Evangelical Worship Edition
January 14, 2016. In this edition we are going to be taking a look at the next song on the top new song list for 2015 found at Worship Together. Today’s song is “This is Living” by Hillsong Worship. Now this song is going to have two separate DiM posts, this one and a CCM Radio edition featuring Lecrae. There are a couple of reasons for this, firstly I don’t want to use the radio/dance version for this review as if the majority of churches using the song have the chops to pull off such a performance. I found an acoustic version that would most likely be the form played in your average contempervant church, so we can focus more on the lyric. Aside from the tempo/style of the song, the CCM Radio version also has Lecrae throwing down some rap, which clearly wouldn’t be seriously included in evangelical worship service… the congregation simply isn’t going to keep up. If your church “worship team” is doing the up-tempo, rap infused version for corporate worship… yikes.
Hillsong Young & Free Acoustic (Audio)
Lyrics (via Worship Together)
Waking up knowing there’s a reason
All my dreams come alive
Life is for living with You
I’ve made my decision
You lift me up, fill my eyes with wonder
Forever young in Your love
This freedom’s untainted with You
No moment is wasted
See the sun now bursting through the clouds
Black and white turn to colour all around
All is new, in the Saviour I am found
This is living now
This is living now
You take me higher than I’ve been before
It’s Your perfect love that sees me soar
God Your freedom is an open door
You are everything I want and more
You lead the way, God You’re right beside me
In Your love I’m complete
There’s nothing like living with You
This life You created I choose
Writer(s): Aodhan King, Joel Davies
Theme(s): Adoration & Praise
CCLI #: 7032393
Scripture Reference(s): John 8:36; Ephesians 2:4-5
This song is a hot mess. Let’s begin with its so-called Scripture Reference(s):
John 8:36 (ESV) So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Lifted out of its context so that the 2 obvious questions can be answered in any way you want… 1. Free from what? 2. Free to do what?
Ephesians 2:4-5 (ESV) But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
This one skips our fallen state and what it deserved. There is at least some more meat here to fill in some of the “saved from what” question, but the thought is cut short. Let’s look at the immediate context of these passages.
John 8:31-47 (ESV) | The Truth Will Set You Free
31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. 38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.” 39 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. 41 You are doing the works your father did.”They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
Free from the curse of sin, from being slaves to sin… forgiveness of our sin that can only be found in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. This freedom is the freedom to abide in the Word of Christ, to truly be His disciples. As the Apostle Paul often described it, it is the freedom to be a slave to Christ rather than a slave to sin and darkness. Considering Hillsong’s penchant for twisting God’s Word, they clearly don’t have a doctrinal understanding of what it means to be truly set free by Christ.
Ephesians 2:1-10 (ESV) | By Grace Through Faith
2 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
We were children of wrath, by nature. What does that mean? It means that our very nature from birth is born sinful and deserving of God’s Wrath because of the Fall of Man recorded in Genesis 3. That’s what is being referenced by the but in v4. But God loved us and saved us by His Grace. The “us” isn’t all of mankind, though… notice the language of separation, the “us” is Believers who have been saved out of the rest of mankind. And that salvation is purely a gift from God… we did nothing to earn it. Nothing. A dead man can contribute nothing to his resurrection.
Now let’s work through the song lyrics.
Verse 1. There’s a reason all my dreams have come alive? What dreams? Jesus didn’t die on the cross to regenerate your dreams. Salvation isn’t about bringing your dreams back to life. What did you dream about before you were made alive in Christ Jesus? Sin. You followed the course of this world, the prince of the power of the air… you dreamed of carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, the passions of your flesh. That was what you dreamed about. Jesus didn’t die for those dreams to come alive. He died to rescue your soul from God’s Wrath to be set free from sin that controlled your heart and mind. So, you’ve made your decision? That’s great. What decision was that… to make yourself alive in Christ? We’ve covered that, that wasn’t your decision to make while you were still an unbeliever. Now, once you’ve been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and made a new creation in Christ Jesus, yes… there are some decisions that need to be made, sure. But I’m certain this line of the song is a reach back to Finneyism, decisional regeneration (I was saved because I chose to raise my hand and ‘say yes’ to Jesus).
Verse 2. Peter Pan theology. Drivel. Just… no.
Pre-Chorus. This is just some odd vision-scaping here. There is nothing real being said of Christ Jesus here. Fluff.
Chorus. Pitiful. Painting freedom in Christ as a door to Neverland, where all of our dreams come true and we never have to grow up or deal with consequences again.
I’m sorry… I just can’t give this song any more serious critique. It’s abhorrent. I don’t want my family listening to this on the radio… and I’m a huge fan of Electronic Dance Music (EDM)… but we’ll deal with that nonsense in the CCM version of this DiM… but for playing in a Church service? Really? No. Absolutely not. Not in Youth group… No… don’t do it. Not acceptable. I’m trying to be light-hearted in my phrasing, but I’m serious… learning that this song is being passed off as praise and worship is grounds for church discipline in my view. Whew. Okay.
The standard for corporate worship should be Titus 2, not “fun factor” or “youth engagement”. This is not proper praise and worship for the God of Creation.
Jude 24-25 (ESV) | Doxology
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 Jesus,