DiM | “Just Be Held” by Casting Crowns

Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)).

November 3, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Just Be Held” by Casting Crowns which currently sits at #15 on the 20theCountdownMagazine.

I tend to hold bands like Casting Crowns to a higher standard because they are not simply musicians, they are youth pastors.  Whatever song they (and other “youth pastor” bands) put out is going to be assumed to carry a Christian message because, for one, the song will play on Christian radio stations, and doubly-so because Mark Hall is a youth pastor (article). The context of these DiM posts remains unchanged, we take each song individually to see if it squares with Scripture. We check the messaging of the song to see if it indeed conveys a Christian message (Law and Gospel) to a recognizable target audience (unbeliever or believer or both). While this song falls short, it is important to remember that Casting Crown still produces themed albums, and the vagueness of this song might be addressed more fully in the remaining songs of the album. Such is outside of our context here.

Casting Crowns Official Lyric Video

Lyrics (via Casting Crowns Website)

Just Be Held

Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on

And when you’re tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There’s freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your worlds not falling apart, its falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held

If your eyes are on the storm
You’ll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You’ll know I always have and I always will

And not a tear is wasted
In time, you’ll understand
I’m painting beauty with the ashes
Your life is in My hands

Lift your hands, lift your eyes
In the storm is where you’ll find Me
And where you are, Ill hold your heart
I’ll hold your heart
Come to Me, find your rest
In the arms of the God who wont let go

Publishing: © 2013 Sony/ATV Tree Publishing (BMI) All rights on behalf of Sony/ATV Tree Publishing administered by Sony/ATV. / My Refuge Music (BMI) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) / Songs of Universal, Inc. (BMI) / G650 Music (BMI) / Songs for Emily Music Publishing (ASCAP). All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Writer(s): Mark Hall, Bernie Herms, Matthew West

Discussion

After listening to this song for the first time, I had some strong concerns over the shallowness of the message. After last week’s DiM post, I wanted to make sure that I was giving each song a fair shake, so I asked my wife to assist me in this review. Now before we discuss the song for ourselves, let us review what Casting Crowns share on their website regarding this song.

“I was out with my students surfing in Florida once and we were just learning how to get up and how to do this thing. I never mastered it, but when I got the closest to getting on the board a wave hit me and I went rolling.  I rolled so many times that I realized I didn’t know where up was. I couldn’t figure out where the air was. The light was going everywhere and that was a terrifying feeling of no control (absolutely no control). I think when life’s storm hits us, that’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking for something we can grab onto and steady ourselves…we may even look at our faith that way. I need to grab onto God and steady myself, but what I’m finding even in our recent storm of life with our little girl Hope, and all the things that she’s been through medically, is that I just can’t grab a hold of something. What I’ve got to understand is that God is taking a hold of me. Instead of being the ‘fixer Daddy’ that grabs a hold of whatever I can and makes this work, I’ve got to understand that I’m already in His hands. I’m already being held and I’m already in His control and in His protection, even in the chaos. This song, to me, reminds me that I am being held by Him. As crazy as it is when I look around me, I’ve got to rest in that truth.”

My wife gave the song a listen and after listening to the song, we discussed several points we will be exploring later in this post. Then I asked my wife to read the above description, and her response was, “Well, so the song is a positive secular song with a really moving back-story performed by a professing Christian“. I quite agree.

So, let’s take a look at the lyric of the song. Who is the target audience of this song? Based on the back-story and some context clues in the chorus and in the second verse, I think it is safe to assume this song is intended for believers. While that doesn’t mean we don’t need to hear the Gospel in this song, it merely means that we needn’t make allowances for how this song comes across to an unbeliever. We don’t expect this song to be played for the unbeliever to understand, and that’s okay, as long as we are aware of this.

Verse 1. The general theme of this first verse is that the listener is living his (or her) life as he sees fit,  under his own control and that in so doing he is resisting God from taking care of things for him. There is an odd separation between the Christian life and the “life” that  supposedly hits us out of nowhere. But life doesn’t come out of nowhere… it’s always right here, in our faces. Sure, we sometimes engage in escapism and choose to ignore life for a season, but we are the ones taking a leave of absence… life continues. More importantly, “life” isn’t some impersonal cosmic force like fate or karma. There is no such thing as “life” separate from God. There is only the Creator, the created, sin, death, grace, forgiveness, and the resurrection for those who Believe. So the song is addressing an errant worldview in the listener, but it isn’t identifying that worldview as errant. Instead, it attempt to provide an answer within the framework of that worldview, that the believer who is struggling to keep “life” under control should instead simply let go of his struggling. While some might argue that the message here is to cast your cares on Christ, that isn’t the language of the turn at the end of this verse. The main problem with this verse, is how it encourages the notion that when things get tough, it’s because of something you did or didn’t do, and the solution is to let go and stop holding on. As a blanket problem & solution statement, it falls flat.

James 1:2-4 (ESV) | Testing of Your Faith

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Steadfastness isn’t really the same as let go and stop holding on. It’s more of a hold on and stand firm idea. There is also the phrase, “there is freedom in surrender”… not found in Scripture. But it does seem to be a popular charismatic theme… the idea of “surrendering to the spirit” is central to New Age Presence theology. For most, the idea of discerning the spirits runs contrary to this finding freedom in surrender to the spirit. On a practical level… just what is the listener supposed to do with the notion of “surrendering or letting go”? Sound theology tells us to confess sin, repent, and place our faith in Christ Jesus. In his closing remarks to his second letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul writes, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (ESV)

Chorus. The chorus doesn’t help provide any clarity, really. Sure, the listener is on his knees (either in prayer or in worship), but looking for answers? We look to the scriptures for answers, we pray for strength, forgiveness, mercy, and grace… but prayer is a one-way street. We pray to God, and trust in Him to provide for our needs according to His Will and for His Glory. But when we take this line of the chorus and flip it, what do we get? We get an assumption that spending time on our knees in prayer should produce answers. Do we worship God to get answers or do we worship Him because He is God? No, don’t look to Victoria Osteen for the answer, she’s way off-base. We pray to God because He is God. We make our petitions known to Him, we confess our sins and ask forgiveness, and we worship and trust Him because of Who He Is.

The line in the chorus that really stands out as problematic for me and doubly-so for my wife, is Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place. Presumptuous blanket assertion. Dear Christian, the world is falling apart. It’s going to be utterly destroyed. Your world isn’t yours… and while there are times when things will be better and make sense in this life, that isn’t always the case… because this world is not our home.

1 John 2:15-17 (ESV) | Do Not Love the World

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

If the goal is to rescue the messaging of this song, then I say focus entirely on letting go of Your World. Let go of your dreams, aspirations, self-proclaimed destinies. In this way, we can at least save 2 lines of the song, for God is on His throne. When you hear “just let go” instead think, “do not be anxious for anything”. Our hope is not in our selves, or in our circumstances, our hope is in the Lord.

1 Peter 1:3-9 (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. 6 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.

Peter wasn’t puffing up his readers with false hope in everyone’s world “falling into place” in this life. Peter was pointing them to the Resurrection, to the Kingdom of Heaven. We should do likewise in our speech, prayer, and songs.

In the end, we get the call to just be held. Well, that’s great… I’m sure this is quite the comfort for the believer enduring real trials and tribulations in this life. This is where we need the body of Christ, our brothers and sisters in the household of faith. To encourage us in the Word, to extend grace and good works for the up-building of the body of Christ.

James 2:14-17 (ESV) | Faith Without Works Is Dead

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

So, while the song directs the listener inwardly or surrendering in a mystical sense, God’s word urges us to love one another in Christ Jesus. Modern Evangelicalism is drowning in self-focused emotional mysticism… some of it even taking on a sensual note (thankfully, not in this song).

Verse 2. The second verse is better than what we’ve seen thus far in the song. However, there is still the subtle conditional statements that seem to hinge knowledge of the truth upon what the listener does. IF your eyes are on the storm you’ll doubt…, but IF your eyes are on the cross you’ll know… The target audience of this song is already suffering from thinking they need to do something to merit favor… and the song has given the listener empty commands to “just let go” and “stop holding on” and “just be held”… when the listener needs to hear, “your sins are Forgiven you, You are Mine, no one can take you out of My Hand, I am coming back soon, this world is not your home, I’ve gone to prepare a place for you, etc” the real Promises of God to His Bride, to His Body, to His Children. My point being that the truth is the truth even if your eyes are fixated on the storm. Tell me the truth to get my eyes off of the lie, don’t place the truth behind a contingency of me first getting my eyes off of what I’m fearing. That’s too much like “seek God and then the Gospel will set you free”… which is backward.

Bridge/Close. The best line in the entire song is Come to Me, Find your rest. I have a feeling that this was the intended message of the entire song… but it faltered in its execution. Trying to comfort a believer who is burdened by a false worldview without correcting that worldview is an exercise in futility. It’s like trying to treat an infected wound without removing the foreign object. When it comes to finding rest in Christ Jesus, I think the best place to look is Hebrews 4.

Hebrews 4 (ESV)

Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,

“As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest,’”

although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this passage he said,

“They shall not enter my rest.”

Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”

For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Jesus the Great High Priest

14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Amen. This rest doesn’t come by striving, or by escaping, or by lying to yourself (so-called “positive thinking”); rather, this rest comes by Grace through Faith in Christ Jesus.

Conclusion

If the best line in the song could have been made more clear earlier in the song, I probably wouldn’t have disapproved of it. In fact, I’m still somewhat torn on the disposition of this song on the list, but the errors in the song are significant. We can’t just allow such a sloppy worldview to persist while seeking to encourage a struggling brother/sister in Christ. In the end, the problems outweigh the marginal benefits of vague appeals to churchy sayings like “let go and let God” or “find freedom in surrender” or other such nonsense. As Stewards of God’s Grace and His Written Word, we can do better than that. We must do better than that… Preach the Word, both in season and out of season.

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (ESV)

16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “You Are Loved” by Stars Go Dim

Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)).

October 27, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “You Are Loved” by Stars Go Dim which currently sits at #20 on the 20theCountdownMagazine.

Right up front let me just say that this song gets a disapproval not because it’s a “bad song”; rather, because it’s not a Christian one. There is no Law, no Gospel, no acknowledgement of sin or call to repentance. There’s more clear theology in John 3:16 than this entire song… and I don’t quote John 3:16 by itself (at a minimum John 3:16-18, prefer to go all the way to 21).

Stars Go Dim (Audio) Video

Lyrics (via KLove)

You Are Loved

We hide pain in the weirdest places
Broken souls with smiling faces
Fighting for surrender
For now and the after
Just look around and you’ll see that people
Are scared to say how they really feel, oh
We all need a little honesty

You are loved
If your heart’s in a thousand pieces
If you’re lost and you’re far from reason
Just look up, know you are loved
Just look up, and know you are loved
When it feels like somethings missing
If it hurts but you can’t find healing
Just look up, know you are loved
Just look up, know you are loved. ooh

We’re not made to be superheroes,
Photoshopped, all size zeroes
We’re a light not expected
But not quite perfected yet.
Look up see the sun is shinning
There’s hope on a new horizon
Calling you, calling…

You don’t have to prove yourself
Don’t try to be someone else

Publishing: Word Music, LLC (ASCAP) / Dayspring Music, LLC, Music by Josh Zegan (BMI) / Word Music, LLC, Quick or Die Music (ASCAP) Produced by Casey Brown
Writer(s): Chris Cleveland, Kyle Williams, Josh Zegan, Jeff Sojka

Discussion

No idea who the target of this song is. Is it the unbeliever? Is that the meaning for “broken souls” here? I don’t think so. I think the artist is trying to set the tone for people with hidden hurts. I don’t think the artist sees a distinction between believer and unbeliever for the purpose of this song. Fighting for surrender sounds like a seeker-sensitive paradigm where the Gospel is out there just waiting for us to “surrender to it”… but we have to choose to surrender and that is somehow a fight within us. That’s not how the Gospel is explained/taught in Scripture. Again, I don’t think the artist is trying to make a theological position in this statement, I think he’s focused on surrendering to the notion that we need to stop hiding our hurts, and we all need a little honesty.

The chorus is an anthem declaring to the listener that he/she is loved. The implied reference is God’s love (Just Look Up). It is true that God loves us, and it is also true that hurting people need to be reminded of His Love. It is also true, that God’s love does us no good if we continue in unbelief.

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.”

The second verse moves more purposefully into the everything is beautiful direction. The reference to photoshopped images and being a size zero is woefully shallow. Seriously, that’s what the foolish world considers “deep”, demonizing photoshop images and so-called “body shaming”. A Christian artist should be targeting the weightier matters, like sin and Grace, repentance and forgiveness, Law and Gospel. Is it immoral for magazines to treat their layout and even their photos as art projects? No. Though what is photographed is often times immoral (partial nudity to advertise shampoo or lotion? really?), that the photograph gets edited an manipulated afterward isn’t really much of a problem. That society puts so much stock in Glamour magazine and their ilk is a big problem… and the Church isn’t immune, because we’ve become as shallow as the world around us. It is good to be reminded that our perfection will come in the resurrection (not quite perfected yet). I don’t like the seeker-sensitive appeal to “new horizons”, because God the Holy Spirit is here now, drawing us to Christ Jesus now, and we can have assurance based on what He has already said in His Word. Based on what He has already Promised, by Faith we can look forward with hope in the Resurrection that is to come for all who are of faith in Christ Jesus.

The bridge. You don’t have to prove yourself…. true.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV) 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.

Don’t try to be someone else… let’s tap the brakes for a moment. I understand what is being said at the superficial level, don’t waste your life trying to be like the models in the magazines, the actors on the screen, or the person whose life you covet. But there is a deeper sense where this can wind up butting up against the call to repentance.

Ephesians 4:17-24 (ESV) | The New Life

17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

I don’t think the song scratches very far under the surface, but it bears mentioning that the call to repentance in many real ways is the call to be set apart from our former selves, to become new creatures in Christ Jesus, not by effort, but by His Grace through Faith in the One who is perfecting us. His Grace is freely given, but that doesn’t mean we walk in auto-pilot, the Christian life is the daily putting off of the fleshly, sinful, self in humble repentance and walking by faith according to the Spirit of God that brought us to life in Christ Jesus.

Conclusion

I’m not happy having to disapprove of this song. I like the melody of the song, the arrangement, and the strong vocals. I just don’t see it conveying a Christian message. At best, it conveys a worldly spiritual message of “you are loved”.  It carries no more weight than an a pep talk from Oprah, Dr. Phil, or Pharrell Williams. The song isn’t “bad” and it doesn’t blatantly teach false-doctrine, it’s just unprofitable for teaching or evangelism. It is encouraging in the general “you’ve got a friend in me” sense, but there’s no substance to the song. We can do better… we have the Truth of God’s Word and the Only Way to God, Jesus Christ His Son.

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (ESV)

16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “Grace Wins” by Matthew West

Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)).

October 20, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Grace Wins” by Matthew West which currently sits at #19 on the 20theCountdownMagazine.

I confess that the first time I heard the song, I thought I was going to like it. At the end of the song, I was a little unsure of what the song was pitting against Grace, so I had to carefully listen a second time with the lyrics in front of me. The song seems to suffer from category errors and shallow theology. On the one hand, I feel like I know what Matthew West is trying to say with this song… that no one is out of reach of God’s Grace. That there is forgiveness for all who call upon the Name of the Lord in repentance. However, there are so many problems in what is presented in the lyrics that we simply cannot recommend this song.

Matthew West VEVO (Audio) Video

Lyrics (via KLove)

Grace Wins

In my weakest moment I see You
Shaking Your head in disgrace
I can read the disappointment
Written all over Your face

Here come those whispers in my ear
Saying, “who do you think you are?”
Looks like you’re on your own from here
‘Cause grace could never reach that far

But in the shadow of that shame
Beat down by all the blame
I hear You call my name saying it’s not over
And my heart starts to beat so loud now
Drowning out the doubt
I’m down, but I’m not out

There’s a war between guilt and grace
And they’re fighting for a sacred space
But I’m living proof
Grace wins every time
No more lying down in death’s defeat
Now I’m rising up in victory
Singing, hallelujah
Grace wins every time

Words can’t describe the way it feels
When mercy floods a thirsty soul
The broke inside begins to heal
And grace returns what guilty stole

And in the shadow of that shame
Beat down by all the blame
I hear You call my name saying it’s not over
And my heart starts to beat so loud now
Drowning out the doubt
I’m down, but I’m not out

There’s a war between guilt and grace
And they’re fighting for a sacred space
But I’m living proof
Grace wins every time
No more lying down in death’s defeat
Now I’m rising up in victory
Singing, hallelujah

Grace wins every time

For the prodigal son
Grace wins
For the woman at the well
Grace wins
For the blind man and the beggar
Grace wins
For always and forever
Grace wins
For the lost out on the streets
Grace wins
For the worst part of you and me
Grace wins
For the thief on the cross
Grace wins
For a world that is lost

There’s a war between guilt and grace
And they’re fighting for a sacred space
But I’m living proof
Grace wins every time
No more lying down in death’s defeat
Now I’m rising up in victory
Singing, hallelujah
Grace wins every time, every time
Yeah, I’m living proof
Grace wins every time

Publishing: © 2015 Highly Combustible Music / Atlas Music Publishing / House Of Story Music (ASCAP) (Admin. by Atlas Music Publishing obo itself, Highly Combustible Music and House Of Story Music)
Writer(s): Matthew West

Discussion

I was going to go through the song as usual, but I fear losing sight of the forest through the trees. I will say that the line in the chorus that gives me great heartburn is “There’s a war between guilt and grace and they’re fighting for a sacred space but I’m living proof Grace wins every time“. We are living proof of the victory of Grace over guilt? Really? No. The Resurrected Christ is the living proof of the Victory of God’s Grace over sin and death. Today, lets just focus on the problem of the forest without getting tangled up in the trees.

There are several key terms missing from this lyric: Law, Gospel, sin, confession, repentance, forgiveness, and the Cross. I’m not saying every song needs to include every word, but if the song is about the Grace of God that surely some of these terms would be included.

Throughout the song, guilt is pitted against grace. This is a glaring category error. Exactly what is being compared? My guilt versus my grace? My guilt versus God’s Grace? God’s Judgement versus God’s Grace? The song asserts that there is some war being waged between guilt and grace. No matter how I try to expand these definitions, I cannot get around the category error. The war being waged within our members (as Believers) is that between our sinful flesh and the Spirit of God living in us.

Guilt isn’t merely a feeling, it is a reality

We are all sinful people and we are guilty of sin. In fact, we are born dead in sin and trespasses, the guilt of Adam’s sin is what we are born into. There is but one remedy for sin, that is the Gospel of Grace, that God would send His Son to bear the full punishment for sin in our place on the Cross. It isn’t like our guilt was just forgotten, Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God paid the full penalty of sin by offering up His flesh and His blood as the final sacrifice. My Grace through Faith in Him our guilt is exchanged for His Righteousness, so that in the Day of our Lord Jesus Christ we who are of Faith will be seen guiltless, joined with Christ in His death and Resurrection. Maranatha!

The shallowness of this song is reflected in the abuse of the word “guilty”. It uses the word in place of “sin” in a few lines, but it doesn’t fully commit to the Truth that we are sinful beings, guilty under the Law. We’ll address this later on when we discuss Law, but for now the song uses “guilty” as an out-of-place feeling of blame or condemnation. There’s a big problem with that when we consider the fleshly problem of self-righteousness that refuses to acknowledge that we are indeed sinful and bear the guilt of that sin if not for the Grace of God in Jesus Christ.

Grace: Christ’s Finished Work on the Cross

While we still talk of God’s common grace to creation in delaying the coming judgement, this grace being referred to in this song (I assume) is God’s Saving Grace. I take issue with the notion that God’s Grace continues to wage war against anything… Christ’s finished work on the cross is all-sufficient. The Holy Spirit of God works on the hearts of men, drawing them to Christ. The victory has already been won as far as Grace and Sin are concerned, for Jesus Christ is reigning and ruling in Heaven and we wait for Him to return in the Last Day. We experience God’s Grace every day, and we pray for it, “Give us this day our daily bread” humbly. But the Grace of God has no contender… nothing can overcome the Grace of God. As Paul wrote in his introduction to the letter to the Romans.

Romans 1:1-7 (ESV) | Greeting

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,

To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 1:16-17 (ESV) | The Righteous Shall Live by Faith

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

The focal point of God’s Grace is the cross, where a Holy and Just God poured out His full Wrath against sin upon God the Son (Jesus Christ), the pure and spotless Lamb of God, so that He might Justly extend Grace and Mercy to sinful man so that by Faith they might not perish but be born again to everlasting life.

Romans 3:19-30 (ESV) | The Righteousness of God Through Faith

19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.

The Man/Woman of Faith is not Condemned

Now let’s address what seems to be a major concern in the song… that of blame, shame, and condemnation. When we rightly understand sin, guilt, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then we can rest assured that in Christ Jesus we are made righteous by Faith.

Romans 8:1-11 (ESV) | Life in the Spirit

8 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.10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 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.

Law and Gospel are not at War, they Work Together

One final thought on what might be (mis)represented by the song’s assertion that there’s a war between grace and guilt, is the error of thinking there is a war between Law and Gospel. The Law points out sin in our flesh and crushes us into humble submission unto repentance so that the Gospel can bring us out of sin and death and into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Conclusion

I’m not happy with the song. I’m not happy having to disapprove of it. Though I do think the writer was trying to say something good, the lyrics didn’t deliver and in-fact introduce a lot of confusion in its poor treatment of terms and categories. I’ll concede I may have been a bit harsh on this one, but I simply couldn’t find a rescuing hermeneutic that could be applied to the song. It was simply errant.

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “Air I Breathe” by Mat Kearney

Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)).

October 13, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Air I Breathe” by Mat Kearney which currently sits at #20 on the 20theCountdownMagazine’s top 20 chart.

Well… I hope that this song has popped onto the top 20 charts is a short-lived anomaly. There is nothing in this song that conveys a Christian message. No Law, No Gospel, just a few words and some imagery taken from Christianity.

Mat Kearney VEVO Lyric Video

Lyrics (via KLove)

Air I Breath

Born and raised under the rain and a Western Wind
Felt the weight trying to live up to they say I am.
Is it any wonder Shame comes calling my first name
Is there any question if I’m the one here left to blame

It’s the same fight all over again
It’s the same bite breaking on my skin
It’s the same light when you let me in
You let me in you let me in.

You are the air I breathe
You are the song I bleed
You are the war that I can’t win
This is my white flag in the wind
Every word you speak
Is the air I breathe.

I feel like a contender
Bringing my fist to pistol war
I surrender that I need you now and you’ve loved me more
It’s like an ocean over my head and I’m under the light
In slow motion tonight

It’s the same fight all over again
It’s the same bite breaking on my skin
It’s the same light when you let me in
You let me in you let me in.

You are the air I breathe
You are the song I bleed
You are the war that I can’t win
This is my white flag in the wind
Every word you speak
Is the air I breathe.

I hear you calling my name out name out
Is there any other way now
I hear you calling my name out name out
I got nothing left to say now say now

You are the air I breathe
You are the song I bleed
You are the war that I can’t win
This is my white flag in the wind
Every word you speak
Is the air I breathe.

Discussion

Who is the target audience for this song? I have no idea. Not from the lyrics, nor from the video. None. Is there any reason to assume it is a song being sung to the Christian God of the Bible? Well… lets work through the song.

Verse 1. The singer felt the weight of trying to live up to they say I am. What does that sentence mean? If the use of “I am” at the end of the sentence is supposed to point to the LORD God who told Moses how to refer to Him?

Exodus 3:13-15 (ESV)

Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.

If this is what is intended, why slip in the “they say” piece? Are you accusing folks of misrepresenting God? The weight of living up to God’s Law is unbearable for sinful man. For those whose hope is in their own righteousness, there is no hope. All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of the Great I AM. That’s the Law. The Law crushes us, exposing our sin and killing us for it. If this is indeed the intended meaning of this line, we should expect a Christian song to then share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Call the crushed sinner to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin.

But, no… after rightly pointing out that our sinfulness rightly brings shame upon the sinner, the song then jumps to some odd reference about being left to blame. To blame? The unbeliever stands condemned by his unbelief. Guilty. In one sense, I could see it saying “as a sinful man, you have no one to blame but yourself”. That’s not the vibe I’m getting from this line. Let’s move on and see where it goes.

Pre Chorus. It’s the same fight all over again It’s the same bite breaking on my skin. There is a mention of a fight and a bite breaking on the skin. Is this the war against our flesh of sin? If so, without having mentioned the Gospel of Grace, this isn’t a war that the unbeliever fights. The unbeliever is dead in sins and trespasses. So the singer is a Christian? If so, then what’s with the crushing weight of trying to live up to God’s standard. There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. We walk by faith according to the Spirit… when we sin, the Law convicts us of our sins, leading us to repentance. I hope the chorus clears this up.

It’s the same light when you let me in You let me in you let me in. Wait, who is letting whom into where? To whom is this singer singing? Is it to the “they say” who blame the singer for not living up to the I AM? Suffice it to say I’m a little baffled by Mat Kearney’s theology at this point.

Chorus. So, who is now the air that the singer breathes? The politically correct, benefit-of-the-doubt answer would be “God”. But so far, there is no compelling reason to substantiate that assertion. Watch the video… there is a general cloud motif with people faces where the backs of their heads are morphed into clouds or vegetation. Are we dealing with some sort of pantheism or panentheism? No clue… play this song on a secular radio station and that line could simply be the singer’s girlfriend. You are the song I bleed. Well, we have a blood reference, must be the blood of Christ, right? wait… no… somehow the singer is bleeding… a song. A song that is also the air that he breathes. You are the war that I can’t win This is my white flag in the wind. and a war that the singer can’t win, so he’s surrendering. wow. So, if the singer is singing to God, he’s finally “surrendering” as he breathes God in and bleeds the song of God while fighting a hopeless war against God. That is, if God is the referent.

Verse 2. I wanted to stop, but the thought from the chorus seems to carry over a bit into the second verse just before the rather wonky breakdown underwater.

I feel like a contender
Bringing my fist to pistol war
I surrender that I need you now and you’ve loved me more

I’m completely lost in whatever scenario Mat is trying to convey, much less where his theology rests. Does he really think he’s fighting against God? Sinning against God, yes… but that’s not us resisting God like a child who refuses to be hugged. That’s the wrong idea of sin. It’s the wrong understanding of surrender, too. It’s not like we are resisting being loved and forgiven and if only we’d just let go, God would be able to hug us and forgive us. That’s nonsense. But that seems to be the way in which Mat here is trying to depict Law and Gospel.

I’m not sure how to diagram the rest of the song… verse 2 has that odd breakdown and then we’re back to the pre chorus and some refrains… and I’m pretty much done with this song.

Other Notes

You may have noticed that at the end of the song lyrics, there are no citations for production, copyright, or writers. I normally pull the lyrics from KLove or Air1, but neither has any of the attributions for this song. The VEVO video, KLove, and Air1 all say that this song comes from his latest album “Just Kids”. Even Mat Kearney’s website has the VEVO video we are using. So, I thought I’d check out what information I could find on the CD sales page at Amazon. Found the album, but this song isn’t listed. The following comment explains why:

matkearney01

I looked for the Target.com version, still no bonus track. It seems to get a version of this album with this song on it, you have to order from Christianbook.com

Why do that? Unfortunately, I read through several bios of Mat Kearney, and listened to a few other songs on this album… He isn’t a Christian artist seeking to glorify God, he’s a musical artist seeking to earn a living appealing to both the secular and Christian markets. He only manages to nominally work in some “churchy” phrases here and there, but they don’t make sense in a Christian context, not when we try to discern his theology.

Conclusion

I’m disappointed that CCM would promote this song that only exists in special “christian” versions of his album. That’s terrible. As for this song, it doesn’t stand on its own. There is no redeeming this contorted mangle of thoughts set to a beat. In closing, let us look to the encouragement found in 2 Peter 3.

2 Peter 3 (ESV)

The Day of the Lord Will Come

This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Final Words

Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “The River” by Jordan Feliz

Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)).

October 06, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “The River” by Jordan Feliz which currently sits at #18 on the 20theCountdownMagazine.

Overall, this song has a very catchy rhythm and melody. The song has a Monet quality to it in that there seems to be a decent theme to the song when viewed from a distance, but it loses clarity in the details when observed up close. In trying to unpack the theology driving the song, I got confused, which is typically a red-flag for emergent or progressive “christianity”. Let’s check out the song.

Jordan Feliz VEVO Lyric Video

Lyrics (via KLove)

The River

I know a place
Where we can go
To lay the troubles down eating your soul
I know a place
Where mercy flows
Take the stains make you whiter than snow

Like a tide it is rising up
Deep inside
A current that moves and makes you come alive
Living water
That brings the dead to life

(chorus)
We’re going down to the river
Down to the river
Down to the river to pray
Let’s get washed by the water
Washed by the water
And rise up in amazing grace
Let’s go down, down, down to the river
You will leave changed
Let’s go down, down, down to the river
Never the same

I’ve seen it move
In my own life
Took me from dusty roads into Paradise
All of my dirt
All of my shame
Drowned in the streams that have made me born again

Like a tide it is rising up
Deep inside
A current that moves and makes you come alive
Living water
That brings the dead to life

(chorus)

Let’s go down
Let’s go down
Let’s go down

(chorus)

Publishing: © 2015 CentricSongs (SESAC) / Colby Wedgeworth Music (ASCAP) / Capitol CMG Amplified & Red Red Pop (SESAC)
Writer(s): Words and Music by Jordan Feliz, Colby Wedgeworth, and Josh Silverberg

Discussion

The high-altitude view of the song displays a general theme of repentance pointing to the imagery of baptism (going down to the River). However, the connection of the River to baptism doesn’t stay consistent throughout the song. So that forces us to look more closely to the details, and that’s where we hit some snags. 

Who is the target audience? The song lyrics don’t make it clear to whom the song is being sung. If the song is being sung to unbelievers in need of faith, repentance, and baptism… then why not just stick with the imagery of the new birth in the baptism? If the song is a call to Christians to repent and be forgiven, why is the reference to baptism something that lies ahead of the singer and audience rather than a reminder of your baptism? Since this is a new song from a new artist, I thought I’d check to see if there is any context provided.

from: Artist Profile @ NewReleaseToday.com

The best example of his singular vision is the record’s powerhouse first single, “The River.” While it sounds like a pulse-quickening mega-hit from the first listen–instantly singable and repeatedly listenable– the song actually rides on a deep current of soul-driven funk influence that serves to set it apart from other contemporary radio fare.

“I’m a big melody guy,” Jordan admits, “and musically ‘The River’ is my own personal happy place. It’s a great driving groove that just feels good to sing. The song itself is an invitation to anyone who hears it–whether they’re stuck in pride and legalism or wallowing down in the mess they’ve made of their lives–it’s an invitation to take whatever we have and to run to Jesus. It’s an invitation to go down in amazing grace and to rise up being made new.”

Okay, so his intended audience is everyone. He’s using the imagery of the River as a catch-all for baptism of a new believer AND repentance and forgiveness for the already baptized. Also, we see some strong emergent language in the “whether they’re stuck in pride and legalism or whatever” comment. We’ll have to keep an eye on this guy. If you’d like to read more about him, simply follow the link.

Verse 1: Here we see an introduction to the idea that there is a place we can go to be made clean. This is true. The blood of Jesus Christ, shed at the cross washes us clean by God’s grace through faith. But this isn’t so much a place we can go as it is a point of faith. Some excellent passages we can look to for this wording of washing away of sin can be found in Psalm 51 and Isaiah 1.

Psalm 51:7-12 (ESV)

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Isaiah 1:16-20 (ESV)

16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
    remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
17     learn to do good;
seek justice,
    correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
    plead the widow’s cause.

18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
    they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
    they shall become like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
    you shall eat the good of the land;
20 but if you refuse and rebel,
    you shall be eaten by the sword;
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

What is important to note with these passages, is that neither one is a call to the unbeliever. In Psalm 51, David is chosen of God, but he has sinned before God and is repenting. In Isaiah, the Prophet of the LORD is speaking to rebel Judah, His chosen people who have sinned against Him. I mention this because many take these passages as proof-texts for decisional regeneration. For the unbeliever to come to faith, the Holy Spirit must open his eyes and ears to the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We aren’t born alive and merely struggling with sin, we are born dead in sins and trespasses. We need to be regenerated by the Spirit of the Living God in order for us to make the confession of faith.

Pre-chorus: This pre-chorus can be describing the working of the Holy Spirit, drawing individuals to the knowledge of Christ, and convicting believers of their sin so that they might repent and be forgiven. Unfortunately, it also describes the emotional manipulation that is performed in many a seeker-sensitive service to compel people to “come down to the front to make a decision for Jesus today“. It’s a popular pattern/technique. Once the preacher is finished giving life-tips, he give a queue to the worship band to start playing some slow, emotive “worship” music in the background, as the speaker makes a decisional sales-pitch to any who “don’t know Jesus as their personal savior” or “have not yet asked Jesus into their hearts“. As the music swells in the background, the speaker will give the audience time to give an indication of their willingness to “give Jesus their heart”… Maybe even include a call for those who’d like to “re-dedicate their lives to the LORD” to come to the front. This serves a dual purpose, it allows the speaker to get the sense that their words bore fruit (people walking forward) and it gives others room to follow the commands without clearly identifying which group they are in, so no one needs to know this is their first time of “giving their hearts to Jesus” until they are ready to say so. None of this is Scriptural. This is an emotional technique that works in any environment where group psychology and dynamics is at play. Cults do it, Fraternities do it, workforce seminars, etc. They do it because it works. We are emotional beings, and our emotions are easily worked once we’ve established a common ground. The point being that this pre-chorus is only as good as your doctrine.

Chorus: So, we are going down to the river to pray? In the seeker model of church service, there are lots of altar calls for many reasons. The goal is simply to get folks to fill up the front of the church for an emotional experience and prayer. Most of the time the intention is good, but misguided due to an over-emphasis on emotional experience and not enough focus on Scripture. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ (Romans 10:17); it doesn’t say “faith comes by weeping and wailing at the front of the church”. Please understand that I’m not saying that weeping (I tend to weep), wailing, or even coming to the front of the church is a bad thing. I’m saying the hyper-focus on emotional experiences is a bad thing. I’m also fed up with the emotional manipulation techniques… don’t whip people up into an emotional mess, preach the Word.

Verse 2: Okay, this is where things get a little odd for me. We are not yet in Paradise, we still walk this earth in sinful tents of flesh. There is a continual need for those who are of the household of faith to confess, repent, and be forgiven of sin. We are not yet perfect. The singer is pointing to his own experience as authoritative for the listener (I’ve seen it move in my own life). If everything else the message is solid, this might be considered a minor point… but the whole song has me a bit confused so I have to present this as problem on equal footing. Emergents don’t hold a high-view of Scripture, they lean on experience and personal understanding for their theology. Jordan can’t point to himself and then say he’s been taken into paradise. He hasn’t been, he’s still on this earth, and if he has Faith, then he is a sojourner in this fallen world. If he lacks faith, he is very much still a part of this world. Dear Christian, don’t point to yourselves and don’t get cute with offering exaggerated promises or benefits of being a Christian… point to Christ always, and testify of your faith in Him.

Thoughts on Baptism

I think it is worth mentioning that attempting to provide a corrective mechanism for enjoying this song needs to be done differently for Creedal Baptists, Presbyterians, and Lutherans. I don’t like splicing up the denominations in DiM posts, but where Baptism is concerned I think it bears mentioning. Rather than try to speak as an authority for each of these doctrinal positions, I am simply going to share what Scripture says and leave the doctrinal discussion for you and your Pastor. We’ll start with the Great Commission and move on to the Apostolic writings. Again, these should be taken to your pastor if you have any questions regarding them.

Matthew 28:16-20 (ESV) | The Great Commission

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Acts 2:36-40 (ESV)

Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 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?” 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. 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.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”

Romans 6:1-11 (ESV) | Dead to Sin, Alive to God

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. For 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.

Ephesians 4:1-7 (ESV) | Unity in the Body of Christ

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in allBut grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Colossians 2:6-15 (ESV) | Alive in Christ

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

1 Peter 3:18-22 (ESV)

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

These are the clear passages that teach on Baptism. Your doctrine of baptism will greatly affect your take on some of the lines of today’s song.

Conclusion

I’m not happy with the song. It is muddled and confused. How bad or salvageable the song is will depend greatly on your doctrine/confession of Salvation, Faith, Regeneration, Justification, Sanctification and Baptism. I don’t think the song can be fully salvaged for any of the orthodox doctrines. I suspect the artist is heavily seeker-sensitive / emergent and cannot recommend him to anyone at this time.

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge