantly Gentiles) the proper distinction between Law and Gospel. Faith is a Gift from God working through His Word. Both saving faith and growing in faith, which is why I brought in the passage in Galatians. Too many treat the gift of faith as something necessary to “get saved” but then rely on works to grow to maturity. Paul rebukes that thoroughly. So, my point in bringing this here is that I genuinely believe TobyMac is looking for an answer to building faith in spite of trouble, and he keeps looking to the Law. I’m not calling him unsaved when I say the problem is that TobyMac needs to hear the Gospel preached to him and for him, today and every day of this life until Christ returns.

Verse 2. Toby pulls lines from Psalm 23. It’s a wonderful Psalm.

Psalm 23 (ESV) | A Psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2     He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
3     He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

The promise in Psalm 23 has an eternal focus. We are so tempted to invoke this Psalm for our temporal well being and comfort, but remember the Apostles and the 1st-century saints.

Bridge. It’s really just a mantra, nothing of substance.

Conclusion

This song is an honest appeal to faith during the struggle, a confession of our need for God. The closest we get to identifying which God is by quoting pieces of Psalm 23. I find it frustrating that Jesus has to be assumed in so-called “Christian” songs, though. I’ll not apologize for that frustration. The song does a good job of being honest about our internal struggle with doubt, I just wish it did a better job of resolving that doubt. I do believe that even here, we should see an acknowledgment that our primary issue is sin and the only resolution is Christ crucified for our sin.

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

DiM | “All My Hope” by Crowder

ApprovedCCM Radio Edition.

March 22, 2018. Today we’ll be taking a look at “All My Hope” by Crowder which currently sits at #2 on the 20theCountdownMagazine.

Today’s song has a good chorus in that it is focused on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The verses are weak and a bit vague, but minus the first verse they aren’t horrible. This song lands tentatively in the Approved category for having a good chorus with a strong focus on the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the answer for our sin. Let’s listen to the song and then work through the lyrics.

Lyric Video

Lyrics (via K-Love)

I’ve been held by the Savior
I’ve felt fire from above
I’ve been down to the river
I ain’t the same
A prodigal returned

All my hope is in Jesus
Thank God my yesterday’s gone
All my sins are forgiven
I’ve been washed by the blood

I’m no stranger to the prison
I’ve worn shackles and chains
But I’ve been freed and forgiven
And I’m not going back
I’ll never be the same
That’s why I sing

There’s a kind of thing
That just breaks a man
Break him down to his knees
God, I’ve been broken more than a time or two, yes, Lord
Then He picked me up
And showed me what it means to be a man
Come on and sing

Publishing: sixsteps Music/Worshiptogether.Com Songs/Inot Music (ASCAP) (Admin. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com)/Alletrop Music (BMI) (admin. by Music Services)
Writer(s): David Crowder and Ed Cash

Discussion

This song takes the form of a “testimony” type song, where the singer shares with the audience his/her theology or testimony of God. Such testimonies should always be focused on Christ as revealed in His Word. I’m very happy that this song didn’t slide into the humble-brag category of really being “about me” while claiming to be about “what God has done for me”.

Verse 1. The song opens up very poorly with a weak and empty verse appealing to emotional experiences.

I’ve been held by the Savior
I’ve felt fire from above
I’ve been down to the river

By faith, we have been saved by the Savior, brought to life by God the Holy Spirit delivering faith to us through the preached Word of Christ, washing us clean by water mixed with the Word in Baptism. The singer has not actually been held by the Savior in a literal sense, not yet. So, this is an emotional appeal in spiritual symbolism. Also, the singer hasn’t “felt fire from above”. This particular emotional symbolism is quite common in charismatic circles where they claim their emotional experiences are equal to what took place in the upper room on Pentecost in Acts 2.  The scriptures tell us there were tongues of fire descending upon them as they were given the miraculous gift of speaking in other languages, the praises of God. Let’s look at the text because I want to point out how clearly the Scriptures describe the event.

Acts 2:1-12 (ESV) When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”

This isn’t something these people had to imagine happening, these things actually happened. The divided tongues of fire appeared to them and rested on them. They were actually proclaiming the mighty works of God in clear languages, languages that actually existed, languages that were listed in the text. No symbolism need be invoked, this actually happened. This stuff isn’t happening today, particularly not in churches where false doctrine is being plainly taught. So, the singer is claiming to have felt fire from above, when what has really happened is the singer felt a sense of euphoria and wants to believe it was this sort of “presence of the holy spirit”. We’ve talked about the references of “being down to the river” in CCM before. As a Lutheran, I want to believe this is a reference to Baptism; however, it’s most likely a reference to the symbolism that creedal baptists believe baptism to be. Given the rest of Crowder’s theology, this is a symbolic reference to what they think baptism represents, not a direct reference to Baptism. As with the rest of this first verse, it is spiritual imagery or an appeal to an emotional experience.

I ain’t the same
A prodigal returned

The best construction I can give these 2 lines is that this is an allusion to repentance. As the prodigal son realized the error of his ways and remembered his father and repented of his sin. “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son” Luke 15:21 (ESV).

Chorus. The chorus is a strong point in this song.

All my hope is in Jesus
Thank God my yesterday’s gone
All my sins are forgiven
I’ve been washed by the blood

All our hope is in Jesus. The Apostle Peter’s letter comes to mind first:

1 Peter 1:3-7 (ESV) 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.

All our sins are forgiven, indeed. Now, Crowder goes back to symbolism in our having been washed by the blood. This is good symbolism and it is clearly laid out in Revelation talking about John’s vision in the resurrection. Let’s look at chapter 7.

Revelation 7:9-14 (ESV) After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Now this is a vision and in these visions in the Revelation of Jesus Christ there are lots of symbols. Let’s look at the Institution of the Lord’s Supper as recorded in Matthew, specifically at His words regarding the cup:

Matthew 26:27-28 (ESV) And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Amen. So we have the symbolism in Revelation and the reference to the substance in the Lord’s Supper, Christ’s blood of the New Covenant, poured out for the forgiveness of sins. Now, I mentioned earlier in the discussion of verse 1 how I’d like to think Crowder was directly referencing Baptism. Christ washes His Bride (the Church) in Baptism as we see the Apostle Paul reference in his letter to the Ephesians.

Ephesians 5:25-27 (ESV) Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

I understand that not everyone who reads this blog is Lutheran, so this is how I’d go about connecting “down to the river” and “washed by the Blood”… I’d point to Holy Baptism.

Verse 2. The second verse is allegorical but these are metaphors most of us can relate to emotionally, at least at some level. We have an idea of prison, shackles, chains, and we have an idea of being set free from temporal bondage and being forgiven of wrong.

I’m no stranger to the prison
I’ve worn shackles and chains
But I’ve been freed and forgiven
And I’m not going back
I’ll never be the same
That’s why I sing

The problem here is the idea that it’s an all-or-nothing thing for Christians in this temporal life, completely sanctified or still-a-sinner. The Truth is that it’s both, simultaneously sinner & saint. As long as we walk in fallen bodies of flesh, we are sinners. By faith we are saints, not because of what we have done, but solely because of what Christ has done already for us in our place at the cross. That is why our hope is in the Resurrection, when at last Christ will be revealed, we will be saved, and we will be given new bodies free of sin. Until then, we live in the simul, simultaneously sinner & saint.

Verse 3. I think this third verse/bridge gets a little bit sideways.

There’s a kind of thing
That just breaks a man
Break him down to his knees
God, I’ve been broken more than a time or two, yes, Lord
Then He picked me up
And showed me what it means to be a man
Come on and sing

We were doing okay up until this point (I’m still happy with the chorus), but now we seem to have externalized sin a bit, making it the boogie man on the outside of us breaking us down to our knees. While we do have an external enemy in the devil, our primary ill is our own sinful flesh, our black hearts filled with sinful passions craving sin and waging war against the Spirit within us.

Romans 7:15-25 (ESV) For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 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.

Galatians 5:16-17 (ESV) But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

There is also one other thing that is missing from the discussion in the third verse, and that is the discipline of our Heavenly Father against our sin that breaks us down. Indeed, the LORD disciplines us as sons/daughters. We see this proclaimed clearly in Hebrews.

Hebrews 12:3-11 (ESV) Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and chastises every son whom he receives.

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Amen. So this third verse gets sideways by only painting part of the picture of what breaks us down, for God, our Heavenly Father disciplines us as sons/daughters. This third verse in the song also wrongly externalizes the sin problem as merely external circumstances rather than our core sin issue which is in our very flesh.

Conclusion

Given this song’s clear focus on the Gospel for the chorus, the pale allegorical nature of the verses get overshadowed and I’m placing this song just into the Approved category.

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.

Amen. In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

Friday | Conversation with Costi Hinn

frisermonWe come to the end of another week. Last week I shared a couple of phone interviews I had with Table Talk Radio and the Bible Thumping Wingnut. This week, I thought we’d listen in on an interview of Costi Hinn by Chris Rosebrough of Fighting for the Faith to discuss the new book “Defining Deception”.

Fighting for the Faith has started sharing more Youtube content lately, which is very exciting for our Friday segment.

 

For a link to the audio version of this interview and other Fighting for the Faith Resources visit Fighting for the Faith: Costi Hinn Interview (Audio Version)

This is a great conversation focusing on the theology in play. I pray you find this conversation helpful. If you’d like to purchase this book on Amazon, check out the link below.

DiM | “O’Lord” by Lauren Daigle

Presentation1CCM Radio Edition.

February 26, 2018. Today we’ll be taking a look at “O’Lord” by Lauren Daigle which currently sits at #2 on the 20theCountdownMagazine.

Today’s  song is an older one. I’m curious as to how this has risen to the #2 spot now. Lauren Daigle has an amazing voice. The melody is catchy and anthemic. The song is a pep talk that addresses the Lord as someone who is coming to make everything better… for the singer who is standing her ground where hope can be found. We’ll get to why this is a problem in the lyric, but first let’s give the song a listen and read through the lyrics.

Music Video

Lyrics (via K-Love)

Though times it seems
Like I’m coming undone
This walk can often feel lonely
No matter what until this race is won
I will stand my ground where hope can be found
I will stand my ground where hope can be found

Oh, O’Lord O’Lord I know You hear my cry
Your love is lifting me above all the lies
No matter what I face this I know in time
You’ll take all that is wrong and make it right
You’ll take all that is wrong and make it right

Your strength is found
At the end of my road
Your grace it reaches to the hurting
Still through the tears and the questioning why
I will stand my ground where hope can be found
I will stand my ground where hope can be found

Oh, O’Lord O’Lord I know You hear my cry
Your love is lifting me above all the lies
No matter what I face This I know in time
You’ll take all that is wrong and make it right
You’ll take all that is wrong and make it right
(Right, so right)
Make it right
(Right, so right)
Make it right, right

I will stand my ground
I will stand my ground

I will stand my ground where hope can be found
I will stand my ground where hope can be found

Oh! O’Lord O’Lord I know You hear my cry
Your love is lifting me above all the lies
No matter what I face this I know in time
You’ll take all that is wrong and make it right (take all what is wrong)
You’ll take all that is wrong and make it right
(Right, so right)
Make it right
(Right, so right)
Make it right, right

Writers: Joe Williams and Paul Mabury

Discussion

It’s clear that the aim of this song is to serve as a blanket encouragement to the listener. It is unclear if this encouragement is aimed at believers only or if its aim is more universal. The song is an attempt to share a gospel of wrongs being made right without any mention of the Law. The problem presented in the song is purely emotional and circumstantial. The singer feels undone, lonely, weak. The answer presented is to “stand my ground where hope is found”. What does that mean? Hope in what, that my circumstances will turn around? That I won’t be lonely anymore? That my life will be brought back together? Is that the Hope of the Gospel? These are not the Gospel, though each might be a by-product of the Gospel. The problem of our lives isn’t limited to us being victims of a fallen world… our primary problem is that we are sinners, guilty of sin and deserving of God’s Wrath.

Ephesians 2:1-3 (ESV) 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.

The problems cited in the song… the malady the song seeks to remedy for the listener… is a symptom, a byproduct of our primary problem… of sin.

Romans 5:12-14 (ESV) Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

Our problem is sin. Death is only in this world because of sin. And it isn’t just our problem… but all of creation.

Romans 8:19-21 (ESV) For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 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.

With this in mind, and only with this in mind, are we ready to present the Hope of Salvation, the Hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the wrong that He has righted… Our wrong, our guilt, our transgression. We are not mere victims, we are the guilty party. And the Christ has already atoned for our sin in His finished work on the cross.

Romans 5:15-21 (ESV) But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

This is what we need… we need grace, we need forgiveness, we need justification, we need reconciliation. This is our deepest need and the very Hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Colossians 1:9-20 (ESV) And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

Amen. This is the Hope of Salvation from not only temporal death, or loneliness, or weakness, or despair… but from the very Wrath of God. Christ gave Himself to atone for our sin or reconcile us to Himself for eternity… making peace by His blood on His cross in our place.

Ephesians 2:4-10 (ESV) 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.

Conclusion

The song isn’t an evil song filled with false doctrine, it’s an empty song pushing an empty gospel. I decided to leave this song in the middle category, because I wanted to discuss Law and Gospel. The Promise of the Gospel is far greater than the improvement of temporal circumstance, it is the Promise of being made right with God, reconciled to Him, and forgiven of our sin, and the Hope of the Resurrection in Christ Jesus to eternal life.

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.

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge