DiM | “Deliverer” by Matt Maher

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

January 5, 2016. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Deliverer” by Matt Maher which currently sits at #10 on the KLove’s top 10 chart.

Welcome to a new year and our first DiM post for 2016. Over the Christmas holiday there were a few songs that popped up on the top CCM charts, but it seems the charts have reset a bit in the new year, favoring the more popular songs of 2015. We’ll see how the charts are adjusted next week. For today, though, we take a look at the new song from Matt Maher. I have to admit that this song is confusing, theologically. It’s about half-right… but even in that, its tough to pin down the theology being presented since Matt is a Roman Catholic evangelical. We’ll get to that after listening and reading the lyrics.

Matt Maher VEVO Lyric Video

Lyrics (via KLove)

Deliverer

I was a drifter, I had nowhere to go
I was hanging by threads of dust and bone
Every angel I knew was singing, son, come home
But the melody was hard to sing along

Oh, God, You’re my deliverer
The One, the One who carries us
God, You’re my deliverer

I was on trial for everything I did
And there’s no way I could make a stand and win
When you realize the verdict is already in
You let go of the brokenness within
Well, there’s only One who could ever stand and win

Oh, God, You’re my deliverer
The One, the One who carries us
Oh, God, You’re my deliverer
The One, the One who carries us

And now I’m like a child at night
Who never has to think of why
We’re free to love and live and die
And there’s no need to justify
The sinner that’s inside of me
Has lost all his control of me
My God, from the flood and from the fire
You brought me out, I am alive
With a faith just like a child
I’m not afraid, I’m running wild
For everything that will be done
I am Yours and You are my

Deliverer
The One, the One who carries us
God, You’re my deliverer
The One, the One who carries us
Oh, God, You’re my deliverer
The One, the One who carries us
Oh, God, You’re my deliverer
The One, the One who carries us
God, You’re my deliverer

I was hanging by threads of dust and bone

Publishing: © 2015 Sony/ATV Tree Publishing / I Am A Pilgrim Songs (BMI) All rights on behalf of Sony/ATV Tree and I Am A Pilgrim Songs administered by Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC. / Belton Bronco Music (BMI) (adm. by Bluewater Music Services Corp.) / Holy Smoking Gun Music (BMI) (adm. by Bluewater Music Services Corp.)
Writer(s): Matt Maher, Bo Rineheart, Bear Rineheart

Discussion

Who is the target audience for this song? Who is the singer representing? I can’t quite make it out. When was the singer a drifter? When he was an unbeliever? Before hearing the Gospel? Before his baptism? Before he was a Christian? Or is this some sort of drifter phase where the individual is only partially saved. I say that because of the Roman Catholic synergism, where its faith+works (sacraments + purgatory) that leads to heaven. The reason this is a question is because the song has a dramatic shift or supposed correction of the singer’s confession from one of being condemned to having been delivered. That point of conversion isn’t expressed at all. That’s a problem unto itself, but for now if we could establish the starting point of the song it could help to rescue the song at least for some. Sadly, it just isn’t clear where he’s put the starting point. This is intentional in decisional evangelicalism, where the altar call is like the New Year countdown on New Year’s Eve… just come to the front and make your “new life resolution” of becoming a totally committed follower of Christ or rededicating your life to the Lord. But this is not a Biblical understanding of regeneration and salvation.

Now the line, Every angel I knew was singing, son, come home, is lyrically interesting. Perhaps due to my recent study of Revelation, but here Matt is using imagery to convey a lot of meaning in a short line. I don’t think he’s going the route of Beni Johnson by claiming he knew actual angelic beings, I think he’s borrowing a bit from Revelation where the angels of the 7 churches represents the leadership of those churches.

Revelation 1:12-2:7 (ESV)

12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest.14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.

17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. 19 Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. 20 As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

To the Church in Ephesus

To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.

“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works ofthe Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

Jesus didn’t have John write a letter to an angelic being, nor was the letter addressed to a symbolic church, it was written to the leaders of the church of Ephesus and their disciples… to that congregation of believers, to the Body of Christ in Ephesus. Likewise, I think Matt Maher is using “angels” here to represent faithful believers who were calling to the singer to come home. I think it was a masterful lyrical tool. Sadly, I’m still not clear if these were calling to the singer to faith in Christ or just to get his act together (meaning he’s a believer who is struggling).

The biggest problem in this song is the lack of Repentance. I’ve been slow-playing it a bit, but ultimately that’s where it all leads. Whether the singer is an unbeliever at the beginning or a believer who is struggling with sin, the remedy for the sin is the same… repent and be forgiven in Jesus’ Name. Those who have not yet been baptized in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit need to be, but what I’m getting at is that solution to the problem of sin in our lives is the same, penitent faith in Jesus Christ.

Acts 2:37-40 (ESV)

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”

Wow, we are not making much progress on this song. The next section begins with I was on trial for everything I did. Not completely accurate, but it does fit Roman Catholic theology on sin (particularly how they separate categories of sin. source). What I’d like to draw attention to here is in the half-truth that we are condemned by “everything we did/do”. That’s only partly true. We are also condemned by what we don’t do and our lack of faith… indeed by our identity as those who are dead in sins and trespasses. The lyric is correct that we stand condemned in sin, it just doesn’t go far enough.

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.

You see, we aren’t condemned solely by what we’ve done that is sinful. We are born into condemnation, into death, as a part of our nature.

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. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

That’s what bothers me so much about the line You let go of the brokenness within… that brokenness isn’t something we hold onto consciously. It is our sinful nature. It is the direct consequence of sin in our flesh. It cannot be “let go” so much as it has to be put to death under the Law and forgiven by the Gospel of Grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus on the cross. We must die to our sinful flesh daily.

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. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

So then the song launches into the refrain, Oh, God, You’re my deliverer, The One, the One who carries us. Indeed He is. It is God alone who delivers us from sin, death, and the grave. It is God alone who carries us. Evangelicals tend to employ an emotional “footprints in the sand” understanding of the notion of God carrying us… but I think it is Biblically better to think in terms of drawing us to Him.

John 6:41-47 (ESV)

41 So the Jews grumbled about [Jesus], because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43 Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves.44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— 46 not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.

The Greek word translated “draws” here (ἑλκύω helkýō) is primarily a literal dragging or moving by force. Like when Peter drew his sword to cut out the ear of Malcus (John 18), the sword had no ability on its own to move, Peter drew it and then struck with it. While the Strong’s does include a metaphorical sense of the word, the only use that fits that sense is one of being “dragged into the courts” (James 2:6). Even in that sense, the metaphor preserves the notion that one is being dragged where they do not wish to go as opposed to being enticed to come willingly. The drawing of the Father isn’t a metaphor for “convincing us to set our will in His direction”. Those who are dead are incapable of “choosing” to be alive without God first regenerating them.

It is at this point that the song just gets weird. It’s like a bridge of the song where suddenly it gets kicked into anthemic evangelical overdrive. Again, we have no repentance or the forgiveness of sin. It just surges into declarations of freedom, life, and a no need to justify our sinful natures. Odd wording, to be sure, and not completely accurate. Christ is our justification, He died in our place so that by faith we are joined with Him, baptized into His death on the cross and resurrection from the grave, and sealed with a promise of eternal Life. But we still sin and must contend with our sinful natures as long as we walk this earth. We must die to ourselves daily, repent of sin, and be forgiven as part of our daily bread. The song bears none of that. It’s a pep-rally cheer that declares “I’m awesome” and “the past doesn’t matter anymore”. While it is true that sin no longer has control of the eternal fate of the believer, it is also true that our sinful flesh is being put to death according to the Law of God. We. Will. Die.

Hebrews 9:24-28 (ESV)

24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

And like every evangelical “worship” song, there’s a portion designed to allow the worship team to repeat ad nauseam until the auditorium has been sufficiently whipped up into an emotional frenzy.

Conclusion

The song doesn’t stand on its own. It’s a bit odd in its theology, though there are a couple of lines that convey some Truths in part, on the whole it comes up lacking, particularly in addressing the problem of sin. The song glosses over repentance and the forgiveness of sin in Jesus’ Name and simply dives headlong into evangelical anthemic self-esteem overdrive. The song is emotionally driven, as such its lyric is largely forgettable, because it doesn’t carry any real meaning. Shortly after hearing the song, all that is left is the refrain, Oh God you’re my deliverer… (which at least is a nugget of Truth) and the vocal run (deliverer…ER-er, er-er, er-er) at the end of the line. Is the song dangerous for believers? That’s a judgement call that I’ll leave to you. I will say that I don’t think it serves any teaching purpose nor does it soundly reinforce any Biblical doctrine; therefore, it shouldn’t have any place in corporate worship, and that would apply for both Romanists and Protestants alike. The song stays in the squishy evangelical middle area… some might call it a doctrine-free zone of self-esteem and feel-good empowerment.

Romans 16:24-27 (ESV) | Doxology

25 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 26 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— 27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “Real” by Nichole Nordeman

disapproveToday we are doing a Christmas Edition of “Discernment in Music” (DiM), here at Faithful Stewardship (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)). I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I’d be addressing CCM radio stations’ treatment of the Gospel during this Christmas season, but I got distracted by this song so we’ll push that discussing back a bit.

December 3, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at a contemporary Christmas song by Nichole Nordeman called “Real”. This song is beautifully sung… and poetically written. It stands apart from most of the holiday sugar-pop that plays in shopping malls and diners… this song attempts to look beyond the commercialism and the hype to the “real meaning of Christmas”. How does it fare? I find myself in a quandary, on the one hand we need a lot more serious Christmas songs; on the other hand, we need Christmas songs that proclaim the Truth, not some fanciful re-envisioned version of history shaped to tug on our heart-strings.

The story of Jesus’ Birth is real. There were witnesses. We have the history recorded in Scripture. You don’t have to imagine the facts, you just have to read and believe them. There are cases where our imagination can help us understand the facts, but our imagination doesn’t get to rewrite them. If you are caught up in the false spirit of Christmas, and this song helped wake you up, Praise the Lord… but don’t stop there… read the real account, recorded in Luke 1-2 & Matthew 1-2.

Nichole Nordeman VEVO Video

“A Walk One Winter Night” by Al Andrews

I shared the second video because it was credited as the inspiration for Nichole Nordeman’s song “Real”. It shouldn’t come as any surprise to my readers, that I object to the premise of this song. I find it odd, even frustrating, that a song purporting to correct the listener’s misconceptions of Mary, or the night of Jesus’ birth would be inspired by a work of fiction, itself also containing some misconceptions of the manger, the “inn”, and those who were present on that night. Do we really need to turn to works of fiction to realize the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Is that where we are as a Church today? For the vast majority of Western Evangelicalism… the answer is “yes”. Pulpits are replaced by performance stages, and Pastors no longer preach the Word of God, they preach their own ideas, their own fantasies, their own fiction… and people flock to them, because their fiction is so “relevant” to them, so “real”. We’ve traded what is REAL for what we want to hear. 

Lyrics (via MetroLyrics)

Real

Frozen statues in the cold
Washed in moonlight, blue and gold
Mary’s babe in plastic hay
Quiet wonder on her face
Mary you look so serene
Far too pretty, much too clean
We might think we know you well
But what stories would you tell?
Of all the dirt and dust and shame
Everybody burning labour pain

And as I turn to walk away
I hear you say
I am real
Don’t turn me into memory or myth
Let me be real
And I’ll show you what it means to love like this
To be real

Shepherds bending to the ground
Bethlehem is safe and sound
Joseph you look brave and true
Do we know what it was like to be you
How many sleepless nights awake
Found you desperate and afraid

And as I turn to walk away
I hear you say
I am real
Don’t turn me into memory or myth
Let me be real
And I’ll show you what it means to love like this
To love like you don’t even care about the hurry and the hustle
Like you are unaware December comes with so much trouble
‘Cause you believe a baby came, not in paintings or in plays
But every minute, every hour, every day
To be real, real

You are real, real

Show us what it means to love like this
To be real
To be real

More than a memory
More than a story
Real

Read more: Nichole Nordeman – Real Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Discussion

Both the book and the song it inspired engage in mystical fiction. Statues don’t talk and Mary and Joseph are not speaking to anyone today, much less for direct revelation. Evangelicalism is awash in mysticism today, so I feel it necessary to point this fact out explicitly.

Once we get past the feel-good revelation of, “hey, this isn’t just a holiday with lawn decorations, this is about a real story that took place”… the songs lyrics have some troubling elements. Why is Mary begging to be real to the observer? Mary is begging to be real to the observer in exchange for her demonstrating to the observer what it means to love like this. So, Mary wants to be real so that she can demonstrate her love. Mary is pointing to Mary? No. Mary would be pointing to Jesus. We don’t need Mary as an intermediary to Jesus. Mary isn’t the point of the story, Jesus is.

There are some details in the song that are good and even interesting to ponder, like what it must have been like for Mary and Joseph to have been visited by the shepherds, and their story of seeing the angelic host. I’m sure Mary and Joseph had many a sleepless night, as with any first-time parents in the first century.

Conclusion

The key to not letting the Gospel fade into memory or myth, is to have it preached from the Word of God on a regular basis. Faith comes by hearing the word of Christ, not by having your heartstrings plucked by some work of fiction. Preach the Word, be ready in season and out of season. Jesus took on the form of man for one reason, to live a life we couldn’t live and pay a price we couldn’t pay so that we can have a forgiveness we don’t deserve.  That’s the Grace of God found only in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (ESV)

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

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “Alone (Feat. TRU)” by Hollyn

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

November 24, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Alone (Feat. TRU)” by Hollyn which currently sits at #7 on the Air1’s Top 10.

We’ve covered all of the songs on the Klove top 10 and 20theCountdownMagazine charts. Today we are looking to Air1’s Top 10 chart. What we have here is another “wooing your boyfriend song”, and the only one who mentions Jesus is the featured rapper, TRU. This song is a trainwreck. Let’s get this over with.

Hollyn Official Lyric Video

Lyrics (via Air1)

Alone (Feat. TRU)

Fell for you first day that I met you
Never dreamed that I ever could forget you
But black and white make a mess
When it turn to grey

Sunlight came sweepin’ cross the window
Rewind to the time when we were so close
Got me longin’ for yesterday

But Lord You, know me, so well
I can be a little punk sometimes

But don’t leave me, leave me alone
Bust down the door to my heart like it’s Your home
Don’t need no keys
I’m on my knees
Begging You please
I’ve gotta settle this thing once and for all
You got my heart my soul You can have it all
I’m on my knees
Beggin’ You please
Beggin’ You please, Lord
Don’t leave me alone

Through the tears, through the pain comes a new day
Blown away still amazed You pursue me
Ain’t no limit to the way You love

Don’t stop
Lord I need You like a heartbeat
Concrete
Rock solid under my feet
And You’re callin’ me You’re callin’ me up

[Rap Lyric]
I said You had me in your arms but I fell through the grasp
But yep I had You in my heart but I guess I relapsed
Like I’m livin’ for the wrong reasons, through the seasons
Tryna fall for you but then they put me on blast
It’s like I try to speak my mind because I know that I’m His
And yep I try to speak my mind but it don’t fly with them kids
Man if I’m not talkin’ bout the newest Nikes or releases
They put the mute on me
I can’t speak about my Jesus?
Like I’m living for Him
I’m slippin to sin
I turn around and make the amends
I try to fit it
I mess it up and stumble again
I’m takin’ this pen
And writing everything so I remember just how sweet that it is
Yeah man I got issues I can’t even lie
My only saving grace is knowing I got You inside
I’m done with (saving face) I ain’t gotta thing to hide
So don’t leave me alone
Keep coming day and night

Don’t leave me leave me alone
Bust down the door to my heart
Lord it’s Your home

Written by Holly Miller, Toby McKeehan, Bryan Fowler, Truett McKeehan.

© 2015 Capitol CMG Paragon/Songs of Gotee (BMI), Capitol CMG Genesis/Christopher Stevens Designee (ASCAP), Achtober Songs (BMI), Offwite Creative (BMI) all administrated at CapitolCMGPublishing.com. Produced & Mixed by Bryan Fowler for fabmusic.

Discussion

First, let’s scan through the lyrics sung by Hollyn (skipping the rap portion for now) and everywhere you see “Lord” in bold, replace it with “baby” or “boy”. And just like that, you have a Pop40 love/makeup song. That’s a big problem, because the message of wooing your boyfriend/girlfriend does NOT mirror our relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. So, epic fail on this point. Jesus is not your boyfriend or bearded girlfriend. 

The artist is describing a feeling we all know but using all of the wrong words to do it. Probably because her theology isn’t rooted and grounded in the Written Word of God. Confessing that “I can be a little punk sometimes” is a whitewash of the truth, that we are sinners deserving of destruction. That even when we’ve been regenerated by Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ, our flesh is still corrupt and we still sin. Our flesh is week, but through faith in Christ Jesus we hold onto the Promise of the forgiveness of sin and being resurrected into eternal life as heirs and joint heirs with Christ by His Blood. This song doesn’t convey that truth of God’s Word. Instead, this song presents the notion that we need to woo God not to leave us, like the boy/girlfriend who has finally “had it” with us and is threatening to leave.

The closes this song gets to pointing to a remotely Christian message comes in the rap portion performed by TRU. Again we see a lack of understanding of our sinner/saint duality while we walk this earth in corrupted flesh. That leaves a very anemic understanding of sin and grace that will inevitably lead to a man-centric, works-based approach to repentance and the forgiveness of sin. As we see in the lines “I guessed I relapsed… tryna fall for you… I turn around and make the amends”. That’s not the Gospel of Grace, that is a recipe for penance and works-based religion. We aren’t tryna fall in love with God… either we’ve been saved by Grace, or we remain enemies of God.

I find the line “I can’t speak about my Jesus” particularly frustrating. Why? This is an entire song, produced and published by a promoter of “Christian Music”, that has made its way to the top 10 of a “positive hits station” and the only line about Jesus is the line talking about how the artist is supposedly not allowed to speak about Him. Seriously? This entire song is squandered specifically because you AREN’T speaking/singing about Jesus. As is typical of mainstream rap/hip-hop, the artist isn’t “being real”, he’s merely addressing a caricature of reality that fits beat and fills the out the stanza. Even in that pseudo-complaint about being muted… the focus is on him and his career as a performer, not on preaching the Gospel to the lost and the hurting.

When we lack the proper understanding of the war that wages within Christians between our fallen flesh and the Spirit, we are left completely vulnerable to a man-centric religion of works. The book of Galatians is addressed the Judaizing heresy which sought to enslave Christians of the New Covenant of faith by the Blood of Jesus back under the Mosaic Covenant. Is the Law evil? No, but its purpose isn’t to prove your righteousness; rather, it is to prove your unrighteousness and need for a Savior, Jesus Christ. The Promise of Salvation is a gift from God. He opens our eyes and ears to the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He grants us faith.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (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.10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

He seals us with His Holy Spirit, safeguarding us in Christ Jesus until the Day of Resurrection

Acts 2:37-39 (ESV)

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

We are not yet made perfect in body, for we still live in corrupted flesh and walk this corrupted earth. We still have to deal our sinful nature, not by works, but by faith.

1 John 1 (ESV) | The Word of Life

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

It is by faith alone, that we are made righteous before God. And that faith does produce good works, but the good works that flow from the Gospel of Jesus Christ are not to make amends to God, or to prove to God our love for Him, or to “give Him our hearts” as suggested in this song… our good works are to serve our neighbors.

Galatians 5:1-14 (ESV) | Christ Has Set Us Free

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. 11 But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves! 13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Dear Christian, stop stabbing blindly in the dark at some form of penance, or good work that will finally grant you rest… rest can only be found by faith in Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Repent daily, forgive and love your neighbor, and trust God to carry you through the Resurrection by His power and might, not yours.

Conclusion

I’m very disappointed in this song and its position on Air1’s charts. I used to listen to Air1 all the time… but so little of what they play and promote is sound Christianity. Society has completely screwed up the concept of marriage and sexual fidelity. Society has a perverse view of dating and courtship. The last thing we should be doing is taking a carnal dating song and trying to make it fit the Gospel. Jesus is not your boo. He is the King of kings, and Lord of lords, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.

Revelation 22 (ESV)
The River of Life

22 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

Jesus Is Coming

And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”

“And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”

10 And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. 11 Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”

12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! 21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “Glow in the Dark” by Jason Gray

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

November 17, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Glow in the Dark” by Jason Gray which currently sits at #15 on the 20theCountdownMagazine.

I’m happy to be reviewing a song that doesn’t get an immediate disapproval. The overall message of this song is not bad, though its approach to the topic is a bit murky. The artist is trying to boost SELF esteem by invoking the promises of God. The problem with that is the fact that the Christian life is one of self denial, not self affirmation, and we place our trust and faith in the LORD Jesus Christ and in Who He Is. The murkiness winds up clouding the mechanism for sharing the Gospel. We are to preach Christ and Him crucified… not “live it out” in a sort of pantomime of what Christ did for us. Letting our light shine isn’t about putting a spotlight on us, it’s about pointing everyone to Jesus Christ.

JasonGrayVEVO Lyric Video

Lyrics (via KLove)

Glow in the Dark

Sometimes the world feels like a mess
Full of drama, full of stress
And life puts a fist right in your ribs
You can hide if you choose to
And no one would even blame you
Or you can let them see how you deal with it

That even in the darkest place
His love can make you radiate

(chorus)
Doesn’t matter how deep, how dark the night is
Keep hoping, keep on shining
And they’ll see His light burning in your heart
And if the road gets rough, just keep your head up
Let the world see what you’re made of
That His love’s alive in your deepest parts
Like a flame, like a burning star you can shine right where you are
He made you to glow in the dark

Don’t be ashamed of your past
If you’re shattered like a piece of glass
The more broke you are the more the light gets through
Show your wounds and your flaws
Show them why you still need the cross
Let them see the work He’s doing in you

That even in the darkest place
His love can make you radiate

(chorus)
Doesn’t matter how deep, how dark the night is
Keep hoping, keep on shining
And they’ll see His light burning in your heart
And if the road gets rough, just keep your head up
Let the world see what you’re made of
That His love’s alive in your deepest parts
Like a flame, like a burning star you can shine right where you are
He made you to glow in the dark

(chorus)
Doesn’t matter how deep, how dark the night is
Keep hoping, keep on shining
And they’ll see His light burning in your heart
And if the road gets rough, just keep your head up
Let the world see what you’re made of
That His love’s alive in your deepest parts
Like a flame, like a burning star you can shine right where you are
He made you to glow in the dark
Glow in the dark
Doesn’t matter how
Glow in the dark
Doesn’t matter how

Publishing: © 2015 Centricity Songs & Graybird Songs (BMI) / Universal Music-Brentwood Benson Pub, D Soul Music (ASCAP)
Writer(s): Words and Music by Jason Gray and Ben Glover

Discussion

Regarding the Lyric Video, I hope to someday see our youth be brought beyond the wimpy definition of “persecution” being simply unpopular in school. There are plenty of kids who have to deal with being unpopular for a variety of reasons, some do it intentionally to feed their pity party (emo, goth, etc). Christians are going to be HATED for the sake of the Name of Jesus. The Christian Baker who lost his business, reputation, and potentially his home because a homosexual couple insisted that he bake them a “wedding” cake… that’s persecution. That’s hate. I watch the Cooking Channel and Food Network… there is no shortage of homosexual chefs and bakers. Our Christian youth don’t need to be encouraged to stand against being called weird… that’s for the mystics of Bethel and Hillsong… no, Christians need to be ready for being persecuted for holding to a Biblical standard. They’ll be labeled “bigots”, “homophobes”, “islamophobes”, neanderthals, archaic, draconian, hateful, etc. It’s a totally different form of attack… they will be vilified and presented as legitimate targets for hate and scorn. That’s what our Christian Youth need to be prepared for. And it will all be false witness against the Christian for Jesus’ Name sake all while true bigotry and hate is tolerated in the name of secularism, humanism, and islam. The world is already much darker than modern-day evangelicalism is willing to admit, and it is going to get much darker… in fact, it must get darker.

As for the overall theme of the song, I believe the artist is trying to capture a portion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in an attempt to boost the listener’s self-esteem so he/she can be a light in a dark world.

Matthew 5:13-16 (ESV) | Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

I think it would be funny to hear someone try to turn the notion of being salty as a good thing in our modern setting. But I digress, in this portion of His sermon, Jesus is calling the hearers to be salt and light to the world, for the glory of God the Father who is in heaven. This is Law, by the way, for it is a call to good works. Can a lamp light itself? No. Can salt that has lost its saltiness get it back? No. Can darkness find hidden within itself light? No. So, can we who are dead in sins and trespasses do good works of ourselves? No. It is God who calls the Light into existence, who grants salt its saltiness, and who sets His people as a city on a hill, for His Glory.

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

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

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

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

The light we are to shine is Jesus Christ, not of our own. So, whenever this song vaguely tells you to “keep on shining”, look to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and share (with words) the message of repentance and the forgiveness of sin.

2 Corinthians 4:1-15 (ESV) | The Light of the Gospel

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you. 13 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, 14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. 15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

Amen. Now, in the lyric of the song above, I do like the line, “Show them why you still need the cross”. But it’s not about living as openly in sin as the unbelievers do, murmuring and complaining like those who are without faith and hope. It’s about living a life that bears the fruit of repentance to God and love for your fellow-man. Forgive others as you have been forgiven. Love others as you have been loved. Confess your sins, one to another. This is how we demonstrate our ongoing need for the cross of Jesus Christ. This is what “authentic faith” looks like… which is funny since that is not what is taught by all of the inauthentic (false) teachers in seeker-mergent congregations despite their regular sales pitch of “authenticity”.

If we maintain this focus on what Scripture tells us is the Light of the world, let us be moved to love our neighbors, so that they might see our good works by faith, and give glory to God the Father.

Ephesians 5:1-21 (ESV) | Walk in Love

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,
    and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Conclusion

I like the overall intent of the song, though the theology is overly self-centered. I decided to devote more time to fleshing out the teaching of Light and our call to be a Light to the world of darkness around us… not that the light comes from us or is us; rather, that we carry forward the Light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The song doesn’t stand on its own, for without proper biblical foundation it can become as empty as the secular humanist appeal to “don’t worry be happy”.

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 | “Good Good Father” by Chris Tomlin

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

November 10, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Good Good Father” by Chris Tomlin which currently sits at #19 on the 20theCountdownMagazine.

The song opens up with an appeal to mystical direct-revelation much like that of Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling. We will do our best to rescue the song a bit from this mystical interpretation, but given that this is intended as a song for corporate worship that has gained popularity on the airwaves, it warrants a disapproval because it simply does not stand on its own. It fails to point the listener to Christ, it doesn’t call the sinner and saint to repentance and forgiveness so it isn’t fit for public consumption without contextual setting. As far as Corporate worship in a church setting goes, it does at least have a solid confession of the Goodness of God. However, there is a lot of junk in there and the song is not instructive for the Church; rather, it is quite mystical and contemplative in nature.

Chris Tomlin VEVO Lyrics & Chords Video

Lyrics (via KLove)

Good Good Father

Oh, I’ve heard a thousand stories
Of what they think You’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper
Of love in the dead of night
And You tell me that You’re pleased
And that I’m never alone

You’re a good good Father
It’s who You are, it’s who You are, it’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

Oh, and I’ve seen many searching
For answers far and wide
But I know we’re all searching
For answers only You provide
‘Cause You know just what we need
Before we say a word

You’re a good good Father
It’s who You are, it’s who You are, it’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

Cause You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us

You are perfect in all of Your ways
Oh, You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us

Oh, it’s love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable
I, I can hardly think
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
Into love, love, love

You’re a good good Father
It’s who You are, it’s who You are, it’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

You’re a good good Father
It’s who You are, it’s who You are, it’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am
You’re a good good Father

You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways

Publishing: ©2014 WorshipTogether.com Songs / sixsteps Music / Vamos Publishing / Housefires Sounds (ASCAP) / Capitol CMG Paragon / Common Hymnal Digital / Tony Brown BMI Designee (BMI) (admin. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com)
Writer(s): Pat Barrett and Tony Brown

Discussion

Chris Tomlin is indeed the most prolific songwriter in our day.  Much of what he’s written is marketed as “Praise and Worship” music intended for modern, contemporary, evangelical services. It’s rather impressive when you see the sheer volume of songs credited to him, until you start to look for substance in the lyric. Sadly, it is these songs that are most likely to pop up on one of these Top20 charts… rich theology isn’t what gets top billing in Christian radio airplay.

First off, the song is absolutely correct in its confession that believers serve a Good Good Father. In fact, God the Father is the standard by which we measure Good.

Mark 10:17-22 (ESV) | The Rich Young Man

17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

We know that Jesus, being God the Son, is Good; therefore, He is calling attention to this man’s pride and self-righteousness. Jesus exposes the man’s belief that he is good in his own sight, thus his definition of Good isn’t a proper one. When our definition of “good” is downgraded to a comparative goodness to our neighbor, it paves the wide path of self-righteousness which runs counter to the Gospel of Repentance.

The intended audience of a song written for corporate worship is those attending church. I wish that I could say “believers” but with so many churches these days running with the “churching the unchurched” model, that cannot be assumed. Evangelicalism is awash in entertainment and confusing attendance with regeneration… if you can just get sinners to keep coming back they are as good as “saved”. If you don’t preach Law and Gospel, you’re just entertaining unbelievers and giving them false-assurance of salvation by works (attending, volunteering, giving).

No Gospel in this Song

Nowhere in this song is Christ, the cross, sin, or repentance mentioned. The world doesn’t have a problem giving ascent to the idea of a Loving God when they are granted ample leeway to define what that Love looks like. They’ll sing along and really belt out “I am loved because its who I am” for as long as you want to repeat the Bridge… they can even declare His perfection in His Ways… as long as their sin is never addressed and they are never called to repentance.

No Biblical Instruction

Getting back to the problem of mystical direct-revelation, the first stanza doesn’t refute the lies of the world with Scripture… no… it appeals to tender whispers of love in the dead of night. /sigh.

There is also the truism of the refrain that “I am loved”. I say truism, because it is true in a broad sense that isn’t specifically salvific.

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.

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.

God’s perfect Love for us drives His Grace in delaying the judgement until the second coming of Christ and in giving His Only Son Jesus as an atoning sacrifice for sin. But salvation comes by grace through faith… and those who lack Faith in Him who bore our sins and transgressions in our place on the cross will taste the second death, the final judgement.

The Holy Spirit calls us to repentance and points us to Jesus Christ, the Only begotten Son of the Living God. There is a very awkward (contemplative/mystical/sensual) repetitive section in the song that I want to address regarding the as you call me deeper still into love. Let’s look to the Gospel According to John where Jesus gives the Promise (and teaches the role) of God the Holy Spirit.

John 14:15-31 (ESV) | Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. 25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.

Now, our human self-righteousness tends to hijack the language here regarding the “keeping of His commandments and His Word”. We all sin. This isn’t saying that one has to be sinless to love the Father. Wrong sense of the word “keep”. We should be reading this as in cherishing the Word of the Lord in our hearts in the Proverbs sense of the word.

Proverbs 1:1-7 (ESV) | The Beginning of Knowledge

The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:

To know wisdom and instruction,
    to understand words of insight,
to receive instruction in wise dealing,
    in righteousness, justice, and equity;
to give prudence to the simple,
    knowledge and discretion to the youth—
Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
    and the one who understands obtain guidance,
to understand a proverb and a saying,
    the words of the wise and their riddles.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
    fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Even if I can get past the nonsensical repetition of what can only be assumed a tender whisper of love in the dead of night from (Hopefully God the Holy Spirit), “come deeper still into love”… there is no instruction for the Believer in how to answer that call. King Solomon and his father King David pointed to the Word of the Lord. The Written Word of the Lord, even while they had a Prophet of the Lord in their midst. Psalm 119 is a great example, too. Bear in mind, though, that King David and King Solomon were also under the Law of Moses, so they were under obligation of the Law in addition to the Law of Faith. The Chris Tomlin song isn’t pointing to the external Word, the Written Word of God, it is pointing to some internalized emotional experience… an indulgence of whispers in the dead of night. Brothers and sisters, this is dangerous… and no where in Scripture are we instructed to seek God in this manner. We are instructed to seek Him in His Word. To grow in the fullness of the knowledge of Christ.

If only the we’re all searching was descriptive of the Church studying the Word of God. But no, that’s not where contemplatives search for God. They operate under the false-notion that if they engage in “spiritual disciplines” they can find God apart from Scripture… and so this confession of we’re all searching is one of a mystical approach… a fleshly, sensual, emotional one. No one seeks after God. God draws sinners by His Word. If His Word isn’t being preached, no one is seeking Him… they seek replacements for the God they’ve rejected.

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, 10 as it is written:

None is righteous, no, not one;
11     no one understands;
    no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
    no one does good,
    not even one.
13 “Their throat is an open grave;
    they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
14     “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
15  “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16     in their paths are ruin and misery,
17 and the way of peace they have not known.”
18     “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

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 sin.

The Righteousness of God Through Faith

21 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. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

Law and Gospel. Law identifies sin, Gospel grants forgiveness by grace through faith.

Conclusion

The pendulum of “progressive Christianity” is still swinging left here in the US and we are actively exporting this brand of religion around the world. There are some who are trying to reverse the trend, trying to point out the error in slipping away from Sola Scriptura and instead turning to the schemes of men. I’m praying for a revival or reformation of evangelicalism to return once more to the written Word of God, to preaching Law and Gospel, sin and Grace, repentance and forgiveness in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

Jude 24-25 (ESV) | Doxology

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.

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge