Written by Hannah McClure,Kalley Heiligenthal, Paul McClure. © Bethel Music Publishing.
“The Worship Series” is a project that’s very near and dear to my heart. Combining my passions for music, theology, worship, and teaching, I’ve created a short series of articles designed to deepen our collective understanding of modern worship music. Each highlights a specific worship song, and seeks to find its theological and biblical roots. I’ve also included original videos for each song, to give my own “stripped down” take on the song. It’s my hope that these articles help mold and shape the way we approach modern worship music, and give us firm theological ground from which to sing about our God. Enjoy!
The core posture of this song is one of gratitude. In the first verse, we sing about the constancy and consistency of God’s grace for us. From here, we move to a declaration that the testimony of our salvation not only defines our lives (or is our anthem), but it also moves us toward a posture of praise and worship.
From beginning to end, this song does an excellent job of contrasting the brokenness of our humanity against the glory of God. We’re reminded in verse two that pain and sorrow, while still at work in the present, are ultimately reconciled in the restoration made possible by Jesus. We exhort that God brings hope to the hopeless, a home to the orphan, peace and rest to the lost.
Why Sing It?
When we sing this song in our churches, we express the most fundamental elements of the gospel while also entering into a posture of worship that expresses pure affection and adoration for the glory of God. These words unite us around a singular expression of God’s supreme worth, and declare that our highest affection and devotion belong to Him.
This song could function well as both preparation for and response to the Word of God in a church service. Whether we’re preparing our hearts to receive with this reminder of God’s good grace or responding to His glory with our love and affection, the major themes of this song are critically important to the flourishing of our faith. These elements should (in some way) always be present in a corporate church setting.
Potential Stumbling Blocks
We should be cautious in our understanding of the lyrics in this pre-chorus: For all that You’ve done we will pour out our love; this will be our anthem song. While this is an excellent expression of gratitude, we cannot carry this line of thinking too far. Our faith in and adoration for God should never be transactional. We cannot fall into the trap of believing “God is worthy of all praise because He saved us”; our salvation has no bearing on God’s supreme glory and worth. This is not an exchange of goods for services.
Rather, the Biblical portrait of God upholds that “God is worthy of all praise and He saved us”. This might seem like a subtle difference (and it really is subtle), but our belief here can have drastic ramifications for the foundation of our faith and the motivation behind our worship. I think Romans 5 and 6 are excellent resources for understanding this dynamic further. I also wrote a more in-depth article about this idea, you can read it here.
A Biblical Foundation
If I were to relate this song to a specific passage of scripture, I would choose Romans 5. Not only does this provide some foundation for the main themes of the song, but it also expounds on them. Paul reminds us that Christ died for us when we were at our weakest, and that we should model this example of love as we seek to love those around us.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:6-11 (ESV)