The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Terrible Salvation Songs: BECAUSE HE LIVES (AMEN) by Matt Maher

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Rex is the proud father of two young children: Chris and Hannah.  Rex loves his kids very much and his favorite part of the day is when he gets home from work and sees them running to greet him and tell him all about their days.  Rex’s first wife died several years ago, and he just recently married another woman named Tina.  He’s anxious to see how his kids will adjust to having Tina being their new stay-at-home mom.  Well, one day when Rex comes home from work, he is concerned when he doesn’t see Chris and Hannah waving at him from the window.  When he goes in the front door, he is surprised to see them still playing with their toys on the living room floor, not even looking in his direction.

“Guys, Daddy’s home,” he announces.

Chris and Hannah look over at him grimly and shrug.  “So?” they say.

“What do you mean ‘so’?” Rex protests.  “What’s wrong with you guys?”

“We love our new Mommy, not you.  She feeds us,” Hannah snaps.

“What are you talking about?” Rex asks in alarm.  “I’ve always fed you.”

“No, you leave us every day,” Chris accuses.  “But our new Mommy stays with us and takes care of us because she really loves us.  You never really loved us.”

“I leave so that I can go to work to earn the money that pays for the food your Mommy feeds you!” Rex counters.  “I pay for this house and the clothes that you’re wearing!  And all of those years when you had no Mommy at all, who was taking care of you?  I was!  How can you talk to me like this?”

But his kids just get up and say, “We don’t want to talk to you anymore.  We want to be with our Mommy, because she’s the only one who really loves us.  You’re just mean.”

This disturbing little exchange demonstrates what New Testament Jews like the apostle Paul did to Yahweh after the revelation of Christ.  It also captures the attitude that Christians continue to have towards Yahweh today.  Even though Paul was a Pharisee who had received special training in the Old Testament, and even though Yahweh’s great love and care for the Jews is one of the most prominent themes of the Old Testament, once Paul decides to promote Christ as a great Guy, he grossly turns on Yahweh and talks as nastily about Him as little Chris and Hannah talked to Rex.  In the book of Romans, Paul lays out a shockingly grim view of Yahweh which boils down to Him being an incompetent, indifferent Creator who essentially abandoned the human race to the clutches of malicious deities named Sin and Death.  Even though Sin and Death are not gods, Paul talks as if they are, and he says that these formidable foes were completely oppressing the human race while Yahweh stood around doing nothing for centuries.  Then Yahweh finally came up with the idea of Christ, and it was Christ who then saved us from the dire situation Yahweh had left us in.

 For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom. 5:6)

Notice that reference to humans being “helpless.”  How could we possibly be helpless if we were in the hands of the incredibly  kind and wonderful Yahweh?  The obvious implication is that Yahweh was intentionally neglecting us.  Paul says that it was while we were under Yahweh’s care that we became enslaved by Sin and that Death reigned over us. Paul says that it was only after Christ came that we finally got the opportunity to become “alive in Christ.”  And yet is this what Yahweh teaches in the Old Testament?  Did He teach humans to view themselves as hopelessly dead in their sins and enslaved by some terrible entity named Death?  Did He teach non-Jews to view themselves as utterly despised, rejected, and cut off from Him?  No, He did not.  Yahweh has always taught that all souls are welcome to come to Him.  In fact the Old Testament contains accounts of Yahweh blessing Gentiles instead of Jews because the Jews were refusing to listen to Him–talk about embarrassing for Israel.  When He was preaching in His hometown of Nazareth, Jesus made a point of reminding Jews of how Yahweh has a history of choosing Gentiles over them because the Jews were so hardhearted.

“Certainly there were many needy widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the heavens were closed for three and a half years, and a severe famine devastated the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them. He was sent instead to a foreigner—a widow of Zarephath in the land of Sidon. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, but the only one healed was Naaman, a Syrian.” (Lk. 4:25-27)

It was this acrid little speech that resulted in a mob of furious Jews trying to murder Jesus by shoving Him off of a cliff (see Know Your Bible Lesson 47: The Moody Miracle Worker).  And yet all Jesus did was remind people of some historical facts.  Yahweh has never been the bigot that the Jews make Him out to be in the Bible.  So while the apostle Paul spends a lot of space in his epistles teaching Gentiles that they were never wanted by Yahweh until Jesus showed up, his whole “Yahweh loves the Jews more than Gentiles” theory is a total pile of rubbish (see More Lies from Paul: God Loves Jews More Than Gentiles (Romans 11)).

Because the Church teaches you to use the Bible as a replacement for God in your life, you just blindly accept all of the slanderous rot that the New Testament writers sling about Yahweh and Christ until it actually sounds right to you to sing a song like Because He Lives (Amen)Borrowing heavily from a hymn by the same name, Matt Maher’s song pretends to be exalting Jesus when it is really just recycling lies from the apostle Paul which grossly insult Yahweh.

It was Paul who taught you to view yourself as “dead in the grave” before Jesus came to rescue you.  Jesus and Yahweh certainly never taught you to view yourself this way.  Yahweh spends a lot of time chewing out spiritual rebels in the Old Testament, and yet in His rantings, He emphasizes hope, not despair.  He is always calling people to repent out of their rebellion and submit to His Authority before it is too late.  He doesn’t just say, “Look at all of you corpses, lying there in the grave of sin.  What a bunch of sad sacks you are.  Oh well, there’s nothing I can do for you.  I don’t have the power to beat Death or Sin, so until I come up with some brilliant new strategy, I guess you’re just stuck.  But don’t give up on Me—I’m working on a wild idea about having someone die on your behalf. Maybe another human can break this curse that you’re all trapped in—I know I sure can’t.”

Can you imagine an Almighty God talking so idiotically?  And yet this is what Paul teaches, because Paul was a spiritual moron.  And by the time you accept such a ludicrous view of Yahweh, naturally you’re going to view Jesus as the only reason why you’re finally alive again.  You’re going to view Jesus as your only Savior—because He was the Guy who did what Yahweh couldn’t do.  Jesus becomes the Hero, while Yahweh is the Zero, thus you talk about Yahweh like He’s some angry, brooding Judge who Jesus must protect you from (see Songs that God Hates: Before the Throne of God Above).  In your mind, it’s only thanks to Jesus that you have any hope at all. Jesus is the God who really loves you while Yahweh is just the God who ditched you and the Holy Spirit—well, He’s just some wind that blows through the room now and then.  This is the total mess we end up in when we let spiritual rebels shape our theology instead of going to our Gods directly for truth. Let’s now go through the lyrics of Matt’s God-bashing song and learn why this is a song we never want to be singing.

[Verse 1] I believe in the Son; I believe in the risen One
I believe I overcome; By the power of His blood

There are major problems with you singing about how you are overcoming by the power of Jesus’ Blood. Anytime we start talking as if mere attributes of Jesus are the things with the power instead of focusing on Jesus Himself, we start veering off into a bizarre form of idolatry.  No, there really wasn’t any power in the physical fluid that drained from Jesus’ physical earthsuit (see Hymns That Lead Us Astray: There is Power in the Blood).  Atonement sacrifices have always been symbolic rituals.  Yahweh never needed priests to roast Him up some lamb burgers before He could muster up a desire to forgive sins.  And once you understand that the sacrificial system in Israel wasn’t even functioning for most of Israel’s history you start getting a far more accurate understanding of how unnecessary atonement sacrifices are in the forgiveness process.

Divine forgiveness is when the true Gods decide to voluntarily change Their attitudes towards us (see What happens to the soul at the moment of salvation?).  Instead of holding a grudge against us, They decide to be merciful and say, “Let’s move on and leave the past in the past.”  It doesn’t have anything to do with animals roasting or Jesus dying on a cross.  Yahweh is not such a miser of mercy that He had to have Jesus convince Him to forgive us.  Before anyone knew about Jesus, Yahweh was forgiving boatloads of sin and throwing down oceans of mercy and grace onto the heads of snarky rebels.  When we act like the cross is some magic wand that turned Yahweh into a nice Guy, we are being grossly disrespectful to all three of our Gods.  Jesus never taught people to view the cross as some “Yahweh fix.”  He never taught that it was okay to view Yahweh as some angry grudge holder. It was only from the New Testament epistles that we picked up all of these lies about Yahweh,  and if we were to actually read the Old Testament instead of pretending it is irrelevant, we’d realize how delusional the New Testament writers were.

Today Christians talk about Jesus’ Blood and Name as if they are magical talismans we can use to make Jesus do what we want.  We strut around declaring this and that “in the Name of Jesus.”  We go through a bunch of ridiculous hoopla to figuratively fling Jesus’ blood onto people and places that we want to protect from the forces of evil (see TB Joshua & the SCOAN: Getting Rich on Holy Water).  And while we’re busy acting like wannabe sorcerers, we are only building up Divine wrath against us for our total lack of respect.  How dare we say that we are overcomers?  We are totally dependent on our Gods for all things, and this hasn’t changed just because Jesus died on a cross.  So no, we can’t just rip off Jesus’ Blood and run around overcoming everything we don’t like.  When we talk like this, we’re just parroting the apostle Paul, who taught that Jesus infuses us with the magical ability to never sin again.

Despite what you’ve been taught by Christian teachers who are trying to avoid facing what an idiot Paul was, the truth is that the man does not teach that salvation comes through grace and faith.  Like the apostle John, Paul teaches that salvation can only be acquired through sinless living.  And by that Paul doesn’t mean you sin and just point back to the Blood of Christ and say, “It’s all good, I’m covered.”  Paul means that you cannot keep sinning after salvation. Paul teaches that Jesus changes your very nature so that you’re a “new creation in Christ” who now has the ability to be totally sinless.  Paul says that if you’re not perfect, you’re damned (see Romans 6: Paul Baptizes Christians Into Despair).  Once you understand that Paul was a Pharisee, this makes perfect sense, because the Pharisees always taught that salvation was only offered to the morally perfect, and naturally they included themselves in that group.  But once you tell people that God demands behavioral perfection from them, you make everyone feel like it’s impossible to ever please God, thus they all go pitching into spiritual despair.  It was because the Pharisees were intentionally discouraging people from ever feeling like they could get right with God that Jesus had such acrid things to say about them (see Know Your Bible Lesson 62: Woe to the Pharisees).

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let in those who wish to enter!” (Matt. 23:13)

It is because you are incorrectly viewing the Blood of Christ as radically changing your very nature and somehow making all of your sins irrelevant that you are claiming to overcome by the Blood of Jesus in this song.  But no, the truth is that no one is accepting you into Heaven because Jesus died on a cross.  Jesus claimed to be dying for the sins of the entire world and yet He also said that most of the world would end up in Hell.  If merely being covered by the Blood is all that we need to be saved, then we should all be saved, because Jesus said we were all covered.  And yet the truth is that the Blood doesn’t do bumpkus to get us accepted by our Gods.

Read through all of Jesus’ parables on salvation and you’ll find that He never talks about atonement, but He always talks about the soul attitude of submission.  It is through submission to our Gods that we acquire salvation, and submission is a choice of the soul, not a Man dying on a cross.  Jesus did not change the way that salvation is acquired—we only think He did because we’re acting like Paul is the highest authority in the universe, despite the fact that the man didn’t even accept the Divinity of Christ (see The Great Offense of Paul: Rejecting the Divinity of Christ).

[Chorus] Amen, Amen
I’m alive, I’m alive; Because He lives
Amen, Amen
Let my song join the one that never ends
Because He lives

Amen means so be it.  It doesn’t make any sense for you to be throwing out random amens in this chorus, but there it is.  Notice how you say that you’re alive because Jesus lives.  Here’s more idiotic language.  Jesus is God Almighty.  He has no beginning or end.  So there was never a time when Jesus wasn’t living, yet you obviously think there was because you’re making such a big fuss over the fact that Jesus is alive as if that is some questionable concept.  Of course what Matt is referring to here is Jesus’ resurrection from the grave—another act which we’re getting excited about for all of the wrong reasons because we’re listening to foolish humans instead of our Gods.

If you begin with the very wrong assumption that Jesus is just another human being, then suddenly His resurrection becomes a big deal.  Naturally you ask, “How can a mere human come back to life after three days?”  And there are only two answers to that question.  The first answer is that Jesus raised Himself back to life, thus demonstrating that He is not just a human, but a true God, since only a true God has power over life and death.  The second answer is that Jesus is just a human, thus the only way He could come back to life is if a real God brought Him back.  Unsurprisingly, the New Testament writers all voted for that second answer and they teach that it was Yahweh who raised Jesus (see Who raised Jesus from the dead?).  Well, once you refuse to recognize that Jesus has the power over life and death, you don’t have to view Him as more than just a human.  But you will say, “Gee, if Yahweh chose to raise Jesus back to life, He must think Jesus is someone pretty special.”  The resurrection then becomes nothing more than evidence that human Jesus is one of Yahweh’s favorite people (see How the NT Epistles Define Christ: Not God, Just Another Flawed Human).  This is what the New Testament writers teach, and because you are siding with them and not with Jesus, you end up talking like Jesus’ resurrection is some epic shocker.  Well, it’s all fine to be wowed when you’re still getting a grasp on Jesus’ Divinity, but maturity demands that you stop acting like it’s so mind-blowing that God Almighty can bust out of a grave using the same earthsuit that He created for Himself thirty some years earlier.

Jesus is God.  When are we going to start treating Him like One instead of acting perpetually amazed that He managed to actually fulfill His own prophecy?  You see, as you mature, you need to change the way that you are expressing your awe of God.  For the spiritually young, it is appropriate to get all wide eyed and slack jawed at the idea of Jesus “coming back to life.”  But after Jesus has educated you about some of the basic abilities of a Sovereign God, then you are honoring Jesus by not acting like it was some incredible feat for Him to return to life.  Instead, your attitude should be, “Of course You were able to do that.  It was so easy for You.  You’re God Almighty—nothing is too difficult for You.”  See the difference?  It is because the Jews viewed Jesus as a mere mortal that they were so stunned by His resurrection.  But we Christians know that Jesus is God, and as God, He wants us to express confidence in His infinite abilities and good Character.  And yet what are we saying about God’s Character in this next verse?

[Verse 2] I was dead in the grave; I was covered in sin and shame
I heard Mercy call my name; He rolled the stone away

So we’re saying that our Gods had left us abandoned in some foul grave until one happy day when Jesus suddenly decided to take interest in us?  This is total rot.  All three of our Creators are intimately involved in our lives from the very beginning.  If we’re going to just blindly accept another human’s view of God, Psalm 139 is a much better choice than the New Testament epistles.  In Psalm 139, David correctly describes Yahweh as a God who is intimately involved in every aspect of David’s human existence.  The God being described in Psalm 139 is certainly not One who would chuck humans in some nasty grave, block the only exit with some heavy stone, and walk away to leave them rotting in despair.  Matt’s song reveals no understanding of who the real Gods are.

[Chorus] Amen, Amen
I’m alive, I’m alive; Because He lives
Amen, Amen
Let my song join the one that never ends

[Bridge] Because He lives I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, Every fear is gone
I know He holds my life, my future in His hands

[Repeat Chorus x2]

These Bridge lyrics are terrible.  The fact that Jesus is alive is your only reason for hope?  Well, it is a living Jesus who chucks souls into Hell for refusing to submit to Him as God Almighty so the mere fact that Jesus “lives” hardly means you  have nothing to fear.  And it’s precisely because you know that He holds your future in His hands that you should be afraid of Him.  Reverence is a fear-based respect for God that is a natural response to you acknowledging how powerful He is.  Reverence is a critical soul attitude, for it is the thing that motivates you to submit to Jesus as more than just your loving Pal.  And yet you’ll notice that this song says nothing about critical soul attitudes.  Instead, it suggests that we attained salvation because Jesus randomly decided to roll away the stone and let us out of our stone prisons.  He demands nothing from us—instead, we just seem to be catching Him when He’s in a merciful mood.  And then we wax on about how we’re alive because He’s alive.  Well, that’s ridiculous.  Jesus has been alive a lot longer than we have.  The mere fact that God exists hardly guarantees that we will as well, nor does it guarantee that we’ll have blissful lives in eternity.  There is no truth being expressed in this song—just a bunch of insulting and nonsensical insinuations about who our Gods are and how They operate.  Such offensive noise hardly qualifies as worship, so the next time someone encourages you to sing Because He Lives, honor your Creators by deciding to pass.

FURTHER READING:
Jesus vs. the NT Jews: What it Means to Please God
Salvation: How do you know when you’ve met God’s requirements?
Problematic Worship Songs: THIS I BELIEVE (The Creed) by Hillsong
Offensive Worship Songs: JESUS, ONLY JESUS by Passion

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