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

DiM | “Jesus” by Chris Tomlin

Presentation1CCM Edition.

September 06, 2016. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Jesus” by Chris Tomlin which currently sits at #18 on 20TheCountdownMagazine. There is some good in the song, or that can be made of the song. Where this song suffers is in how these attributes of Jesus are being presented as a veiled promise that calling on the Name of Jesus will yield a temporal fix to your problem. It doesn’t clearly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so it doesn’t stand on its own. This song is only as good as the theology being applied by the listener.

In this long review we’ll spend a lot of time brute-forcing a best construction by looking at the Scripture passages being referenced by the short lines of the songs. If we focus on what Scripture is teaching in these passages, we should be better suited to guard against false teaching.

ChrisTomlin VEVO (Lyrcs & Chords)

 

Lyrics (via KLove)

Verse 1
There is a truth older than the ages
There is a promise of things yet to come
There is one born for our salvation
Jesus

Verse 2
There is a light that overwhelms the darkness
There is a kingdom that forever reigns
There is freedom from the chains that bind us
Jesus, Jesus

Chorus
Who walks on the waters
Who speaks to the sea
Who stands in the fire beside me
He roars like a lion
He bled as the lamb
He carries my healing in His hands
Jesus

Verse 3
There is a name I call in times of trouble
There is a song that comforts in the night
There is a voice that calms the storm that rages
He is Jesus, Jesus

Chorus
Who walks on the waters
Who speaks to the sea
Who stands in the fire beside me
He roars like a lion
He bled as the lamb
He carries my healing in His hands
Jesus

Bridge
Messiah
My Savior
There is power in Your name
You’re my rock and my redeemer
There is power in Your name
In Your name

Climax Chorus
You walk on the waters
You speak to the sea
You stand in the fire beside me
You roar like a lion
You bled as the lamb
You carry my healing in Your hands

You walk on the waters
You speak to the sea
You stand in the fire beside me
You roar like a lion
You bled as the lamb
You carry my healing in Your hands
Jesus

Publishing: sixsteps Songs / Worship Together Music / S.D.G. Publishing (Admin. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) / Alletrop Music (BMI) (admin. by Music Services)
Writer(s): Chris Tomlin and Ed Cash

Discussion

Let’s begin by recognizing the good in the song lyric. What is said about Jesus in the song isn’t wrong. That’s a good thing. The lyric pulls from a few passages of Scripture that point to Christ, one of which is a good example of seeing Christ in the Old Testament.

Verse 1. To put the best construction on this song, I thought we’d try a brute-force, heavy-handed attempt at completely super-imposing Scripture over this verse in hopes that whenever you hear this song play on the radio, you think of the Scriptures first, and treat this lyric as a breath of a cliff’s note. Modern-day evangelicalism suffers from post-modern gnosticism (secret-knowledge) infecting everything, so I don’t want to leave vague open ended allusions to Scripture floating without an anchor.

John 1:1-18 (ESV) | The Word Became Flesh

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

This is the Salvation that Jesus brings to us, the right to become children of God. Christ, who was with God in the beginning and Is God, became flesh and dwelt among us for our Salvation. How did He save us? John the Baptist announces, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”(John 1:29 ESV). How did He take away the sins of the world? By paying the full price of sin, by bearing Himself the full wrath of God against the sins of the world in our place.

Verse 2. For the first part of this verse, we are still in the first chapter of John. But then it shifts to speaking of the Kingdom that forever reigns. Guard yourselves against “kingdom theology” that flows from Dominionism (which is dominant in NAR teaching, and present in Hillsong, Passion theology but is generally more spiritualized in their gnosticism). The error is in looking for an earthly Kingdom (whether political or oddly spiritualized dominion) where the Earthly Church is victorious and in charge, as if she would create a throne upon which Jesus might return. Jesus never talked about returning for a church like that, nor did He speak of a world where the church dominated in such a way. In fact, Jesus gave the opposite prophecy, a world where if He didn’t cut the days short none would survive (Matthew 24). But let’s look now to what Jesus preached at the start of His earthly ministry, as we see recorded in the Gospel According to Matthew.

Matthew 4:12-17 (ESV) | Jesus Begins His Ministry

12 Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 the people dwelling in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,
on them a light has dawned.”

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

The Kingdom isn’t an earthly kingdom of dominion, but the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of the Gospel of Grace, the body and blood of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of Sins. And this Kingdom is here now, not something we are responsible for building or establishing, or ushering in. Christ came to us, died for us, resurrected from the dead ahead of us, ascended to the Right Hand of the Father for us and will again return for us to judge both the Living and the Dead. We have been baptized into His death and resurrection and have been sealed by God the Holy Spirit. His is the kingdom that forever reigns. Focus on this promise of the Gospel, that you’ve been baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection so that in the Last Day you will be with Him in Glory. Amen.

Chorus. The list of demonstrated abilities found in this chorus is out-of-order. We’re going to address them in order, because the point of these events is to point to Christ alone. If we get sloppy with how we pull together references to scripture, we can end up implying promises that aren’t there. All of Scripture points to Salvation, the forgiveness of sins, through Jesus Christ our Lord as both the beginning and the end of the story.

He speaks to the sea. Yes, He does.

Matthew 8:25-27 (ESV) And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

Jesus is revealing Himself as the Son of God to the disciples and to us who now read the Scriptures and hear them preached. Faith comes through hearing the Word of Christ. Not a faith of its own existence, Faith in Christ Jesus, God the Son. Notice how Jesus first rebuked the disciples and then rebuked the winds and sea? They were afraid for their lives, for they lacked faith. Should they have expected Jesus would quiet the storm? No, that’s not what the text is pointing us to, the text is pointing us to Jesus. We are being called to have faith in Jesus through the circumstance, not faith in a favorable outcome in the circumstance. What does it matter if they perish in the storm? They are literally in the presence of God. Christ IS our salvation, that’s is the anchor of our faith, not the notion that “if we have enough faith then God will save us from the storm”. When it comes to perishing or living, the storm is irrelevant. Jesus was sleeping from it, and then rebuked it after rebuking the men for their lack of faith in Him.

Jesus walked on the water. Because He is God, and His disciples needed to understand that Truth.

Matthew 14:22-27 (ESV) | Jesus Walks on the Water
Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

I really wish the visible church would stop allegorizing this text and so quickly taking the focus away from Christ, Son of the Living God, and onto some empty promise that you can walk on water just like Peter does in the next portion. That is not the point of the text. Not even remotely. The point of the text is made clear in closing verses of this account:

Matthew 14:32-33 (ESV) And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

That’s the point. That is the only point. Stop with the narcissistic eisegesis that only leads to bondage. Peter failed at walking on water, even with Jesus right there in the flesh. We all fail at walking on water. We aren’t called to do it. Stop trying. Focus on Christ and His promises that are articulated in Scripture.

Who stands in the fire beside me. Okay, so kudos for rightly understanding Jesus in the old testament, but this has already been allegorized a bit in a way that minimizes what the text is saying. We’ll be pulling portions from Daniel 3.

Daniel 3:12-18 (ESV)There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

This is a very real life-and-death trial. It infuriates me to hear this treated allegorically such that whatever temporary setback or disappointment in our daily lives suddenly becomes a fiery furnace encounter. But this story isn’t pointing to the resolve or determination of these three Jews; rather, it is pointing to Christ saving us from an eternal punishment for sin.

Daniel 3:19-25 (ESV) Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated. And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace. Because the king’s order was urgent and the furnace overheated, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace. Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”

Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God was that fourth man, the one like the son of the Gods. This was before He had taken on human flesh, but Christ is there, the same Christ who later took on human flesh, died on a cross, paid our penalty for sin, and rose again on the third day. This is pointing to Salvation in Christ Jesus, salvation from the fiery pit of eternal punishment. In Christ Jesus, the flames have no charge over us, not even the smell of smoke, because in Christ we’ve been washed clean and forgiven completely.

Daniel 3:26-29 (ESV) Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them. Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.”

Indeed, there is No Other who can Save. In Daniel 3, we see the faith of these men was in God who has the power to save eternally, and temporally, but their hope wasn’t set on God saving them simply from the fiery death. Their hope was in the God who Saves. Contrast that a bit with the men in the boat we looked at, whom Jesus rebuked before rebuking the storm. We serve a God who Forgives and Saves eternally, graciously, and perfectly. These men didn’t even smell of fire… and when God forgives you of your sin, it’s forgiven, buried, forgotten in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Christ bled and died on the cross as the substitutionary sacrifice, the perfect sacrifice, for the sin of the World. It is Finished. In Revelation, John recognized the Lamb who was slain, but His return will not be humble, it won’t be meek, it will be as King, LORD, a roaring lion. He will return in the clouds with a shout of command, and this will not be a secret return. All of Creation will stand still and bow… those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of Life will rejoice, the rest are condemned already for their unbelief. Some may plead, bargain, curse Him, but He has already told us what He will say to them.

Matthew 7:21-23 (ESV)“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.’

He carries my healing in His hands. Indeed, He does. The one promised to us is the healing from sin, death, and the grave. The stain of Adam. The condemnation of hell, the Wrath of God. Christ heals us from all of that, that promise is sure, in Jesus Christ our Redeemer, Savior, and Healer. In Christ we will be given new bodies, perfect bodies, eternal bodies, forever healed of sin, suffering, and death. That’s real healing. That’s the healing promised to all who call upon the Name of the LORD. The promise of scripture is eternal. It is often lifted out of context to make it a temporal promise, one that the word-of-faith (WoF) crowd push as they demand your money. But doing so ignores the context found within the single verse, much less the whole chapter 53 of Isaiah:

Isaiah 53 (ESV)

1 Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
9 And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.

And we get a similar teaching, with the same contextual focus, from the Apostle Peter:

1 Peter 2:23-25 (ESV)When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

So please, stop tossing this passage around like it’s some sort of blank-check for temporal healing, or worse, some sort of litmus test as to whether or not you are “truly living in faith”. Bondage. Blasphemy. Lies. This promise of healing is of eternity. We will all die here, for our flesh is still corrupt and it must be put off. Some of sickness, some of persecution, some of old-age, but all will die. This Promise of healing is far more important and far greater in value than what the WoF and prosperity-false-gospel wolves are selling you. Focus on the Healing that Scripture Promises, the Healing that is assured. Pray for earthly healing, too, but as a petition, a request. Scripture doesn’t give us room to make demands of temporal healing from an Eternal God.

The rest of the song is intended as a crescendo of repetition building up to the climax of the allegorizing of all of the Scripture passages into the notion that “and Jesus will do all these things for me in my circumstances, too”… at least, that’s how it comes across to me. It is what we should expect from folks whose doctrine of “worship” fits this formula. Every song that ends with trailing musical instrumentals with repeated choruses (or anthemic bridges) is following this formula. It’s emotional manipulation designed to give the impression that the Holy Spirit is moving in the room. If reading the lyrics straight doesn’t convey the message, it’s an emotional experience, not Biblical worship.

Conclusion

There is some good in the song, or that can be made of the song. Where this song suffers is in how these attributes of Jesus are being presented as a veiled promise that calling on the Name of Jesus will yield a temporal fix to your problem. Scripture doesn’t promise to rescue you temporally, His promises are eternal. God is all-powerful, and nothing can tie His hands from acting in time and space, and God’s Word testifies to His Lordship over all of creation. God’s Word also teaches us to focus on eternal things, to lay up treasures in Heaven, not on Earth. We will face trials of many kinds, testing the genuineness of our Faith in Christ Jesus. When we stumble and doubt (we will), we have a God who is ready to forgive and restore those who humble themselves and repent 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,
Jorge

DiM | “Jesus Loves Me” by Chris Tomlin

Presentation1Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship.

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

There has been a lot of movement in the Top 20 Charts. Today we will be taking a look at the #5 song “Jesus Loves Me” by Chris Tomlin. Overall, I think this is a nice chorus for Believers, but not a great song for evangelism to the unbeliever.

Official Music Video

Lyrics (via KLove Website)

Jesus Loves Me

Chris Tomlin from the album Love Ran Red

I was lost
I was in chains
The world had a hold of me

My heart was a stone
I was covered in shame
When He came for me

I couldn’t run, couldn’t run from His presence
I couldn’t run, couldn’t run from His arms

Jesus, He loves me, He loves me, He is for me
Jesus, how can it be, He loves me, He is for me

And it was a fire
Deep in my soul
I’ll never be the same

I stepped out of the dark
And into the light
When He called my name

I couldn’t run, couldn’t run from His presence
I couldn’t run, couldn’t run from His arms

He holds the stars and He holds my heart
With healing hands that bear the scars
The rugged cross where He died for me
My only hope, my everything

Publishing: © 2014 Worship Together Music / sixsteps Songs / S.D.G. Publishing (BMI) / 9T One Songs / Ariose Music (ASCAP) / SHOUT! Music Publishing (APRA)
Writer(s): Chris Tomlin, Reuben Morgan, and Ben Glover

Positive Elements

The Love of Jesus. The first thing that stands out in this song is that it is unambiguously declaring that Jesus Loves us. It begins with a confession that we are born with hearts of stone, covered in shame, and chained to the world.

Ephesians 2:1-10 (ESV) | By Grace Through Faith
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 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— 3 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. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Paul is reminding the Ephesians of what Christ has done for them and who they were before the Gospel of Jesus Christ came to them, they were dead. Similarly, Chris Tomlin’s song starts as a reminder for what we all were before we heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ and before that hearing granted us saving faith in Christ Jesus.

Now, yes, Jesus does love us and there is no running from His presence nor His arms. The context here is odd, because there is a past-tense “couldn’t” of being in His arms and in His presence that suggests this was a positive truth prior to conversion/salvation/Gospel of Jesus Christ. The fact that we cannot escape the presence of God is a comfort to Christians walking in Grace, but it’s not a comfort for those walking in darkness of rebellion. We’ll explore the concern side of this later. For now, let’s look at the assurance we have once we’ve encountered the Grace of God in His Gospel.

John 3:16-21 (ESV) | For God So Loved the World
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 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. 18 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. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

John 10:24-30 (ESV) 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

Notice in the underlined portions point to the negative side of the inescapable presence of God. For the unbeliever, this is a judgement in that the one who rejects the Gospel stands condemned already, for we were all born condemned… dead in sins and trespasses. That is not to say that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a mere litmus test whereby we can make a one-time check to see if someone is saved by God, but by God’s Grace those who believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ will be saved and those whose hearts are never penetrated by the Truth of God’s Word will continue in their condemned state and receive the due penalty of sin.

The Cross of Jesus. I was relieved to hear in the bridge the reference to the rugged cross of Jesus, where He died for our sin. On that cross, He atoned for the sin of mankind, so that all who believe in Christ might be saved.

Concerns

In this song, part of the message of the Gospel, the “brothers, what shall we do?” portion, is coded. Let’s look in Acts to see to what it is I’m referring, and then we’ll flesh it out in the song.

Acts 2:36-41 (ESV) 36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37 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?” 38 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. 39 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.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

What is missing from the song is the call to Repentance. The conversion of the singer is coded in the second verse of the song

I stepped out of the dark
And into the light
When He called my name

Now the “when he called my name” can be lined up to Acts 2:37, “…when they heard this they were cut to the heart…”. The “I stepped out of the dark and into the light” is where I get concerned, do we do this? Is this the answer Peter gave? Repent and be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins… There are a couple of doctrines that attempt to explain what goes on “behind the scenes” of salvation that point to the “automaticness” of salvation based on election, but even those doctrines acknowledge the call to repent.

Luke 24:44-48 (ESV) 44 Then [Jesus] said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.

Conclusion

Chris Tomlin writes many songs, choruses of praise and worship that are used in corporate worship. He is a premier figure in the Passion Conferences which focus on teens and college youth. Tomlin writes songs that are easy to sing along with as a congregation. He has written so many songs, all tend to be short and focused on an area of encouragement, worship, praise, or attitude. For corporate worship, the songs are not bad, but they rarely carry a full Law & Gospel message. If you are singing his songs in a church that teaches sound doctrine, where both Law and Gospel are rightly preached, then this song is a song of encouragement. But this song, on it’s own, doesn’t give the full Gospel, in that it doesn’t give the call or encouragement to Repent. When played on the radio, there is no reason to expect a context of balanced theology (although, I’d love it if more Christian Radio DJs intentionally balanced the song play for more complete theology), so outside of the Church setting, the song gives an incomplete picture, particularly to the unbeliever. You can’t “sell” the Gospel to the unbeliever by focusing on “all of the benefits” without presenting the Truth of the Law of God. That they are a sinner, born dead in sins and trespasses, and that they must repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.

1 Peter 4:1-11 (ESV) | Stewards of God’s Grace
1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. 3 For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. 4 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; 5 but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.

7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

To God be the glory, Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge