O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing

In the past I haven’t blogged in series.  I have simply tried to get the one blog in per week as faithful as I can.  Well, I suppose it’s time for a change.  Introducing a new series for The Schoeneblog: Why Do We Sing That? In this series I will attempt to break down a lyric within a worship song and ponder it’s biblical purpose for worshipers. This idea has been on my heart for some time.  I even had a previous blog in December in which I reflected on some lyrics within a Christmas hymn. You can read it here.  Anyway, I think my explanation has gone on long enough.  If you like were this is going or have some ideas of worship songs you’d like to see here, please leave a comment below.

WHY DO WE SING THAT?

Sing what you believe and believe what you sing.

As I sing out my praises to the Father with songs, old and new, I try to meditate on biblical truths within the lyrics.  One such text I have had on my mind over the last several weeks is a verse in O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing.  It goes like this;

He breaks the power of canceled sin

He sets the prisoner free

His blood can make the foulest clean

His blood availed for me.

In most traditions this is the 3rd verse, however in my denomination we sing it as the 4th and last verse.  But, did you know that in the original song which Wesley titled, For the Anniversary Day of One’s Conversion, it was the 10th of 17 verses!  Let us never again accuse our worship leaders of songs taking too long!

The beginning of the verse is the part I’ve really been pondering. At times I had sung this great Charles Wesley hymn before (that is the shorter version, O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing), and thought that this phrase seemed redundant. The words “breaks” and “canceled,” I had determined meant the same thing.  One was in present tense and the later in past tense, but that is the only difference, right?

I meditated on this and pressed forward in my regular studies and reading. I’ve been reminded through the tweets of pastors and theologians I follow that “The gospel is just as important after you become a Christian as it is before.” –Tullian Tchividjian  And also that the same God who has paid the penalty for our sin has given us His power to overcome sin daily.  In light of these encouragements, it struck me that this one verse was not restating the truth of our pardon for sin but was reminding us of the two dimensions of Jesus’ victory over sin on our behalf.

The lyric isn’t redundant after all.  It really is saying these two things.

1. Jesus canceled the penalty of our sin so our future with Him is secure.

2. Jesus breaks the power that sin had over us in this life.

Child of God, not only are you Forgiven and Redeemed, in Christ you are also Over-comers!

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. NLT

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