When I hear a song like this I can see why some people have a problem with it. This song is tells us that following Christ is less about rules and more about love. Too often Christians try to make this "religion" about the rules. That is not at all what Christ desires. After all didn't He come and give His life so that we would no longer be bound by the chains of the law?? Christ came to give us freedom (Romans 3). It's not just about believing or pledging allegiance to someone. Jason talked about how God desires more then just a bunch of believers who follow some rules. He wants our love, our devotion, and a relationship with us. In a blog he writes,
"Love redefines the terms of the relationship, infusing our devotion to the law with passion and purpose something we do for love rather than obligation. When done out of love, the law which once brought death and condemnation has a chance to make us alive again, because we do it out of delight. But it all starts with love."
On the air today he mentioned that many people who get caught up in legalism are seeking to find a way to serve God while also serving themselves. There are certain things that they are willing to sacrifice but they aren't willing to give up everything. That would be too risky. The love he is talking about in this song is not the warm, fuzzy, emotionally based love that our culture defines the word as. Jason is talking about the type of love that takes a hold of us and requires us to give up our whole life. After all is this not how Christ defined love?
Of course when you talk about love in this way it terrifies people... and it should!! This type of love peels back the layers of our heart and reveals the selfish human underneath. This type of love requires ultimate trust, a willingness to lay down our guard and another very scary word... vulnerability.
Jason points out that when we insist on legalistic terms its our way of trying to maintain control. We try to make salvation something that we can do. It takes the emphasis off of God and puts it on us and that is a dangerous thing to do. It is never about us, and it is always about Him. Calvin puts it this way...
"Until men recognize they they owe everything to God, that they are nourished by his fatherly care,that he is the Author of their every good,that they should seek nothing beyond him,they will never yield him willing service.Nay, unless they establish their completehappiness in him, they will never give themselves truly and sincerely to him."
When we make following Christ all about following rules we lose sight of what it means to truly follow Him. In a parable Christ said that the kingdom of heaven was like a treasure hidden in a field... when a man it, he hid it, and then in joy, sold everything he had and bought the field (Mt 13). I don't think that Christ told this story as a mere suggestion to give up everything. Christ requires that we give up everything. The single greatest commandment is to love the Lord with ALL our heart, soul and might. I love this quote by R.A. Torrey...
"If loving God with all our heart and soul and mightis the greatest commandment,then it follows that not loving him that wayis the greatest sin."
Convicting isn't it.
When we insist on legalistic terms we forget about grace. Not a single one of us can uphold any law, without God's grace we would be condemned to hell. Thankfully God doesn't require us to "follow rules" in order to be saved. It is simply about receiving His love, which is given to us; His grace, which is offered freely; and His mercy, which not a one of us deserves. I am so glad that my "religion" is more like falling in love:)
*check out Jason Gray's blog on this song