You alone can rescue – Matt Redman

New song (see the top song in the column to the right) – I’m going to try this on Sunday. Typically it comes with 2 verses, 2 different chorus’ and a mid section or bridge – I think modern song writers just do this to annoy us with three pages of music!?

The words are great and here is a little preview…

Verse 1: Who, O Lord, could save themselves, their own soul  could heal?

Our shame was deeper than the sea; your grace is deeper still.

Chorus: And You alone can rescue, you alone can save. You alone can lift us from the grave.

You came down to find us, led us out of death. To you alone belongs the highest praise.

My main concern about the song was that the opposite of eternal salvation is not eternal wrath and just judgement but rather, just death. I know the bible speaks of those who have no faith in Christ will face death e.g. the wages of sin is death Romans 6:23 and after that they will face judgement Hebrews 9:27. But that death for the unrepentant means eternal death away from the goodness of life in Christ’s presence, therefore I sometimes worry that without being more explicit in songs we only share part of the gospel of grace. For if ‘death’ is the alternative to salvation then many will understand that to be death in a temporal sense, that is, once I’m gone that is it and that is rather inviting if it means one can legitimise a life outside of the Lordship of Christ and his Word. Perhaps the eternal pain of death and resultant just judgement for unrepentant sinners that Romans 6:23 and Hebrews 9:27 speaks of, is sidelined to perhaps make a song more palatable to the masses?

All that being said, I think this song on this album stands out as a cracker that might stand the test of time and continue to be sung for years to come. The words are in mainly very helpful and the tune (especially the chorus) is uplifting and very memorable).

It’s in B, but for the men I’m going to take it down to Bb (easy when you have a capo!)

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2 comments

  1. It’s a good point about what we sing – but then again we don’t always sing about “eternal salvation”; we sing about ‘life’. I think it’s a great song too – though not sure about the neverending final section!

  2. You’re right about “the grave” in these lyrics. My hunch is Redman uses “grave” in its fullest sense and referent (Genesis 3: death-judgment-banishment) but as short-hand. It also rhymes with save . Perhaps, the lesson here is: be very careful using short-hand because while the user may know its’ complete referent, others, less aware, may reduce the referent or assume a reduced referent. I don’t think this is a problem only for musicians/lyricists; it is a communication problem we all have — an imprecise use of language.

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