DiM | “Diamonds” by Hawk Nelson

Presentation1CCM Radio Edition.

March 22, 2016. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Diamonds” by Hawk Nelson which currently sits at #15 on the 20theCountdownMagazine.

This is one of those songs or messages that can be true and even helpful for certain situations and circumstances, but it is not particularly helpful in the broad sense. There are a couple of issues at work here, the first is the skipping of Law entirely and the second is in presenting a theology of Glory rather than a theology of the cross. Not every trial and tribulation is designed to make us shine like diamonds in this life… sometimes they come as the result of sin so that we might repent (the ongoing work of the Law in our lives). A theology of Glory is the false hope that being a Christian will make us successful and nearing perfection in this temporal life. God’s Word doesn’t promise that. That’s not the point of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are promised Eternal Life, reigning and ruling with Christ in the Kingdom of God in the resurrection, yes… and that is an established Hope secured by God the Holy Spirit. All that takes place here in this temporal life is to Glorify God and to testify of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are times when we must endure trials of many kinds so that Christ’s Grace, Love, and Mercy can be displayed through us… there are other times when we join in His suffering and we simply won’t know or see how it works to His Glory… like with Job. Let’s give the song a listen and then look through the lyrics.

Hawk Nelson VEVO

 

Lyrics (via Air1)

Here and now I’m in the fire, in above my head
Being held under the pressure, don’t know what will be left
But it’s here in the ashes
I’m finding treasure

He’s making diamonds
Making diamonds
He’s making diamonds out of dust
He is refining
And in his timing
He’s making diamonds out of us

I’ll surrender to the power of being crushed by love
‘Til the beauty that was hidden isn’t covered up
It’s not what I hoped for
It’s something much better

Oh The Joy of the Lord
It will be my strength
When the pressure is on
He’s making Diamonds

I won’t be afraid to shine
I won’t be afraid to shine
I won’t be afraid to shine

‘Cuz He’s making diamonds out of dust
Making diamonds out of us

Publishing: Atlantis Underwater Music (SESAC)/FairTrade Tunes (SESAC) (both admin. by Fair Trade Music Publishing c/o Music Services, Inc.)/Sony/ATV Timber Publishing (SESAC)/ Open Hands Music (SESAC)/ Forest For The Trees Music (SESAC)
Writer(s): Jason Ingram, Matthew Bronleewe, Jon Steingard

Discussion

Okay, so for us to put the best construction on this song, we need to acknowledge a couple of base assumptions. Firstly, we have to assume the listener is a regenerate believer, a Christian. That assumption HAS to be made because this song doesn’t even entertain the notion of the Law of God nor of sin. It seeks to jump straight into the proclamations of the Promises of God. Secondly, we  have to assume that no matter what the listener feels he/she is going through, it is God’s work of sanctification (making holy) on the individual. While there are differences in confessions regarding sanctification, we cannot really get into those because of what is lacking in the song… the Law of God. What we can infer from the language of the song in being changed from dust (carbon, yes, but appeal to poetic license) to diamonds is that the theology under the hood is one of progressive sanctification through external trials and tribulations. There is a sense where this is accurate, Biblically, so let’s look at some of those references (again, given our assumptions on the audience):

James 1:1-4 (ESV)

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion:
Greetings.

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.

James is writing to the Twelve Tribes in the Dispersion (notice he’s using the reference to the 12 Tribes of Israel in a way that includes the Gentile believers, for we are all included in Israel by faith) and he encourages them to count it all joy when they meet trials of various kinds, that they may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. This language certainly fits the song’s narrative of becoming diamonds, particularly since we measure diamonds by their perfection and clarity, etc. However, to keep this notion of “diamonds” properly grounded in scripture we need to keep reading in James to see what is included in this perfection and completeness, lacking in nothing.

James 1:5-18 (ESV)

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Notice the first point of lack James addresses is wisdom. When we study the book of Proverbs, we see Solomon urging his son to seek Wisdom and it points to Christ. Christ IS Wisdom, the Word of God made flesh. Also notice the instruction to the lowly brother and the rich, that they are to both boast in the perfection and completion being brought by the LORD. Are both being made rich? Not temporally. The rich is being humiliated… and that is to be a point of boasting. I must say this is not easy to accept or even to understand, but it is so. James clarifies by reminding his reader of the temporary state of this life… fleeting and perishing. The rich man will fade away. Don’t place your hope in the riches of this life, where moth and rust destroy and thieves steal. The crown of life is our inheritance in Christ Jesus, by Grace through faith.

Again, I’m not refuting the first part of James 1, and we’ll look at what Peter had to say on the matter, also. I just want to make sure our approach to scripture is kept in context here. We’ve seen 1 Peter 1:3-9 before, it’s one of my go-to encouragement passages:

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. 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.

Notice here that Peter’s endgame focus isn’t of being made a diamond here in this life, he’s looking beyond the resurrection to the salvation of our souls through faith in Jesus Christ. This is the theology of the Cross. Though our testing for a little while may lead to physical death, it pales in comparison to an Eternity in Christ Jesus. We rejoice in this hope of salvation, sealed by God the Holy Spirit. I recommend taking time to read through all of 1 Peter, since most of it addresses the role of suffering in this life for the Christian, but let’s close this notion out with the following:

1 Peter 4:12-19 (ESV) | Suffering as a Christian

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And

“If the righteous is scarcely saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

Lot’s of great things in here. Notice how the encouragement to rejoice in present suffering is anchored fully in the Name of Jesus Christ. This is something sorely lacking in the Hawk Nelson song. It doesn’t reflect back to the object of our faith, the source of our justification and sanctification, the Person and Work of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. That’s a HUGE oversight in the song, and precisely why it doesn’t earn an “Approved” rating. One might argue that the Joy of the LORD is Jesus, but that requires a great deal of Scriptural knowledge to interpret an allusion to Christ in the song lyric (by taking God’s proclamation of Jesus at His baptism (Matt 3:17) and transfiguration (Matt 17:5), “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased“).

Peter also makes a distinction between reasons for suffering. If we suffer for Christ’s sake we are blessed… go ahead with the diamonds thing as long as it is anchored in Christ and the hope lay in the resurrection, not in this present life. However, if we are suffering for wrongdoing… that is the work of the Law killing this flesh of sin in us. That requires repentance and forgiveness in Jesus’ Name.

Conclusion

So we do see and have acknowledged some good that can come from discussing the song. The lack of any reference to the Person and Work of Jesus is a major problem, also the blanket application of James 1:2-4 without specifying the audience is also a problem. In order to give this song its best construction, we had to assume a target audience that isn’t clearly identified. God isn’t turning unbelievers into diamonds. Those who die in unbelief will perish eternally.

Even if your theology is solid, I think the song’s emphasis on the result of trials being YOU become a precious gem can get our eyes off of Christ and the exaltation of His Name. I won’t flatly disapprove of it because I do recognize a narrow application where this song can be of benefit in encouraging a brother or sister in Christ who is struggling with hardship, facing a fiery trial. Do so with Heaven and the Resurrection as our Hope, not in this present, fading life.

Jude 24-25 (ESV)

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

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “Drops In the Ocean” by Hawk Nelson

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

March 24, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Drops in the Ocean” by Hawk Nelson which currently sits at #15 at 20theCountdownMagazine.

We’ll continue using this top 20 song list until I find a better list. Your feedback in this would be greatly appreciated.

Last week’s song was quite good, this week’s song is a disappointment. Seeker-sensitive, God-pleading-with-man drivel. The fleck of truth that might be inferred in this song is better told overtly: In Christ alone, by the atonement of His finished work on the Cross, we are forgiven and made righteous in God’s sight by grace, through faith. We are to repent and put our faith in Him and in Him alone. Try as we might to redeem vague songs with proper reading of scripture, this song has one glaring issue that cannot be glossed over and ignored.

VEVO Lyric Video

Lyrics (via KLOVE)

Drops In The Ocean by Hawk Nelson

I want you as you are, not as you ought to be
Won’t you lay down your guard and come to me
The shame that grips you now is crippling
It breaks my heart to see you suffering

Cause I am for you
I’m not against you

If you want to know
How far my love can go
Just how deep, just how wide
If you want to see
How much you mean to me
Look at my hands, look at my side
If you could count the times I say you are forgiven
It’s more than the drops in the ocean

Don’t think you need to settle for a substitute
When I’m the only love that changes you

Open your heart
It’s time that we start again

Publishing: Atlantis Underwater Music / Fairtrade Tunes (SESAC) (admin. by Music Services, Inc.); Sony/ATV Timber Publishing / Open Hands Music (SESAC); Forest For The Trees Music (SESAC)
Writer(s): Jon Steingard; Jason Ingram; Matt Bronleewe

Discussion

The song starts out vague on who is speaking and to whom. By the end of the first verse, there are only 2 options, either this is a song from one believer to his/her neighbor, or it is God singing to a sinner. The one being addressed is gripped by shame. Once you get through the chorus, it is clear that the speaker in this song is Jesus (Look at my hands, look at my side). Now we have a problem. But before we get to the problem, let us acknowledge what might have been intended by the song.

The song seems to want to skip ahead to Romans 8:31-39 without dealing with the first part of Romans. Typical of modern-day easy believism, we want to jump to the “God is love” and “He forgave you” without dealing with our being dead in sin and desperately in need of a savior.

Romans 8:31-39 (ESV) | God’s Everlasting Love

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This is a wonderful promise of God’s everlasting love for those who are in Christ. But we aren’t born that way. None of us are born in Christ. We are all born dead in sins and trespasses. This is normally when I would jump to Ephesians 2, and would be justified in doing so given that the Apostle Paul wrote both letters. But let’s look at what Paul wrote at the start of this same letter to the Romans and then we’ll address the problem of this song.

Romans 1 (ESV)

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.

Longing to Go to Rome

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

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.”

God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

You cannot simply skip over our sin, our rebellion against God, or the Might of His Wrath against ungodliness and unrighteousness and fast-forward to God’s Love and Grace. So many well-intentioned (yet woefully misguided) individuals think that buy skipping over God’s wrath they are highlighting His Mercy and Love. Sadly, what they are doing is devaluing the Grace and Mercy of God. The purpose of the Law is to convict the sinner of his/her need for a Savior, Jesus Christ.

  “It is because God’s wrath is real that His mercy is relevant.” – Alistair Begg

This song is a prime example of this. Not only have the writers skipped all of the Law in Paul’s letter to the Romans, they have written a song that presents Jesus Christ as one who must plead with and negotiate or convince the sinner that he has already been forgiven. That is clearly not the picture Paul painted of the Lord God, Our Creator, in Romans 1. Was Jesus pleading with or wooing folks to accept His forgiveness when He walked the earth? We see in Matthew 4, at the start of His earthly ministry (after His time in the wilderness), Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Why is it that our music today completely avoids the call to repent? Was Jesus begging folks to follow Him? To accept Him?

Luke 9:18-27 (ESV) | Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ

18 Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 19 And they answered,“John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” 20 Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”

Jesus Foretells His Death

21 And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying,“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus

23 And he said to all, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?26 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.27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”

Luke 14:25-27 (ESV) | The Cost of Discipleship

25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

This is the glaring problem of today’s song… and it is inescapable. God the Holy Spirit works on the hearts of men by the hearing of the Word of God so that in so hearing they might be granted faith, for God’s Glory. The Holy Spirit testifies of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is One with the Father and is the Only Way to the Father. Jesus isn’t begging the sinner to “give Him a chance to forgive them”. This anthem is narcissistic and it presents a false picture of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ as one who is pleading with us to accept His forgiveness. Those who reject Jesus, reject God to their own demise and remain condemned in their sin and death. Read Romans 1, again, and understand our rightful place in His plan of Salvation. We need Him, not the other way around.

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.

Amen. I pray this song’s presence in the top20 is short-lived. Regardless, we have addressed the error and in so doing have clearly shared both Law and Gospel. God’s Love, Mercy, and Grace are in equal measure with His Holiness and Justice.

Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.
– A.W. Tozer

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge