Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Worship in Truth

I am a wounded soldier
But I will not leave the fight
Because the great physician is healing me.
I am loved; I am accepted
By the savior of my soul.

How many songs do we sing in church which do little to magnify the love and glory of the One who loved us and gave Himself for us while, at the same time, going to great lengths to remind ourselves how special we are?

How many refrains fail to humble us before a Holy God by minimizing the death sentence we so richly deserve and the One who absorbed it for us?

The Church is flimsy these days,
preaching a flimsy gospel
and engaging in flimsy worship.
In short, we're telling a tale of humanism.
In short, we're lying about the work of the Cross.

In God's eyes, we're not the victims.
We're the perpetrators.
And our sin--not our pain--separated us from a Holy God.

It would be more accurate to sing a song like this:

I was an AWOL soldier
'Cause I had left the fight,
And the Good Creator's wrath was on me.
I was treasonous. I was in rebellion
to the authority of the King.

Jesus' death satisfied God's wrath,
Not His pity.
And Jesus went to His death for me while I was still a teeth-gnashing traitor against Heaven.

How many of our worship songs lie about that Truth?

Happily, there is a rich, true theology found in the old hymns.
They told the Truth about us
(probably because they were written back when the Church preached the True Gospel).

"Now to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be.
Let your goodness like a fetter bind my wandering heart to Thee."

"My sin, o the bliss of this glorious thought,
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Was nailed to the Cross and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o my soul."

"Bearing shame and scoffing rude
In my place condemned He stood.
Sealed my pardon with His blood
Hallelujah, what a Savior!"

Unlike the old hymns, modern 'worship' has fallen far short of telling the Truth.
Fortunately, though, not every new song lacks good theology.
And for every insipid refrain of "More love, more power" and other seven/elevens like it, modern hymn writers are beginning to return to Truth in worship.

"Behold the Man upon the Cross
My sin upon His shoulders.
Ashamed I hear my barking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished.
His dying breath has brought me life.
I know that it is finished."

"I beheld God's love displayed.
You suffered in my place.
You bore the wrath reserved for me.
Now all I know is grace."

"I am the thorn in Your crown
But You loved me anyway.
I am the sweat on Your brow.
But You loved me anyway.
I am the nail in Your wrist.
But you love me anyway.
I am Judas' kiss.
But You love me anyway."

True worship accurately depicts God's love.
He made the first move.
He loved us while we were sinners,
Not while we were helpless victims.

Who loves a hurting child?
Who loves a wounded puppy?
Who loves victimized woman?
We do.

But who loves a criminal?
Who loves a traitor?
Who loves a snivelling, blasphemous dog?
God does.


Preach a false gospel,
or sing a false gospel,
and we paint a lying picture of a small god and a potent humanity.

Preach and sing the True Gospel, however,
of a Holy God and a wretched, filthy humanity,
and we properly understand the Love of our very Big Redeemer.

That, my friends, is what it means to worship in Truth.

Soli Deo Gloria.


  1. AMEN to that!!! My favourite contemporary Christian song right now is "Who Am I"-

    "Who am I that the Bright and Morning Star should choose to light the way for my ever-wandering heart?" ?!?!!


  2. I think you've hit on an important issue with this article. I suppose this is why the lyrics of writers such as Getty and Townend are so much more powerful than those of most contemporary praise songs.

    But how do you feel about hymns that are written as though God is speaking the lyrics to us? Especially if the words He's saying are not taken directly from Scripture?


  3. Grace, I ha've to look up that song. Sounds great! :)

    Hey Max! Good to hear from you. , I don't like those songs, either. I think it's dangerous to put words in God's those billboards people were putting up that were supposedly things God would say (unless the text is scripture, which would make it verifiable)... But the other problem with songs like that is that it's not worship, in my opinion. Worship is the act of us giving adoration and glory to God. Great points, Max.