"Unpacking" is a feature that I hope to make a regular part of my ministry blog. We'll unpack the lyrics of songs, look at their basis in scripture, and talk about how the lyrics affect us individually and corporately in worship.
Last week we learned a new song by Carl Cartee, Mark Harris (not the FC guitar player), and Glen Packiam, called "Forgiven Forever." It's a powerful song, and one of my new favorites. We brought this song back from the Inspire Worship Conference that some of the worship folks attended last May, and I've been eagerly waiting to introduce it. Here are the lyrics:
Carl Cartee, Mark Harris, Glen Packiam
Once we were lost and so far away
Wandering in darkness, covered in shame
Without you, Oh without you
Now we are found by a love that is stronger
No longer blind & we see all along it was you
It was you, It was you
Worthy is the Lamb, Seated in Heaven
Beautiful the Blood, We are forgiven
Forever, forgiven Forever
The victory is won, Jesus is risen
Love has over come, We are forgiven forever, forgiven forever
Before we had fallen redemption was planned
You were our hope long before time began
It was you, it was you
After the heaven and earth pass away
We’ll stand together with one voice and say it
It is you, Jesus it’s you
No death nor life, No present or future
No angel or demon, No power, no creature
Can take me away from the love that’s in Jesus Christ
The focus of this song is, obviously, that we who call on the name of Jesus Christ have been "forgiven forever" of our sins, and have an eternal relationship with Christ. The bridge is a quotation of Romans 8:38-39, and declares that the love of Christ cannot be removed from us under any circumstances, and by no power (earthly or otherwise). It's rare that we sing a bridge three times, but this is one that's worth it!
The thing about this song that resonates with me more, however, is the praise of God's sovereignty. In the second verse, we sing:
"Before we had fallen redemption was planned
You were our hope long before time began."
1st Timothy 1:9-10 tells us that the grace we know and are called to proclaim was "given to us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus."
What a thought, that the saving grace of Christ was planned for us not only throughout history, but before it; even before time itself. Before creation.
When we sing this song, try to think about what it means to have a God whose power and love is great enough that this gift was planned for us before the first sin, before the first death, and before the first man was created. A grace that is eternal; not only looking forward, but in the rear view mirror as well.