Monday, July 27, 2009

But We DO Know How Much It Cost!

This week in church we sang....

"Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down, Here I am to say that You're My God, You're altogether worthy, altogether lovely altogether wonderful to me....
I'll never know how much it cost , to see my sin upon that cross.........

We've sung it many times before. But somehow this week I keyed in on the the words, "I'll never know how much it cost". I thought about those words for a bit, trying to see how they could be true, theologically speaking.

It's possible the author meant that we might never comprehend the entire breath-taking magnificence of Christ's death on the cross on our behalf. And I suppose in that sense the words would be true.

However...the words might be more literally interpreted as "I'll never understand the cross...never know what or how much Christ accomplished on behalf of His people".

But we DO know exactly what it cost to see our sins upon that cross. We know that it cost the life and death of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The entire Bible speaks to sin and redemption. The cost and manner of our redemption is spelled out very clearly. We know everything there is needed to know salvation.

So to say "I do not know" or "will never know" the cost of our redemption is simply not true. The New Testament writers laid it out very explicitly.

It would be more accurate to say that "we do not know" the depth of the Holiness of God and how deadly offensive is our sin against our Holy God.

And it would be explicitly accurate to say, "We'll never know" what it is to drink the cup of God's wrath against sin. But we do know that Jesus Christ drank that cup for us.

We know that Christ died for us. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James, and Peter (did I miss anyone?) can be pretty specific in the details. So how can I sing, "I'll never know how much it cost...?" Their presentation of the exact cost for our salvation is quite clear. They preach Christ crucified.

The Good News is that the Messiah, the Savior, Emmanuel (God with us) came into humanity (John 1:1-3, John 1:14), lived the righteous life that we could not live, took our sins upon Himself at the cross (our sins were imputed to Him), and in exchange He imputed His righteousness to those who believe. When we stand before God, we are seen by God as "clothed in the righteousness of Christ" and not standing there in our own unrighteousness. Christ's righteousness is ours and so we stand "clean" before a God that demands complete righteousness. We know what it cost. If we do not, then we do not understand the Gospel (the Good News).


Laurie M. said...

Good words. Sometimes in their efforts to make rhymes, and/or to evoke strong emotions, songwriters can lose touch with sound teaching or clear communication. (Or perhaps it really is that their own doctrinal understanding is weak.) That line in that song is ambiguous at best. I've always taken it to mean "we'll never know how horrible it was" or somesuch thing, the the lack of clarity rather renders it meaningless, because it can mean anything to anyone.

Joshua said...

Good post. For some time I have felt awkward singing that line in worship.

Seen in the best possible light, I hope it to mean that we can never exhaust the depths of the atonement in our seeing and savoring of Christ.

Debby said...

Amazing, isn't it. My friend Mary and I were talking about this very thing yesterday.

Diane said...

That's an issue with a lot of modern worship songs - either ditching correct theology for the sake of a rhyme, or not understanding doctrine to begin with, as Laurie said.

A few writers get it right - I love most of Casting Crowns' stuff, as reflects a much more complex understanding of the incredible grace we've received.

Elle Bee said...

You made me think more deeply about the lyrics I have sung quite a few times. Thank you.