Paul penned, “I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also” (1 Cor. 14:15). We must take care in understanding the words of any song that we sing, it is possible to sing error as well as to teach error. Take a lesson:
· Living By Faith: It is stated in verse 3: “Our Lord will return to this earth some sweet day…” Let us understand the words of our songs are not inspired. The Word of God declares, “…the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them, be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air…” (1 Thess. 4:16-17). No Scripture indicates that Christ will ever set foot upon this earth again. Why would He want to do so? “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works therein shall be burned up” (2 Pet. 3:10). Christ will never again set foot on this earth for any reason.
· Jesus Is Coming Soon: Most serious students of the Bible know that we cannot and do not know the time when Christ shall return (Matt. 24:36). The author of the song, R.E. Winsett is of definite premillennial persuasion. Note the lyrics carefully: “love of so many cold,” “evils abound,” “when these signs come to pass,” and “trumpets will sound.” Do any of those words sound familiar? Listen, “And because iniquity (evils) shall be multiplied, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matt. 24:12), and “He shall send forth His angels with a great sound of a trumpet…”(Matt. 24:31). Consider the parallel reading (Luke 21:28-31). The songwriter applies these “signs” to the second coming of Christ. However, look at the context and you quickly realize that Christ is discussing the destruction of Jerusalem which took place in A.D. 70 and has no dealing at all with the final return of Christ.
· What A Savior: I cannot sing with the understanding that “they searched through heaven and found a Savior to save a poor lost soul like me.” A few questions come to mind immediately: (1) Who are the “they” in that phrase? (2) Why would “they” need to engage in such a search? (3) Since they found a Savior, does that suggest that there is more than one?
The apostle Paul wrote that it was “according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:11). Christ is the Savior Who triumphed over evil (Gen. 3:15; ca. 1700 B.C.). Christ is the Savior Who was resurrected, had His hands and feet pierced, and was betrayed (Psa. 16:10; 22:16; 41:9; et al, ca. 1055 B.C.). Christ is the Savior to be born of a virgin, and would not answer His accusers (Isa. 7:14; 53:7; ca. 810-700 B.C.). Christ is the Savior to be born in Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2; ca. 758-700 B.C.). These are just a few of the hundreds of prophecies concerning the coming of the Savior! “The” is a definite article which always points to a particular person, place, or thing. Here the “person” is none other than Jesus the Christ, the one and only Savior!
· When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder: Please notice these words with care, “On that bright and cloudless morning when the dead in Christ shall rise…” The New Testament teaches clearly, “…then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air…” (1 Thess. 4:17) and “Behold, He cometh with the clouds…” (Rev. 1:7). Now, since Christ is coming “with the clouds” and we will be “caught up in the clouds” I have to wonder how it could possibly be a “cloudless morning”? At our Lord’s ascension the Record reveals, “He was taken up and a cloud received Him out of their sight (Acts 1:9), and that one day Christ “shall so come in like manner as ye beheld Him going into heaven” (Acts 1:11). The texts reveal a whole lot of clouds and cloudiness, do they not?
It is appropriate for a song leader to ask us to change the words or to omit a stanza or two, especially when a song is teaching those matters that stand in opposition to the divine Word of the living God! Remember, we can sing error as well as we can teach/preach error. Let us sing with the spirit and with the understanding, also.