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Is the work really done? – Lyrics from Christian Music

Tags: jesus song love

Is the work really done?  That question came to mind when I was listening to a Christian Song.  One of the lines is “The work is done”.  But is it?  Or should the question be – what work is done?  Maybe there’s some portion of “the work” that’s done.  Then we need to know what part is done?  Knowing what part remains to be done is also useful.  

Is the work really done? - Lyrics from Christian MusicDo we understand Christian song lyrics?

The question is – do we even think about those things?  When we sing this song, do we just hear “The work is done” – and then assume the work of Christianity is done?  It’s an important question.  I recently published something about the Great Commission, in which Jesus gives His followers our orders on how to go forward in life.  

The response I got from one person was “The work is done, man”.  I was shocked.  But then this morning I heard the song with those words – The work is done.  Is that where the person who wrote the reply got his thinking?  Honestly, I don’t know.  But someone listening to that song, picking out that line, could get the wrong impression.  Unless they take the time and put in the effort to find out what the author of the song meant.

Is the work really done?

We’ll get into the actual song shortly.  But first, let’s examine why the line might be a problem.

The first thing that came to my mind when I heard that lyric about the work is done was this:

The Great Commission

Mt 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said,All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The question should be obvious.  Jesus tells us All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  Is the work done?  Clearly, there’s some work to be done.  At least for some amount of time.

But then Jesus closes with:  surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.  We haven’t reached the end of the age yet, since Jesus hasn’t returned yet.  Doesn’t that mean our charge to fulfill the Great Commission isn’t done yet?  In fact, it won’t be done until the second coming of Jesus.

Maybe – maybe – we can try to convince ourselves that the work was done when Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected.  But then we have to take into account something Paul wrote.  Actually, we have to account for a whole bunch of things Paul wrote, but let’s use just this one.

The Rights of an Apostle

Paul begins the passage by talking about the rights that apostles have and that he hasn’t really used most of them.  For the purposes of this discussion, it’s the paragraph below that’s relevant.

1Co 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Is the work done?  Paul’s still “running”

OK – so what’s the prize that Paul writes about?  We need to remember something about the Greeks and athletics.  The Olympics, yes the ones we watch today, started 76 years before the birth of Christ.  Athletics were a big thing then. 

It’s a whole lot more of spectacle today than it was then.  I actually got to run a “race” with some other guys on a tour through Greece one time, at the original site of the Olympics.  The “arena” was a green grass field, surrounded by small sloped “hills” where men (no women allowed) could sit and watch the races. 

Not too fancy.  But still very popular.  Anyone listening to Paul knew what it meant to win a race.  And his assertion that there could be more than one winner was astounding.  There weren’t participation trophy’s back then.  There was one and only one winner.  What Paul wrote was a great way to catch people’s attention.

Paul’s running, but what is the prize?

So the question for them is – what is this prize that everyone can win?  Here’s an interesting look at what the Greek word that we read as prize meant.

2638 καταλαμβάνω [katalambano /kat·al·am·ban·o/] v. From 2596 and 2983; TDNT 4:9; TDNTA 495; GK 2898; 15 occurrences; AV translates as “take” three times, “apprehend” three times, “comprehend” twice, “come upon” once, “attain” once, “find” once, “overtake” once, and “obtain” once. 1 to lay hold of. 1A to lay hold of so as to make one’s own, to obtain, attain to, to make one’s own, to take into one’s self, appropriate. 1B to seize upon, take possession of. 1B1 of evils overtaking one, of the last day overtaking the wicked with destruction, of a demon about to torment one. 1B2 in a good sense, of Christ by his holy power and influence laying hold of the human mind and will, in order to prompt and govern it. 1C to detect, catch. 1D to lay hold of with the mind. 1D1 to understand, perceive, learn, comprehend.  1)Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

Notice the combination of 1A and 1B2.  It starts with:

1A to lay hold of so as to make one’s own, to obtain, attain to, to make one’s own, to take into one’s self, appropriate.

Lay hold of what?  1B2, which is:

1B2 in a good sense, of Christ by his holy power and influence laying hold of the human mind and will, in order to prompt and govern it.

Which gives us:

to lay hold of so as to make one’s own, to obtain, attain to, to make one’s own, to take into one’s self, appropriate (things) of Christ by his holy power and influence laying hold of the human mind and will, in order to prompt and govern it.

In other words, to have the Holy Spirit in this life.  And to have eternity in Heaven after this life, represented by the crown.  That’s something worth running for.

It seems obvious to me that Paul’s telling us that we all have the opportunity to achieve what he wrote about.  But just in case, here’s something else.

Just because Paul kept running, does that mean we should too?

If any had the notion that everything Paul had written thus far applied to him alone (only one receives the prize), v. 24 dispelled it: So run that you may obtain! With all its heat, apology, defense, and rationale, with all its personal reference and use of the first person singular, the argument had kept one eye on the reader, on the Corinthians with their rights, their freedom. In the end, it was all one long, loud call to “be imitators of me!” to do it “all for the sake of the gospel,” the word of the crucified who had died to end all division between Jew and Greek, weak and strong. Any other way than this (Paul will return to this “way” again in chapter 13) spelled worthlessness, being a “castaway,” as the old KJV reads (this time the figure is taken from commerce and banking, from the minting of coins and disposing of bad pennies). “Run, train, aim the punch, hit the body where it hurts—under the eye—make it your slave. That body has a future—the prize, the wreath! [6:13b–14]. By the gospel, in the gospel, for the sake of the gospel, fall clean and bright from the mold!”  2)Harrisville, R. A. (1987). I Corinthians (pp. 158–159). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House.

Yes, this was Paul telling everyone to follow his example.  To run for the prize we just looked at.  To run for Jesus.  All of us, not just Paul.  

By the gospel, in the gospel, for the sake of the gospel, fall clean and bright from the mold!

Yes – the Gospel.  Which takes us back to the original question – is the work done?  Given what Jesus said in the Gospel, given what the rest of the New Testament says – including the part we just looked at from Paul, how can the work possibly be done?

Is the work really done? – Lyrics from Christian Music

So let’s look at New Song by Lou Fellingham & Nathan Fellingham 3)https://www.weareworship.com/us/songs/view/new-song-3602/6736/lyrics

There is a new song in my mouth, a melody
Something to dance and shout about, His Love for me
He gave His life that I might be totally free

No longer stuck in my old way,
The chains are gone
Because of Jesus I am changed, the new has come
His love is redefining me,
It’s the goodness of our God

Let us sing of His love
Let us sing of His grace
Let us sing of His mercy
That’s poured out on us

Now royal blood flows through my veins,
A child of God
Nothing can break or separate,
Secure in love
I’m now accepted every day, Such amazing grace

Joy unspeakable, my shame is gone
Love unstoppable, the work is done
Hope unquenchable, is written on my heart

How do we know what a song means?

I’d love to say I found an interview with the artists about this song and why they wrote it.  But I didn’t.  I did find a site that attempts to find Bible verses related to the lyrics of Christian songs.  But the ones they pulled out just didn’t fit with the context of the song.  (They tried to do that based on the words in the song.  We’ll see more about doing that shortly.)

So what do we do?  How about go back to the very context of the song that ruled out the Bible verses?  The context that should reveal something about why the song was written.  Can we determine, from that context, what the work might be that’s supposedly done?

There is a new song in my mouth, a melody
Something to dance and shout about, His love for me
He gave His life that I might be totally free

The passage below is Jesus speaking to some Jewish people about being free.

The Children of Abraham

Jn 8:31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Jn 8:33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

Jn 8:34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you do what you have heard from your father.’”

Jn 8:39 “Abraham is our father,” they answered.
“If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do the things Abraham did. 40 As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41 You are doing the things your own father does.”
“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”

The scenario may be different for us.  Maybe we aren’t Jewish.  But the promise is the same, for everyone.  

36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

By His death on the cross, everyone who truly believes in Jesus is set free.  That’s reason for rejoicing.  For some people, like David, music and dancing are ways to rejoice in the name of the Lord.

Moving along, here’s the next part of the song:

No longer stuck in my old way,
The chains are gone
Because of Jesus I am changed, the new has come
His love is redefining me,
It’s the goodness of our God

Let’s see where that concept might come from.

The Ministry of Reconciliation

2Co 5:11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

At its essence, isn’t this what worship songs are about?  What’s in our hearts.  For the sake of God.  And we now live for God, not for ourselves.  And bringing glory to God for everything He did for us.

2Co 5:16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.

Something’s new.  As laid out in the previous verses, it’s about God.  More specifically, about changes in us because of Jesus.

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

A new creation.  Could this be the work that might have been completed?  After all, a new creation could take us back to “day” six of creation.  After Adam and Eve were created, creation was complete.  But then, that didn’t mean God was done with us, did it?

18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

Again, it comes back to Jesus.

20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2Co 6:1 As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2 For he says,
“In the time of my favor I heard you,
and in the day of salvation I helped you.”

Here’s a potential issue.  We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God doesn’t indicate that the work is complete.  Urging someone to do something means there’s something yet to be done.  Even the statement Be reconciled to God is aimed at someone who’s not yet reconciled to God.  It means there’s still work to be done.

I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

This verse needs a second look.  The translation, as usual, is from the NIV.  However, when we look at the Greek word translated as “now”, some questions come up.  Here’s that Greek word.

3568 νῦν [nun /noon/] adv. A primary particle of present time; TDNT 4:1106; TDNTA 658; GK 3814; 139 occurrences; AV translates as “now” 121 times, “present” four times, “henceforth” four times, “this + 3588” three times, “this time” twice, and translated miscellaneously five times. 1 at this time, the present, now. Additional Information: For synonyms see entries 737, arti; and 2235, ede.See entry 5815 for comparison of synonyms.  4)Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

Taking that further, and looking at the root words for this one – in other words, looking deeper into the language used at that time, the word doesn’t mean “a point in time”, which is what we usually think of as “now”. 

So, let’s look at another translation.  Young’s Literal. 

1 And working together also we call upon you that ye receive not in vain the grace of God— 2 for He saith, ‘In an acceptable time I did hear thee, and in a day of salvation I did help thee, lo, now is a well-accepted time; lo, now, a day of salvation,  5)Young, R. (1997). Young’s Literal Translation (2 Co 6:1–2). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

And there it is.  “an acceptable time”.  With that in mind, let’s look at that passage again, with a fresh look with “now” being “at an acceptable time“.

We read this in Bob Utley’s Letters To A Troubled Church
‘AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME’ ” This is a quote from the Septuagint of Isa. 49:8 (one of the Servant poem/songs), which deals with God welcoming and equipping (1) the Messiah and (2) a Messianic community. There is often a tension in Isa. 40–53 between corporate, national Israel and the ideal Israelite King (Messiah).

This is a quote from Isaiah.  Which was, of course, a prophesy from Old Testament times.  That really throws the whole issue of what “now” means into confusion.

‘THE ACCEPTABLE TIME … THE ACCEPTABLE TIME’ ” The first is a quote from the Septuagint of Isa. 49:8, using dektos, but Paul uses a more intensified form (eurosdektos, cf. Rom. 15:16) when he applies this prophecy to the Corinthian situation (cf. v. 2b). The Messiah has come and now the invitation to be fully accepted by God has come to them. They must seize the moment. They must be the eschatological Messianic community.

There’s more information here in regards to “now”.  Jesus has come and gone – died, was resurrected and ascended back to Heaven.  That was the point at which “now” began.  The end of “now” has to do with either the death of the individual person or the return of Jesus – the End Times.  So now we have a range of time for “now”.

The day of one’s salvation is a wondrous, marvelous event, but it is often accompanied by persecution and difficulties (cf. 6:4–10).

“now is ‘THE DAY OF SALVATION’ ” The last sentence in v. 2 is Paul’s comment on the quote from Isaiah. This can refer to both an individual’s invitation to respond to the gospel, and the life of service to the Messianic kingdom.  6)Utley, R. J. (2002). Paul’s Letters to a Troubled Church: I and II Corinthians (Vol. Volume 6, p. 246). Marshall, TX: Bible Lessons International.

At the same time, we have the confusion about whether or not “the work is done” coming back up.  When we are saved, we’re saved.  At least that’s one way of looking at it.  Some denominations believe it’s possible to lose our salvation.  For me personally, I don’t believe we can lose it, but rather it’s a question of whether we really had salvation in the first place.

In either case though, that portion of the work is done – an individual’s invitation to respond to the gospel and they respond positively.  However, after that, there’s still more work to be done – the life of service to the Messianic kingdom.   

Clearly, there are questions about whether the work is done.  But we are getting things narrowed down, beginning to realize that some work is complete, but other work still remains.  But what did the words in this song mean?  Are they about the completed work?  Or are they about the work still to be done?

Now royal blood flows through my veins,

What follows is a bit long, just for this one line.  But for those who need the background, I think it’s worth going through.

Things often get a bit messy what it comes to blood.  In this case, does Jesus’ blood really flow through our veins?  Of course, I can also ask, are we supposed to literally drink the blood of Jesus?  Or, are we literally washed with the blood of Jesus?  How about no, no (with apologies to Catholics) and no.

Jesus the Bread of Life

The first part of the passage is about Jesus telling the people they aren’t looking for Him – that they’re really after the show, the miracles.  The relevant portion of the passage to the context of this discussion begins below.

Jn 6:32 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

Jesus begins to let the people know they need His “Body” and His “Blood”.

Jn 6:34 “Sir,” they said, “from now on give us this bread.”

Jn 6:35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Jn 6:41 At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”

Jn 6:43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

Jn 6:52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

The people aren’t happy about the body / bread stuff Jesus said.  But they’re about to get a whole lot worse when Jesus brings up the blood.

Jn 6:53 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

Of course, Jesus never meant for anyone to literally eat His flesh or drink His blood.  Both are references to the Old Testament / Old Covenant.  Both would have been well known and familiar to the Jewish people Jesus was addressing.  But, they didn’t get it.  In fact, the very next passage in John is:

Many Disciples Desert Jesus

Jn 6:60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

Jn 6:61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”

Jn 6:66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

Jn 6:67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

Jn 6:68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

Without knowledge of what Jesus meant, many disciples left Him.  They misunderstood.  To me, this realized the question of what are we doing when we sing worship songs?  Do we know what they mean?  Are we singing songs that we think mean one thing, while they actually mean something quite different?  

I’m not asking because I think someone would leave Christianity if they knew what it meant.  Rather, my bigger concern is that we live a life less fulfilling than it could be, because we don’t understand what Christianity is about.  We get ideas about Christianity from those songs.  It’s best if we get the right ones.  To use Paul’s racing analogy, we might think we’re running a really good race, only to find out we’re running on the wrong course.  Not good at all. 

Ultimately, for this song and these lines, it comes down to what does the blood represent?  Actually, what did the blood represent?

blood

The symbol of life, which thus plays an especially important role in the sacrificial system of the OT. The shedding of the blood of a sacrificial animal represents the giving up of its life. The “blood of Christ” refers to Jesus Christ’s obedient giving of his life, in order to achieve redemption and forgiveness.  7)Manser, M. H. (2009). Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser.

So what used to be a sin – drinking “blood” because it was the source of life – now becomes an element of our salvation and leads to eternal life for those who follow Jesus.

So does royal blood flows through my veins represent something literal?  No.  Does it represent what Jesus said during His time of ministry on earth?  Yes. 

I think we’re past the controversial lines, so let’s see if we can finish off the words without too much more difficulty.

A child of God
It’s not likely that many people would have a problem with this line.  But would it surprise you to learn that the actual phrase, child of God, occurs one time in the NIV?  Relax, the concept is definitely there.  I just found it interesting that these words are only there once.  

Anyway, that one time is actually the subject of an entire passage in a letter John wrote.

Children of God

1Jn 2:28 And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.

John starts off addressing this to “dear children“.  As you know, children is a term often used to indicate followers of Jesus.  At that time, followers of The Way.

1Jn 2:29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.

1Jn 3:1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.

Even the term “children of God” appears a number of times in the NIV translation of the Bible.

1Jn 3:4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

1Jn 3:7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.

As we see, this entire passage is about children of God.

Some of you may be wondering why I bothered to include the passage and any kind of explanation at all.  After all, child of God is a term that few Christians, if any, would question. 

Honestly, it’s here to make a point that I raised earlier.  If we look for specific words and phrases from songs, with the expectation that they will be word for word in the Bible, we might be disappointed.  What we’ve seen throughout this look at “New Song” is that concepts are important, not literal words.

With that thought in mind, let’s close out the last three lines.

Nothing can break or separate,

This one, as with the question of whether salvation can be lost, is a denominational / translation issue.  There are verses in the Bible that, with our English translations, could support either view.  As I said – maybe we’re saved and can’t lose that – or maybe we were never saved in the first place.  

In this case, if we are separated from God, maybe we were never “attached” in the first place.  Keep in mind the parable of the sower.  It’s beyond what I want to get into here, but the question is this – who are we to be able to determine whether any given person is represented by any specific one of the outcomes for the seeds planted by the sower?  If you want to read more on the parable of the sower, you can find other articles here.

So, can we know whether someone is “attached” to Jesus?  No, we can’t.  Not for sure.  That’s something only God knows.  And as long as we understand that, then we should be able to agree, I hope, that the seen that lives and produces good fruit cannot be separated from God.

Secure in love
I’m now accepted every day, Such amazing grace

Hopefully, these last two lines don’t need any explanation.

Conclusion – Is the work really done?

Quite briefly, the answer for the author of this song is – yes.  And no.

The author of the song believes he is saved.  The song is written about his salvation.  How he feels.  Through the song, he wants us to be able to share in what he feels.  For Christians, for us to use his experience, his words to worship God.  So he and his wife released this song.

For non-Christians, it can be something to plant a seed.  Maybe to spark something in them.  Something they feel is lacking from their own life.

Are all the words literally in the Bible?  No.
Are the concepts in the Bible?  Yes.

Is the work really done? 
If we’re talking the Great Commission – no.  
If we’re talking the salvation of the songwriter.  Yes, as far as his salvation goes.  And yet, it’s also no, as he understands.  Part of his lifelong work for God is writing songs and leading worship.

The thing is – I believe it’s really up to us to understand what we’re singing.  Especially in this digital era, songs don’t come with explanations.  There’s no place to put them.

Ultimately, I wonder, if we don’t take the time to understand what we sing / do as worship, does something Paul wrote about tongues also apply to us when we sing?  Something he wrote in the Love passage in 1 Corinthians.  I’ll just close with that.

Love – 1 Corinthians

And now I will show you the most excellent way.

1Co 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

1Co 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1Co 13:8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

1Co 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay


References   [ + ]

1, 4. Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.
2. Harrisville, R. A. (1987). I Corinthians (pp. 158–159). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House.
3. https://www.weareworship.com/us/songs/view/new-song-3602/6736/lyrics
5. Young, R. (1997). Young’s Literal Translation (2 Co 6:1–2). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
6. Utley, R. J. (2002). Paul’s Letters to a Troubled Church: I and II Corinthians (Vol. Volume 6, p. 246). Marshall, TX: Bible Lessons International.
7. Manser, M. H. (2009). Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser.

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Is the work really done? – Lyrics from Christian Music

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