The following is a written preview of our new Q&A style podcast where Pastor Foley takes questions related to the Whole Life Offering discipleship training model. Subscribe now!
Q: I have to talk to you about the songs again. There’s a big push now towards healing people’s self-esteem. How would something like “I lay my sins on Jesus. He bears them and frees me” fit into the general approach of that kind of message?
A: Here’s the problem. Look at every single instance of where Jesus encounters a sinner in the Bible; there’s not one where he diagnoses their problem as a lack of self-esteem. He is always straightforward about the person’s sin. But…what causes them to want to be around him is that, even though he’s straightforward about their sin, he knows something that is bigger than their sin that causes them to have absolute confidence that they can be set free.
When we are in the presence of God we can bring our sin to God and know that it doesn’t define our relationship with him. There’s a way he can help us, not only to be forgiven for it, but to be empowered to live in a way that allows us to rise above it. That’s the kind of God in whose presence we want to be.
That’s what the song really celebrates. I lay my sins on Jesus because our sins don’t just evaporate, right? It’s not that God is in the form of Christ, on the cross, saying, “Hey, I’m taking the punishment here because I love you. You guys are great!” Your sins have to go somewhere. Someone has to pay the price for those. That links you and Him together forever. He becomes your life, your only hope, your only way of not only being able to receive forgiveness for your sin, but to be set free for a new way of living that matches what it is that God designed you for in the first place.
Q: Very few churches, I think, are singing hymns anymore. I don’t know that they have praise band arrangements for these songs.
A: The reason why we do music in the church isn’t primarily for emotional expression. It’s because it’s how we come to know the truths of God in both sides of our brain and in the fullness of our being. They teach us theology. The problem is, we have such a warped notion of theology, we think of it as just head knowledge, but it’s not. Theology is the hearing and the doing of the Word and you’ve got to have music in your head. That needs a soundtrack.
There are going to be times when that hymn gives you the guidance of what to do or what to say.
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