DiM | “Bulletproof” by Citizen Way

Presentation1CCM Edition.

July 11, 2017. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Bulletproof” by Citizen Way which currently sits at #6 on 20TheCountdownMagazine.

Musically, this song is fun. It has a bit of that Bruno Mars’ retro-chic feel, which is nice. Citizen Way does a good job of performing this genre, though it’s really hard to match Bruno’s vocal ability. This is one of the better songs I’ve heard on the CCM charts of late. There is a mention of the cross, but the song spends so much time in pep-rally, “I’m untouchable” mode that it stays in the middle category on our list. There is truth to the main point of the song, but it has to be properly framed, because what’s missing from the song is the fact that in this life we will face struggles of many kinds, and we don’t always win in the temporal sense. Let’s give the song a listen and then read through the lyrics.

Official Lyric Video

Lyrics (via MetroLyrics)

(Verse 1)
I used to live like I was under attack
Dodging arrows from my past
I had no hope for tomorrow
Felt too much pressure
Yes, I thought I would crack
But now there’s no looking back
I’m moving forward cuz’ I know

I got my armor now
No fear, no doubt can shoot me down, yea
I got my armor now
No fear no doubt
Gonna shoot me down down down down down down down…

I’m bulletproof
Because of you, because of you
And I’m bulletproof
Because of you, because of you
Your love ain’t away
Now I’m not afraid
No matter what the world may say
Or what they do
I am bulletproof
Because of you, because of you you you

(Verse 2)
I know you got this whole thing under control
My soul is untouchable because you’ve already won me
My victory is not in this flesh and bone
It’s in the cross that I know, nobody’s taking it from me

I got my armor now
No fear, no doubt can shoot me down, yea
I got my armor now
No fear no doubt
Gonna shoot me down down down down down down down…


And I don’t have to fear no more, worry no more (4x)

(Bridge 4x)


Overall, the song is an attempt to encourage Christians in the Promise of the Gospel. I get it. We need the encouragement of the Gospel daily. What we don’t need is an attempt to present the Promises of the Gospel as if they are aimed at temporal victory/glory. The Promises of the Gospel are eternal. Christ bore our sin and died on that cross in our place, rose from the grave and ascended into heaven so that by His Grace through faith we might be resurrected in Him to eternal life rather than the eternal punishment we justly deserve. Everything that takes place in our temporal lives is in service to this eternal Gospel, and nowhere are we promised a temporal life of victory or invincibility. It isn’t we who are bulletproof, it’s the Promise of Salvation through Jesus Christ that is bulletproof. The focus on the singer being bulletproof (thus the listener singing along) is a problem in this song. They do attempt to anchor that invincibility in the second verse to the cross. However, the overall tone of this “bulletproof” anthem presents a shiny and polished cross, where the truth is far less glamorous. Let’s work through the song quickly and then examine some Scripture.

Verse 1. A common theme in CCM and American Evangelicalism as a whole is the idea that your mindset determines your reality. This is a pagan notion that is prevalent in the Word of Faith (WoF) movement. Your mindset only affects your perception of reality, it doesn’t determine it. Putting on rose-colored glasses doesn’t change the world pink, you’ve intentionally made it so everything looks pink to you. I write this in response to what is going on in the first line of this verse, I used to live like I was under attack. Dear Christian, you are under attack, whether you are aware of it or not. Having a change in mindset doesn’t change the reality of the war that is being waged. It’s odd that the writer(s) would make this something of the past while talking about now having the Armor of God. Again, the Armor of God doesn’t make the attacks cease. The attacks don’t stop, the arrows/darts keep flying, our flesh still craves sin.

Pre-Chorus. The turn in the pre-chorus follows the whole “positive confession” model. Where you declare something to be the case in hopes that it will actually be true. We see this in the culture that says, “you can be whatever you want to be” or “don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something”. It’s pep-talk fodder. Self-esteem boosting flattery. The truth is that we each have gifts and talents and they are not all the same, and there are things we cannot do, no matter how badly we might want to. No fear or doubt can shoot you down? Are you not still living in a tent of flesh? Sin still lives in your members, in your flesh, and that flesh wages war against the Spirit. The truth of the Christian life isn’t of bulletproof victory in this temporal life, but of repentance and the forgiveness of sin.

Chorus. Putting the best possible construction on this chorus necessitates a clear defining of the word “bulletproof”. It isn’t that we aren’t actually being shot at, it isn’t that there isn’t a concern out there, or that there is no war, but that we are safe in Christ, eternally speaking. This distinction is important to maintain, because the reality is that our flesh is constantly drawn us to step outside of that protection and into sin. That draw is constant. Our flesh is corrupt. That is why we die in the flesh and why it is so important that we maintain an eternal perspective when holding onto the Promise of the Gospel.

Verse 2. So this verse brings in the reference to the cross. I’m very grateful for its mention. There is also a helpful distinction made about our hope not being in our flesh and bone. I just wish there was somewhere in this song a mention of repentance, or at least the acknowledgement that we do still sin, still stumble, still fail, even as Christians. That’s honestly. That’s reality. That’s Biblically sound.

Okay, so let’s look at what Scripture has to say regarding this life and the Promises of the Gospel.

John 6:35-40 (ESV) Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

1 John 5:10-12 (ESV) Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

1 Peter 1:3-12 (ESV) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 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.

The promise of the Gospel is in eternity. Now, in the interim between being dead in sins and trespasses and the Resurrection of the Saints in the Last Day, we are alive in the Spirit by the Grace of God while still walking in sinful flesh. This calls for daily repentance, mortification of the flesh and it’s passions/desires.

Luke 9:23-26 (ESV) | Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

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.

Romans 7:14-25 (ESV) For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

This struggle of being simultaneously sinner and saint (latin: simul justus et peccator) is the every-day reality for Christians. It is in this sense that we much take up our crosses daily. Too often we take Christ’s words to be pointing to our need to do some sacrificial good work, but it’s more than that, we are to consider ourselves to sin and resist the urges from within our very own flesh. This is the work of the Law of God in our hearts, this is why we must still hear the preaching of the law, full-force, with none of its edges smoothed out. Our sin is immeasurable and true sanctification in this life will be an endless revealing of the depth of our sin. Praise be to God for the Promise of the Gospel, for Christ Jesus’s death and resurrection, for our baptism into that death and resurrection, being made clean by the washing of the water with the Word, for all who are in Christ have been clothed in His Righteousness, so that in the last day we will be raised again to new and eternal life with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


The song is on the better side of most of CCM, but it still is stuck in that pep-rally, over-emphasized positivity that I fear sets up false expectations for walking in this temporal life as Regenerate Christians. The hardships don’t go away, but we are not without hope. It is a fun song, and I hope that I’ve given you some keys to giving this fun song a best-possible construction.

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

In Christ Jesus,

DiM | “When I’m With You” by Citizen Way

CCM Radio Edition.

disapproveMay 24, 2016. Today we’ll be taking a look at “When I’m With You” by Citizen Way which currently sits at #19 on the20theCountdownMagazine.

Sidenote: Can we please just stop cop-opting secular love songs? Can we please stop “dating God”?  The world woos their lovers by proclaiming how great a person they become “when they’re with that other person”. The unspoken flip side of the coin is “I’m lost without you” sort of thing. Which, of course, is an exaggerated emotional sentiment intended to woo. It is not our job to woo God. We cannot, by our words or deeds, curry favor with God. We’ll get into that more in our discussion, but for now I’m just generally quite frustrated with the “Jesus is my boyfriend/girlfriend” trope in CCM. *sigh*

Okay, so let’s talk about today’s song. There are a couple of nuggets in the song that bear some truth, and at least it names Jesus (which makes it a bit more direct that much of what is playing on CCM radio), but there is some confused theology in the song. I think the core of the song is the confused theology, not the nuggets of truth. The song doesn’t stand on its own, and since it falls in the “dating God” vein, it falls in the “Disapprove” category for us.



Lyrics (via KLove)

These are the things that I need to pray
Because I can’t find peace any other way
I’m a mess underneath and I’m just too scared to show it

Everything’s not fine
And I’m not okay
But it’s nice to know
I can come this way

When I’m with You
I feel the real me finally breaking through
It’s all because of You, Jesus
Anytime, anywhere, any heartache
I’m never too much for You to take
There’s only love
There’s only grace
When I’m with You

Nobody knows me like You do
No need for walls, You see right through
Every hurt, every scar, every secret… You just love me

I’m breathing in
I’m innocent
It’s like my heart’s on fire again
I’m not afraid
I’m not ashamed
I’m safe when I am with You

So I’m here just as I am
Bruised or broken
I don’t have to pretend

Publishing: Calhoun Tunes / Fair Trade Music Publishing (ASCAP) (admin. by Music Services, Inc.); Mr. Blue Sky / Fair Trade Tunes (SESAC) (admin. by Music Services, Inc.); and 2 Hour Songs / Centric Songs (admin. by Centricity Music Publishing). All rights reserved.
Writer(s): Ben Calhoun; Josh Calhoun; Seth Mosely


This song is completely bent in on itself. The target audience is the singer. The secondary audience is anyone who wants to be like the singer. Jesus gets a by-name honorable mention. I know that’s a hard introduction to this discussion, but I’ll explain what I mean here. We’re starting with what is wrong with this song, and only then will I point out the truth nuggets I mentioned earlier.

The intro to the song tells us that these are the things the singer needs to pray… why? because he wants to feel better. This isn’t about bringing glory to God or proclaiming the cross, this is about making me feel better, making me feel at peace. What’s worse? This “prayer” we’re about to be shown is the only way the artist finds peace. I have a big problem with that… because he’s finding peace in the prayer he’s about to pray… not in what Christ has done on the cross for us, or what Christ has proclaimed to us in His Word.

When we hit the chorus, the opening line is When I’m with You, which jumps straight to… I’m not sure what, really. Let me explain, when we talk about being with someone having an impact, by default we are suggesting that the opposite happens whenever we are NOT with that person. So what are we contrasting here, theologically? Unbeliever versus Believer? Unregenerate versus Regenerate? Natural Child of darkness versus Adopted Child of Light? Or is this more reflective of the emotional yo-yo that is part and parcel of seeker-mergent evangelicalism where you have to do something to “feel the Presence of God” in your life again after having grown cold or worn-out (or burned out from all of your zeal-driven works). So, pausing those questions for a moment, let’s see what is happening when the singer is with Jesus… I feel the real me finally breaking through. Okay, now I’m confused. Is this the “real me” that is a mess underneath or the me that is at peace because I have been forgiven? How does one “be with Jesus” without repentance? Yeah, this is seeker sensitive theology, the notion that church is a place where unbelievers born in sin are encouraged to come to church to get a taste of the Presence of God so that they might at last open up their sinful hearts to God so that He can then forgive them of their sin and make them new creatures. That’s not the role of the church, and that is not how the Bible describes regenerating faith. You don’t convince a dead man to consider what it might be like to be made alive in Christ. You preach God’s Word and God the Holy Spirit breaths life to dead bones.

Let’s get review some scripture passages, for their greater contexts I strongly urge you to read Romans and Ephesians in full.

Ephesians 2:1-10 (ESV) | By Grace Through Faith

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Romans 3:9-31 (ESV) | No One Is Righteous

What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
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. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

The Righteousness of God Through Faith

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 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. 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.

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. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

Romans 10:5-17 (ESV) | The Message of Salvation to All

For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For“everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

The heart that believes the Word of Christ and the mouth that Confesses the Word of Christ has already been made alive with Christ by the Grace of God, who has granted saving faith to the hearer of the Word of Christ. And having been brought to life in Christ, we have this Promise from Him that He will never leave us.

Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)

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.”

This is where we find Peace, in the finished work of Christ on the Cross, in the Promises made to us from our Resurrected and Returning Savior, Jesus Christ our LORD. Placing your faith in your prayer is missing the point, and focusing on your own works. Our faith is not in our prayers, it is in the One to whom we pray. The prayer of faith isn’t measured by zeal or feeling, but by the Truth of God’s Word… the Person and Work of Christ Jesus.

As for the truth nuggets in the song, the idea that we are a total mess, that we’re not okay, is mostly true. The Truth is that we are much worse than these words convey. That wouldn’t be a ding on this song on its own, it is a short song after all. The problem here is that while the artist is right that we aren’t expected to clean ourselves up prior to coming to God (I can come this way) there is no mention of repentance nor forgiveness, even. It’s as though it just not an issue. Going back to the the real me finally breaking through we don’t have mention of being made a new creation, or of dealing at all with our sin or our sinful natures. That’s why these are mere nuggets of truth. Later in the chorus, the singer declares that with Jesus there’s only Love and Grace. Well, that’s not the whole story. There’s also Justice, Wrath, and Forgiveness by the Blood of Jesus shed on the Cross. It’s all there, together, in unity. It is dangerous to try to present the Gospel apart from the Law (and yes, equally so to present Law without Gospel).

I find the bridge particularly grating. It’s designed to serve as an anthem for all of those in the audience who want to be like the singer… it’s completely focused on the self

I’m breathing in
I’m innocent
It’s like my heart’s on fire again
I’m not afraid
I’m not ashamed
I’m safe when I am with You

It’s all about “I” in this portion. We aren’t innocent in our own right, we’ve been declared righteous according to Christ’s substitutionary atonement for our sin. Christ died for our sin, so that in Him we might be declared righteous in God’s sight. If the song gave Jesus more than a mere honorable mention, I wouldn’t have such a problem with this phrasing… but given the whole of the lyric I have a problem with this phrasing. Without repentance and the atonement, the song paints grace and love as a mere wiping away of the sin and the law just because we’re so cute and cuddly to God. That presents a false gospel.


Best construction on this song is the idea that we don’t have to be perfect for God to love us. While that’s true, it’s not all of the truth. You see, it’s not simply that we don’t have to be perfect, it’s that we cannot be perfect, or even good. We are dead in sins and trespasses… horribly unrighteous, not even seeking after God. At its worst, this song seems to suggest that the point of the Gospel is that it’s okay to be horribly broken and sinful, since God loves you anyway, and as long as you admit that you are a mess, God declares you innocent… just like that. No need to confess sins, acknowledge the cross, be baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection… see where I’m going? In ignoring the Law, we get a diluted gospel. When you have a diluted gospel, you wind up with a navel-gazing spirituality in constant search of a feeling of peace and right-standing with God… a spirituality of the emotions. God hasn’t promised to be found in your emotions, He is found in His Word, both Law and Gospel rightly preached.

In closing, I’d like to share the confession we pray each Sunday morning at church.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Most merciful God, we confess that we are by nature sinful and unclean. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We justly deserve your present and eternal punishment. For the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in Your will and walk in Your ways to the glory of Your holy name. Amen.  (from Lutheran Service Book, Divine Service, Setting One)

What is truly comforting, is knowing that this prayer is in keeping with the Scriptures and that we serve a God who is Faithful and Just to forgives our sin and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness, for His Glory and His Praise.

Romans 16:24-27 (ESV) | Doxology

Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

In Christ Jesus,

DiM | “How Sweet the Sound” by Citizen Way

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.

Well, it looks like 20theCountdownMagazine is the most reliably updated music chart. Having said that, I didn’t go with the highest “yet to be reviewed” song for today, I went with the song I caught myself singing in the shower. That I found it sitting at the #10 spot means that I get to review a song that I liked and hoped was a solid song.

Music Video

Lyrics (via Soundlyrics.com)

Yea though I walk through the valley
I know that You are always right beside me
And I will fear no evil
You’re my rock and my strength
You comfort me

Amazing grace how sweet the sound
I hear You singing over me
I once was lost but now I’m found
And it’s beautiful
Amazing grace how sweet the sound
It covers every part of me
My soul is silent, I am found
And it’s a beautiful sound
It’s a beautiful, beautiful sound

Carry me through the waters
Where Your peace clears away all my sorrow
And nothing can separate us from Your love
Oh Your love it will always be

Amazing grace how sweet the sound
I hear You singing over me
I once was lost but now I’m found
And it’s beautiful
Amazing grace how sweet the sound
It covers every part of me
My soul is silent, I am found
And it’s a beautiful sound
It’s a beautiful, beautiful sound

You were healing in the pain
You were shelter in the storm
Hallelujah You restore my soul

Amazing grace how sweet the sound
I hear You singing over me
I once was lost but now I’m found
Amazing grace how sweet the sound
It covers every part of me
My soul is silent, I am found
And it’s a beautiful sound
A beautiful, beautiful sound
A beautiful, beautiful sound
A beautiful, beautiful sound

The very first line draws in the Christian with an immediate reference to Psalm 23, King James Version style. But it doesn’t really track with the 23rd Psalm, it sort of skips through a portion of it. Is that a concern? It is for the listener who doesn’t actually know Psalm 23, and even more so for the one who won’t look it up. We’ll do just that later.

The chorus immediately jumps in with “Amazing grace how sweet the sound” and my mind goes right to the old hymn, “Amazing Grace”. Does this song line up with that great hymn? Sadly, no, it doesn’t. We’ll take a look at the lyrics to that hymn (particularly for those who only know/sing 2 verses) later, also. Suffice it to say for now that the “beautiful sound” in this song seems to point to something different from Amazing Grace.

Verse 2 starts with “carry me through the waters”… Noah’s ark? Baptism? Jesus rescuing Peter from drowning? Well, the next line mentions peace, so maybe the referent is Jesus calming the storm. Either way the next thought is more clearly a reference to the security of the Love of the Father. I think this is the strongest element of the song, these 2 lines.

The bridge has me looking at my screen like Nipper (dog used for RCA logo). I’m vexed by the past tense of healing and shelter. The song is set up as a contrast between what I was before Amazing Grace and what I am now, right? So why the “were” here? It’s not a lyrical necessity, because “are” is just as lyrically sound. I have no clue, but it doesn’t sit well with me. The last line (repeated) is a return to Psalm 23. Again, I’m confused with the shift in tense, but at least this is in better keeping with the tense of the rest of the song, you restore (active present) my soul.

Positive Elements

That this song reminds me of Psalm 23 and Amazing Grace is a positive thing. The Grace of God is that He sent His Only Son Jesus to atone for the sin of mankind is indeed a beautiful sound, and that He rose from the grave and sits at the right hand of the Father until the Great Day when He will return for His Bride is just excellent. Sadly, none of this is explicit in the song. There are other nuggets of truth that can be extracted and expanded upon in Scripture (and we will do so), but unless these verses are already known to the listener, it’s like being stranded on a desert island and hoping that the pilot or passenger of a commercial airliner noticed your “help” written in the sand… from 35,000 feet.

I hear You singing over me. This line reminds me of Zephaniah 3:17, often referenced to demonstrate that we serve a Living God who loves His children exuberantly, that He sings over us. The full chapter isn’t all sunshine and lollipops, though. You see, this is a prophecy regarding the sin of Judah and Jerusalem during the time of the Exile. God, in His grace and mercy, preserves a remnant of believers who do not practice injustice. The prophecy then turns to the salvation (Jesus Christ) of Jerusalem and the Nations and finally, comes the portion of rejoicing in the Salvation of the Lord.

Zephaniah 3:14-20 (ESV) | Israel’s Joy and Restoration
14 Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! 15 The Lord has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil. 16 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. 17 The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. 18 I will gather those of you who mourn for the festival, so that you will no longer suffer reproach. 19 Behold, at that time I will deal with all your oppressors. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. 20 At that time I will bring you in, at the time when I gather you together; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes,” says the Lord.

And nothing can separate us from Your love. Nothing can separate us from the Love of God through Jesus Christ our Savior. These two passages are very important for us to understand God’s Amazing Grace.

John 3:16-18 (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.

John 10:22-30 (ESV) | I and the Father Are One
22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 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.”

Carry me through the waters. I indicated earlier that my mind jumps to Noah’s Ark being in God’s Hands as He carried it through the waters of destruction and judgement upon the face of the Earth, or Israel’s crossing the Red Sea, and how both tie directly to Baptism.

1 Peter 3:18-22 (ESV) 18 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, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 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. 21 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, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.


The primary concern is, again, vagueness of the message. The listener who is spending time reading the scriptures will instinctively fill in the theological gaps of the song and find it encouraging. Unfortunately, so will the listener who has no scriptural knowledge, only that individual will fill in the gaps with whatever they like, think, or have heard.

Psalm 23. While the song’s title and first line of the chorus point to Amazing Grace, it spends most of its time paraphrasing Psalm 23. Let’s look at the Psalm, and I’ll highlight the snippets of from the song.

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

Okay, so calling it a paraphrase of the 23rd Psalm is a stretch. My primary concern here is that the song attempts to pluck out the “makes me feel good for free” bits for the song, while skipping over unpleasant notions of the rod of correction, paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake, the shadow of death, or even dining in the presence of our enemies. It focuses on the encouragement bits without addressing the focus on the Lord as the shepherd and we are the sheep. Notice the song says “You’re my rock, and my strength, You comfort me”. It skips over what the psalmist clearly point to for his comfort. The rod of correction and the staff of support. While we do find comfort in who God is, the psalmist is pointing out that we also find comfort in what He does, His correction and His provision.

Amazing Grace. This hymn is a beautifully written song with several verses that are rarely sung when this song is played.

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;

’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

You see, as soon as the song clears the first line of Amazing Grace, it shifts away from the hymn and doesn’t look aback. The hymn makes clear that we were wretches, lost, and blind to the ways of God. By His Grace, we have been made to see, and we are now found. That the Grace of God has sustained us and will sustain us for the rest of our mortal life (filled with dangers, toils, and snares) and even into the next life will we continue to sing God’s praise for His Amazing Grace. That’s powerful and it is clear. In some ways I suppose the line “It covers every part of me” might be considered a reference to all of that… but that’s quite the shoe-horn in my view.

What sound is being described as sweet and beautiful? This is probably the biggest issue I have with this song, an issue I didn’t realize until I started looking at the lyrics. Is the artist describing the sound of the Gospel of Grace (which is what the song Amazing Grace is describing as the sweet sound)? Is it the sound of God singing over His people? Or is it the sound of a silent soul? Given the pace at which New Age Mysticism is invading the modern Church, I fear the answer is a combination of the last 2 with a mere nod to the first. There is a lot of contemplative prayer being taught (falsely) in youth conferences and in a broad spectrum of churches that employ 3rd century catholic mystic monastic practices supposedly designed to tune one’s spirit in to hear the voice of God the Holy Spirit speaking. I hope that is not what these guys are into, but their website was rather cumbersome to navigate and I gave up rather quickly.


This song suffers from the vagueness of presenting a lawless gospel. It has a Joel Osteen quality that seeks to encourage everyone with the hope of salvation by skipping over the need for salvation, or the need to confess and repent of our sins. The truth is that without the Law, without the conviction of sin, the significance, the beauty, and the wonder of the Gospel of Grace is diminished. In fact, it becomes a different gospel altogether. This is a song that disappointed me when I actually looked at the lyrics.  I’ll be honest, I really thought that I was singing a more modern take on Amazing Grace, but I wasn’t. Is it dangerous to me? Not really (especially not after having done this work). But this song is a concern for those who aren’t willing to search the scriptures or take these thoughts captive. I do think this is worse than the past few songs I’ve attempted to rescue by better defining (Biblically) the terms used in the song. Had they not invoked Psalm 23 (highlights only) or the first line in Amazing Grace, this song would be totally forgettable. At least, that’s my assessment.

Jude 1:24-25 (ESV)
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

In Christ,