Question #251

What about these explanations for your troublesome songs?

While it is commendable for God's people to evaluate what we say and hear, including when we sing, it seems that you have a difficult time with the expressions of others when they are short of your idea of perfection. To say, I appreciate what my heavenly Father has done for me is not trite since Jesus says essentially the same thing (I praise you, father, that you have not revealed these things to everyone... paraphrase, mine). Perhaps Shine Jesus Shine is not a command, but an affirmation of what we already observe God doing.

The Answer:

First, our idea of perfection has nothing to do with the comments that are made on songs. The important, and the only important, factor is whether they comport with God’s word. You seem to recognize that because you have sought to harmonize “Shine, Jesus, Shine” with scripture. Unfortunately, you have failed. Had the song been addressed to the church in the manner of “Send The Light” there would be no problem. That language recognizes the Great Commission and the duty of the church. “Shine, Jesus, Shine” is addressed to Jesus in the title and in the body of the song. It asks (if that word pleases you more) Jesus to send forth his light when he has already done so in the Great Commission. Additionally, were it an observation of what he was already doing, should the words not read to the effect that Jesus sent (past tense) forth his light and it shed forth (past tense) the light. It strikes me as spiritual malfeasance to ask Jesus to do that which he has commanded us to do. Finally, the word “command” seems to be more in keeping with the language – it is imperative and not declarative.

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)