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Question #361

What is wrong with the song Heavenly Father We Appreciate You?

Do you go to a church of Christ? What is wrong with the song "Heavenly Father we appreciate you?" Please consider the impression you're giving secular people and potential converts to Christianity. It seems like you are nitpicking at nothing. Why not spend your time creating a web site with a more positive message? Like- Jesus loves you no matter what--not Jesus loves you as long as you sing the right songs. Gospel means good news.

The Answer:

This question is almost as shallow as the song. First, if the readers get any impression other than the FACT that our heavenly Father deserves a greater level of praise than this song contains they are missing the point. To even suggest that the great Creator Saving God worthy of no more than this shallowness demonstrates an amazing lack of understanding of what He has done for us in Christ. The fact that it may have no unscriptural language in it does not justify its use. Think of what songs of praise that truly glorify God could be sung in its place. Second, it’s a pity that your eye can only see what you call the negative. It is even more likely that you have found much truthful teaching on this website with which you disagree but the comment on this song was all you thought you could refute. Third, while it is true that Jesus loves you and me and all men no matter what ((Rom. 5:8), he doesn’t save you or me or all men no matter what. To fail to teach those dead in sin that bad news awaits them if they continue in that state is to ignore the salvation that the Good News brings. If you fail to teach that truth it is you who has no love for the souls of men. I tell you these things not because I am upset with you, but because I love you and your eternal soul.

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) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

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)