Anthems of Identity

There are two songs circling the church a the moment that I think are some of the most important anthems we have sung in years. They speak to issues of identity that the church has long neglected, that as Christians we haven’t quite come to grips with. They are such simple truth but have such a profound impact on how we live our lives. The first comes from, until this song came out, a relatively unknown worship team based out of Atlanta, Georgia. The second comes from the team at Bethel, who have already had a profound impact on the wider church through their music and teaching.

Listen to the songs first, then read and understand what they mean to you before listening to it again.

Good Good Father – Housefires

How we view God, or who we view as has a massive impact on our relationship with him. Jesus came to reveal the father to us. So many view God through the lens of the Old Testament, in isolation of what we know in the New Testament. This causes people to have a view of God, in line with what Dawkins says, in his book, The God Delusion.

The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” – Richard Dawkins

But Jesus came on the scene and said that the Father could only be known by his Son. As Christians, we need to view God through the lens of his Son, and this song, as the name implies, speaks to two areas of God’s true identity.

All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. – Matthew 11:27 (ESV)

He is Good

Fundamental to our belief in God has to be that he is God. If you don’t believe God is good, then how can you listen to what he says? Follow his voice? Believe his promises? When bad things happen (and they will) you have no security, no confidence, no hope, that things will get better. If God isn’t good, what is he?

“[Speaking to God] You are good and do only good; teach me your decrees.” – Psalm 119:68 (NLT)

He is our Father

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. We are to relate to God as a father. The greek word used here (165+ times in the Gospels, 15 times in the Old Testament) is [Abba] refers to intimacy, a close relationship, better translated in the less formal word of ‘Daddy‘ or ‘Papa‘.  The difference might seem negligible until you hear the voice of a young child screaming “You’ll Always be My Father but You’ll Never be My Dad”.

5 Abbá – “Father,” also used as the term of tender endearment by a beloved child – i.e. in an affectionate, dependent relationship with their father; “daddy,” “papa.” – Helps Ministries, Inc.

This will be difficult for some. Our understanding of true fatherhood has become murkier and murkier so much so that the current generation has become known as the “fatherless generation”.

God will always be everything your earthly father was not, on top of everything he was.

No Longer a Slave – Bethel Music

We transition from a song that talks about who God is, to a song that talks directly to who we are. We started with God’s identity because our identity is rooted in who he is. Only when we know who He is, can we really understand who we are. Under the law, we are slaves, separated from God by our sin, as Paul articulates so well in the book of Romans. But under grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, we become sons of God, co-heirs with Christ, part of the royal priesthood. Slaves in Jesus’ time were entitled to nothing if their masters died with no heirs. But sons, sons received everything. Under the law we had nothing, through Jesus, we now have everything – we can call God father, daddy, pappa, and know that he looks on us as sons and daughters. Such a simple, but profound statement, “I am a child a God”.

Under the law, we are slaves, separated from God by our sin, as Paul articulates so well in the book of Romans. But under grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, we become sons of God, co-heirs with Christ, part of the royal priesthood. Slaves in Jesus’ time were entitled to nothing if their masters died with no heirs. But sons, sons received everything. Under the law we had nothing, through Jesus, we now have everything – we can call God father, daddy, pappa, and know that he looks on us as sons and daughters.

It amazes me every time I hear it how such a simple, obvious statement, can have such a profound impact on me, for “I am a child a God”.

For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. – Romans 8:2 (ESV)

Check out both songs on iTunes or Amazon Music:

Housefires II – Housefires, iTunes, Amazon.

We Will Not Be Shaken – Bethel Music, iTunes, Amazon.

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