I was at a conference recently where Ray Hughes said that God raises up songwriters to give us new songs that topple old religious mindsets. This is true for every fresh move of God. I think we’re starting to see that now.
God tells us to sing a new song to the Lord in many places. Why is this so?
Is it so we can have more songs to sing? We got tired of singing the old ones? No. New songs express hearts being opened to new revelation of God, His Kingdom, and who we are in Him.
While the Word of God never changes our understanding must change and improve. We must continue to grow until we come to the full knowledge of Christ (Eph.4:13-14). The Kingdom of God is always advancing and we must advance with it. I talked about this before.
But it’s the songs that penetrate people’s hearts, where old paradigms are broken and true reformation takes place. For a song reaches the heart, not the mind. And as I’ve said before, faith is a heart issue. The mind will follow the heart. This is why songs we listen to so powerfully affect what we think–good or bad.
For instance, Luther’s songs were remembered and assimilated in the minds of his generation more than his sermons. Indeed, much of the transformation during the Reformation came through the hymns being sung rather than the teaching itself. Their doctrinal paradigm is still being reinforced in our hearts every time we sing these beloved hymns.
Does this all mean that old songs are to be discarded whenever new revelation comes? Not necessarily. We don’t discard the past, we build on its foundation. But we do need to be careful.
For instance, we currently find ourselves in a move of God where He’s opening the eyes of our heart to a fresh understanding of the New Covenant, grace and sonship. We’re not only identifying with Christ and His resurrection but identifying ourselves in Christ–that we now are to live His resurrected life. This is not some new teaching to tickle itching ears but actually an ancient truth that’s being recovered. We’re beginning to see just how GOOD the good news really is!
We’re not reading the Bible with our Old Covenant orphan glasses anymore. We’re not seeing ourselves as dirty sinners anymore. We’re agreeing with the better covenant, established on better promises (Heb.8:6). For we believe that Christ inaugurated something unprecedented by giving us His Spirit–we’re a new creation, dead to sin and alive to Christ! Ding dong, our old nature’s not only really dead but most sincerely dead! Hallelujah!
The old powerless paradigm of sin-management and behavioral modification mixture of grace and law is being overthrown in our hearts in favor of a life governed by His overflowing life in the Spirit–where there’s freedom, where there’s His righteousness, peace and joy! (Rom.14:17; 2 Cor.3:17)
Therefore, songs that separate us from Christ in any way should be held suspect–possibly discarded. And this includes some of our beloved hymns.
For instance, let’s look at one of the verses in Charles Wesley’s classic hymn, “Jesus, Lover of My Soul”…
“Just and Holy is Thy Name,
I am all unrighteousness;
False and full of sin I am;
Thou art full of truth and grace.”
Now, I otherwise love this song, but this sentiment is simply not true. I was false and full of sin before I came to Christ; it’s NOT true of me now.
Do I still sin? Yes, but I do so contrary to and in ignorance of my new nature.
And while these lyrics are absolutely true of Him, they deny who we are in Him. For since we died with Him , what’s true of Him is now true of us. We are not to identify with our old life full of sin. (2 Cor.5:17, 21; Gal.2:20; Col.3:3)
This is what Paul meant when he told the carnal Corinthians that he was determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. (1 Cor.2:2). We now see ourselves crucified with Christ, not “false and full of sin.”
Contradicting what God says about us in Christ is not being “humble,” nor will it bring us closer to Him. We must affirm and confess what He believes about us, not what our current experience dictates. That’s called living by faith, by the way.
So, should we sing this beloved hymn? Yes, but maybe skip this verse. 🙂
This is why we need new songs that topple some of the deeply intrenched mindsets we have held in the church that contradict what God says about us. Indeed, over the last several years in our church, we’ve had to stop singing some of our favorite worship songs that we sang with such passion years before. Those old songs were teaching the wrong things to us. Even though they held sentimental value, they were detrimental to our growth in Christ.
But, praise God, new songs are being written! I’ve shared some of those new songs on this blog. You can hear some of them in my worship category.
Recently, Mark Hendrickson shared a WorshipMob song on his blog, “Song: Arrested by Grace by WorshipMob.” You need to check out what he said about it.
I’ve included the video here. You can get the words on Mark’s post. This is a wonderful example of what I’m talking about.
God is calling forth song writers to write new songs of freedom, peace and joy found in the Father’s embrace.
Let’s sing a new song to the Lord!