Songs

Righteous Through Faith - July 2019

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In Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, he highlights one of the most precious Gospel truths when he talks about “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (Rom 3:22). He goes on to say that while “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23), those who believe in Jesus Christ by faith are “justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith” (Rom 3:24-25). Amazing!

It is by no act of our own that we can stand righteous before a holy God. But in His mercy, God sent His Son to bear the full wrath of the punishment we deserved, so that His children, could be made clean by Jesus’ blood. In this beautiful act of divine love and justice at the cross, God reveals Himself “as just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom 3:26). Praise be to our great God who has impressed these truths upon our hearts by His Spirit and made us righteous and alive in Christ.

Last year in Australia, some friends and I wrote this song during our church’s Romans preaching series to help us celebrate together what God has done and pray for His help to live in light of these wonderful truths. It’s a joy to share it with our church here as we dig into the book of Romans. Listen and download below!

Righteous Through Faith

Lyrics:

You’re the Father, Creator of all (Rom 1:7, 1:25)
You are faultless, You have never done wrong (Ps 18:30, Job 34:12)
But we have fallen short of Your righteous law (Rom 3:23)

We’re Your children, no good on our own (Rom 3:10-11, 8:16)
We are helpless without You as our hope (Rom 3:12, 5:2, 5:6)
You are the answer to all of our deepest flaws (Rom 7:25a)

We are rescued by grace (Rom 1:5, 3:2, 4:16, 5:2)
Made righteous through faith (Rom 3:22, 4:16, 5:2,9)
In the work of Christ for our sake (Rom 5:6, 2 Cor 5:21)

You are just in Your ways (Rom 3:26)
And Your Name will be praised (Rom 1:5,25)
For the righteous live by faith (Rom 1:17)
Lord, help us live by faith

While we were sinners, Christ died for us (Rom 5:8)
To make us righteous, washed by his blood (Rom 5:9)
Now we are spotless, the evidence of Your love (Col 1:22, Rom 5:8)

Your love and Your justice unite (Rom 1:7, 3:26)
In the redemption that’s found in Christ (Rom 3:24)
In him we are justified (Rom 3:24)

© 2018 Daniel Nitschke, Jono Fryga, & Jonathan Wisdom


Rom 1:16-17 (Scripture Memory) - June 2019

Scripture Memory is a huge way to “hide God’s Word in our hearts” (Ps 119:11). This helps us not only meditate and chew on God’s Word over and over again, but it’s also a fruitful way to put Paul’s words in Philippians 4:8 into practice. What is more pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise than God’s Word itself?! When this life stretches us, when sin tempts us, and even when we’re enjoying God’s joyful blessings, we want Scripture to be on the top of our minds and the tip of our tongues.

Below is a song written to put Romans 1:16-17 to memory. These verses have and continue to play a major role in evangelical Christian faith as we understand the doctrine of justification by faith. While the recording features a kids ensemble arrangement, I’ve found that even “kids songs” are helpful for adults too! Listen and enjoy, but better yet - memorize!

Romans 1:16-17

Memory song written by Wilfred Mak & Jonathan Wisdom, featuring a NCC kids ensemble! Translation based on ESV with minor adjustments for poetic meter while retaining the essence and truth of the passage.

Lyrics:

Verse 16
For I am not ashamed of the Gospel
For it’s the power of God for Salvation
To everyone who believes
To the Jew first, then the Greek

Verse 17
For in it God’s righteousness
Is revealed from faith for faith
As it is written:
The righteous shall live by faith!
The righteous shall live by faith!
The righteous shall live by fa-a-a-a-aith!

© 2018 Wilfred Mak & Jonathan Wisdom


Grace Alone - June 2019

Have you ever considered why jewelers show diamonds against a black cloth? Six years ago when God, in His great kindness, convinced Emily to marry me, I went shopping for her engagement ring. So my cousin, RUF campus minister, and I head on down to a jewelry store in downtown Atlanta. After telling him what I’m there for, the jeweler escorts us to his diamond case. All I can say is “wow!” I mean, these things are magnificent, each one sparkling brightly when the light strikes it at just the right angle. Picking out a few to take a closer look, he does something really interesting and places them on a black velvet cloth. This allows each diamond to not only sparkle all the brighter but gives us a chance to really catch all the detailed intricacies of what makes it so captivating.

It’s kind of like that with the Gospel. How beautiful is the good news that sinners can be reconciled to a holy God through the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ? But when seen against the black stark backdrop of sin, the beauty of the Gospel shines all the brighter!

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You begin to see all the detailed intricacies of what it means that Christ gave His life for us. You can truly appreciate and glory in the grace of God to even allow sinners to approach a holy God through our great Savior. And you come to realize that Salvation is only ever by grace alone through faith alone, and not by anything you could ever do to earn it. In fact, you learn how inwardly (and often outwardly) you were running from God, and all along, it was God who moved you, by His Spirit, to believe and trust in Jesus. More personally, you learn how the Gospel can be applied to each aspect of your life, like a healing balm on your darkest areas of sin, and empower you to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.

We must talk about sin because it makes the cross of Christ appear all the more glorious. And we must talk about grace because it increases all the more our view of God’s glory and sovereignty.

How much theology can be packed into a single song? In Grace Alone, Dustin Kensrue helps us look at the beauty of the Gospel against the backdrop of our sin. Notice the Father, Son, and Spirit progression as we explore the sweet doctrine of Salvation by grace alone.


Grace Alone

Written by Dustin Kensrue

Lyrics:

I was an orphan lost at the fall
Running away when I'd hear you call
But Father you worked your will
I had no righteousness of my own
I had no right to draw near your throne
But Father you loved me still

And in love before you laid the world's foundation
You predestined to adopt me as your own
You have raised me up so high above my station
I'm a child of God by grace and grace alone

You left your home to seek out the lost
You knew the great and terrible cost
But Jesus your face was set
I worked my fingers down to the bone
But nothing I did could ever atone
But Jesus you paid my debt

By Your blood I have redemption and salvation
Lord you died that I might reap what you have sown
And you rose that I might be a new creation
I am born again by grace and grace alone

I was in darkness all of my life
I never knew the day from the night
But Spirit you made me see
I thought I knew the way on my own
Head full of rocks a heart made of stone
But Spirit you moved in me

And at your touch my sleeping spirit was awakened
On my darkened heart the light of Christ has shone
Called into a kingdom that cannot be shaken
Heaven's citizen by grace and grace alone

So I'll stand in faith by grace and grace alone
I will run the race by grace and grace alone
I will slay my sin by grace and grace alone
I will reach the end by grace and grace alone

© 2013 Dead Bird Theology, It's All About Jesus Music,
We Are Younger We Are Faster Music | CCLI License # 193208


Living Hope - Apr 2019

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

- 1 Peter 1:3


The other day I was helping my dad load some things in his car when he asked me to go inside and grab a few specific boxes. After walking through the front door, I froze, literally not being able to recall a word he’d just said! Something about some boxes, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember which ones or where they were… even though he had just told me 20 seconds ago!

Have you ever had Gospel amnesia? Not that you couldn’t explain the Gospel if asked, but maybe you’ve lost sight of what Jesus has done for you in the moments you needed most to remember it? Or maybe life’s routines have settled you in to a rhythm of security and provision that the wonder of the Gospel has faded? Or perhaps the cares and temptations of this world have given you a clouded view of your need for God’s transforming grace?

One of Israel’s besetting sins was the plague of forgetfulness. Moses was constantly on them saying, “Take care lest you forget the LORD your God” (Deut 8:11). When would they forget the Lord? Would it be in life’s most broken moments? Much more concerning was the temptation to forget God when life went well! So Moses warned that enjoying the gifts of their God while forgetting their God would ultimately be deadly for them. Instead, they must take care to remember what He had done for them. How he met their greatest need in their most hopeless moment, freeing them and feeding them.

As Christians, Jesus isn’t just the one we turn to when we have no other place to go, but He is the One we turn to every moment of every day. Because otherwise we will, no doubt, turn to ourselves or somewhere else for assurance and satisfaction. Will we have seasons of doubt and wandering? It’s likely. But that’s why we need to be constantly reminded of the Gospel. Constantly telling and retelling the wonders of God’s glorious grace in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Because we are so prone to forgetfulness.

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Our hope is a living hope because we have a living Savior! Our hope is a living hope because we were dead but have been made alive in Christ! Our hope is a living hope, because Christ is the very sustenance by which we live. As we need a constant reminder of the Gospel, one of the most vivid pictures we have is the sacrament of Communion. At the Table we feast on Christ for spiritual nourishment (John 6:54).

I rejoice also that God has provided songs for the church throughout the generations that tell and retell the central story of the Gospel: the depth of our need and that Jesus Christ lived, died, and rose for sinners like you and me. As we sing “Living Hope” throughout Easter, remember. Remember that there was nothing you could do to save yourself, but God sovereignly and graciously called you by name and breathed new life into your dead soul. What great mercy and what boundless grace! Praise be to the One who set us free! This is a story that can’t be over-told. For there indeed is no other name by which we can be saved than Jesus Christ, our living Hope (Acts 4:12).

Living Hope

Written by Phil Wickham & Brian Johnson

Lyrics:

How great the chasm that lay between us
How high the mountain I could not climb
In desperation, I turned to heaven
And spoke Your name into the night
Then through the darkness, Your loving-kindness
Tore through the shadows of my soul
The work is finished, the end is written
Jesus Christ, my living Hope

Who could imagine so great a mercy?
What heart could fathom such boundless grace?
The God of ages stepped down from glory
To wear my sin and bear my shame
The cross has spoken, I am forgiven
The King of kings calls me His own
Beautiful Savior, I'm Yours forever
Jesus Christ, my living Hope

Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There's salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my living Hope

Then came the morning that sealed the promise
Your buried body began to breathe
Out of the silence, the Roaring Lion
Declared the grave has no claim on me
Jesus, Yours is the victory!

© 2017 Phil Wickham Music, Simply Global Songs,
Sing My Songs, Bethel Music Publishing / CCLI #193208


His Mercy is More - Mar 2019

He will again have compassion on us

he will tread our iniquities underfoot

You will cast all our sins

into the depths of the sea

- Micah 7:19


There have been times in my life where I’ve had a clouded view of God’s love. Maybe you’ve had a similar experience? Seasons of doubt, rebellion, pride, and disobedience, coming face-to-face with my sin, wondering whether God’s mercy really could go that far. In my head, knowing what the Bible says, but in a moment feeling the heaviness of my sin. Utterly broken. Surely, I’ve exhausted God’s patience?

In moments like these we need the church to remind us who we are. Brothers and sisters in Christ, not to pick us up, but to point us to the only One who raises us to new life (Col 2). Friends who won’t just offer advice, but who offer God’s Word to remind us that the blood of Christ is sufficient to cover all our sin (Eph 1:7, Heb 10:14, 2 Cor 12:9)! So that instead of turning to our own strength, we can turn to the very Spirit of God working powerfully within us (Rom 8:13). Remembering that for those who would throw themselves on the mercies of God, trusting in the redemptive work of Christ, God really has removed our transgressions as far as the east is from the west (Ps 103:12).

This beautiful modern hymn from Matt Papa and Matt Boswell was inspired by a letter written by John Newton (writer of “Amazing Grace”):

For the more we know of ourselves, the more we shall prize and love Jesus and His salvation. I hope what you find in yourself by daily experience will humble you, but not discourage you: humble you it should, and I believe it does.

Are not you amazed sometimes that you should have so much as a hope, that, poor and needy as you are, the Lord thinketh of you?

But let not all you feel discourage you. For if our Physician is almighty, our disease cannot be desperate and if He casts none out that come to Him, why should you fear?

Our sins are many, but His mercies are more: our sins are great, but His righteousness is greater: we are weak, but He is power. Most of our complaints are owing to unbelief, and the remainder of a legal spirit. And these evils are not removed in a day.

Wait on the Lord, and He will enable you to see more and more of the power and grace of our High Priest.

No matter how bad we’ve been, no matter how far we’ve run from God, no matter awful our sin, His mercy is more. This is incredibly good news! What other response can we have than to praise the Lord for His glorious grace in Christ Jesus!

His Mercy is More

Written by Matt Papa & Matt Boswell

Lyrics:

What love could remember no wrongs we have done?
Omniscient, all-knowing, He counts not their sum
Thrown into a sea without bottom or shore
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more!

Praise the Lord, His mercy is more!
Stronger than darkness, New every morn’
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more!

What patience would wait as we constantly roam?
What Father so tender is calling us home?
He welcomes the weakest, the vilest, the poor
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more!

What riches of kindness He lavished on us?
His blood was the payment His life was the cost
We stood ‘neath a debt we could never afford
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more!

© 2016 Getty Music Hymns and Songs, Getty Music Publishing, Love Your Enemies Publishing, Messenger Hymns / CCLI #193208


Also appearing on the Getty’s Newest Album

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God is For Us - Feb 2019

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

- Romans 8:31, 38-39


Romans 8, what a chapter! The ultimate relief for the heavy-burdened. The ultimate ammo against the enemy’s lies. The ultimate hope that God is the one working, for His glory and our good.

The world has no lack for songs to bolster one’s faith. It’s just usually about faith in yourself to “rise above”, “hold on”, or “shake it off.” What makes our faith different is its object. Not faith in ourselves, but in our God who “gave His Son to free us” from the bondage of sin and doubt. He is the reason we can keep going, because He is the author and finisher of our faith, Christ our firm foundation.

I came across this group of worship leaders in Australia called CityAlight, whose mission is to write “Christian worship music with Biblically-rich lyrics and simple melodies.” Oh what an answer to prayer! My family has been ministered to significantly by their music and I hope to introduce more into the mix here at New Covenant.

This song is one of those anthemic declarations best sung in large groups. I picture singing this bridge in a sea of believers, fists in the air, declaring God’s praises and preaching to one another of God’s firm grip on His children. Such that no one can snatch us from His hand! I boldly invite you listen, learn, and lift your voice as we bolster our faith in the only one worthy of it!

God is For Us

Written by Michael Farren, James Ferguson, Tiarne Tranter, Jesse Reeves, Jonny Robinson, James Tealy, Rich Thompson

Lyrics:

We won’t fear the battle
We won’t fear the night
We will walk the valley
With You by our side

You will go before us
You will lead the way
We have found a refuge
Only You can save

Sing with joy now, our God is for us
The Father’s love is a strong and mighty fortress
Raise your voice now, no love is greater
Who can stand against us if our God is for us

Even when I stumble
Even when I fall
Even when I turn back
Still Your love is sure

You will not abandon
You will not forsake
You will cheer me onward
With never ending grace

Neither height nor depth can separate us
Hell and death will not defeat us
He who gave His Son to free us
Holds me in His love

© 2018 CityAlight Music / CCLI #193208


God With Us - Dec 2018

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

- John 1:14


One of the most foundational aspects of the Christian faith is that our God has come to us. No, we are not required to achieve a certain status or climb high enough to get to Him, because Christ made Himself low that we might be given access to the Father.

From the beginning God has been sovereignly working this plan to be “with” His people. In Genesis 26, we see this promise to Abraham. Declared in Exodus 29 and fulfilled in Leviticus, God says, “I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God.” When Moses passes on the baton to Joshua, he encourages the young leader, “It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.” The list could go on…

But, of course, this earth-shattering concept of a holy God dwelling with a broken and sinful people finds its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus, who among many names, is given the name Emmanuel (which means “God with us”) by the prophet Isaiah over 700 years before His birth. Not only would the Word become flesh to dwell among us, but He would be the means through Whom God would bring hope to this world, peace between God and man, and victory over sin and death.

Among the host of beloved Christmas songs for worship, we’ll be singing “God With Us” as a declaration and reminder that God has indeed made good on His promise to dwell with His people in the person of Jesus Christ. And let’s not forget that Jesus made His own promise to be “with us” forever (Matthew 28:20), quickly fulfilled in the coming of the Holy Spirit to dwell intimately in the heart of every believer. 

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus this Christmas, may we enjoy the festivities of the season, but truly marvel in our great Savior who became one of us so that we may be one with Him.

God With Us

Written by Jason Ingram & Leslie Jordan

Lyrics:

You've come to bring peace
To be Love, to be nearer to us
You've come to bring life
To be Light, to shine brighter in us
Emmanuel, God with us

Our Deliverer, You are Savior
In Your presence we find our strength
Over everything, our Redemption
God with us, You are God with us

You've come to be Hope
To this world, for Your honor and name
You've come to take sin
To bear shame and to conquer the grave
Emmanuel, God with us

You are here, You are holy
We are standing in Your glory
You are here, You are holy
We are standing in Your glory, Lord

© 2018 Integrity’s Praise! Music / CCLI #193208