Insecurity can be a dangerous thing for a believer. Insecurity combined with a lack of Scriptural knowledge and understanding can lead to a search for security from emotionalism rather than biblical truth. I have found that some popular Christian music has sought to stroke that need for emotional security through its lyrics, but fall desperately short of biblical doctrine.
One such song that has become popular lately is called Someone Worth Dying For, by Mikeschair. No doubt that the song offers a wonderfully fulfilling thought that God sees us as someone worth sending Jesus to die for; but, emotional fulfillment is not the goal. Biblical truth is the goal. Not only are these lyrics just blatantly wrong, the actual message of the Bible concerning our identity offers all the security and sufficiency we should ever need concerning who we are as God’s children.
The first question confronting us is, is it true from the Scripture that we are “someone worth dying for?” As I think about that question, one verse in particular pops into my head. In Romans 5:8 Paul teaches that, “…God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” The fact that God the Father sent Jesus on a rescue mission to reconcile lost sinners to God the Father is an amazingly wonderful truth. But notice God’s motivation. This verse explicitly indicates that Jesus came and died for us in spite of us, not because we were worth it. The opening verses of Ephesians 2 provide for us a picture of who we were prior to this rescue:
dead in our tresspasses and sins
following the course of this world
following the prince of the power of the air
living in the passion of our flesh
carrying out the desires of the body and the mind
That’s hardly a picture of a person who is worthy of anything other than being a “child of wrath.” That is what we are worthy of…eternal punishment in Hell. When we begin to believe that somehow we were “worth dying for,” it carries several severe implications.
First, if we are worth this action by Jesus, then that leaves no room for grace. Grace, by definition, means receiving something that we (completely) do not deserve. Is not being “worth” something equated with being deserving of it? Now, I think the band recognized this and tried to redeem their title with Scripture in the song’s bridge. One line declares, “You’re worth it, you can’t earn it…” While I’m glad that the band recognizes and wishes to present the idea of grace, the line presents an oxymoron. How can one be worth something, but at the same time not have earned it? In short, Jesus was not motivated to die for lost humanity because of humanity’s worthiness; he faced the cross because of God’s worthiness, for his glory alone.
Second, it sets us in an unhealthy posture toward God. We live in a society saturated with feelings of entitlement. If we begin our understanding of the cross as something we are worthy of, it sets a dangerous trajectory for the rest of our walk with and view of Jesus. We can begin to believe the false idea that we are entitled to his presence and working in our life. We can begin to believe that we are worth whatever we ask from him. In short, it can lead us down the heretical path of the prosperity gospel.
Other songs in recent history have attempted to meet our emotional needs by declaring that “when Jesus was on the cross, we were on his mind,” and that while on the cross he thought of us “above all.” Make no mistake that the greatest thing on Jesus’ mind while on the cross was his Father’s glory, not us. The only thing about us that was on Jesus was our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). The only thing we brought to the cross was the pain Jesus endured as he faced God’s wrath for our sin.
So, what truths should we embrace in understanding who we are as believers? Consider the truths given to us from the Scriptures.
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” – 1 John 3:1
At the end of the day, God’s love leaves us in a state of amazed wonderment. We can’t even fathom this love because it is truly not of this world. We are left to wonder why God would choose to act in this way, not seek to answer the question based on our worth.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” – Ephesians 2:4-5
This verse does speak of the love that God has for us. Absolutely that love was a motivation for God’s rescuing us, but notice the language that surrounds that idea of his love that clarifies that love. First is the word mercy. Mercy, by definition, is not receiving something that we do deserve. This helps us understand that not even God’s love is based on our worthiness to receive that love. Paul then inserts the idea, “by grace you have been saved,” which he reiterates again a few verses later!
Our assurance and acceptance must be based in who Jesus is, not in who we are. And any thought of who we are now is only based on who we are in Christ! Making a statement like “we are something worth dying for” seeks to find that assurance and acceptance outside of Christ, which is biblically impossible.
Colossians 1 offers a wonderful summary of who we are, but only in Christ. “…giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (1:12-13)” We were not qualified to receive deliverance, transference, redemption and forgiveness! Only because Christ earned all of that for us can we thank God that we are now identified as such! All of those are already earned by him and ours because of him, only through faith in him!
So, where do you find your identity? Please don’t ever look for identity and assurance/acceptance through song lyrics that lack biblical truth! Simply drink deeply from what God has revealed to us through his Word. Find your identity and worth not in yourself, but in the One who now stands as your substitute, reconciling you to the Father and making a way for your adoption as a son of God!
My point in this is not to deem this particular band as heretics; rather, just to issue a warning about the culture we consume and the assumptions we buy…even inherently Christian culture. Always measure everything by the standard of God’s Word. I understand also that there is a certain level of art in the way lyrics are shaped, but this does not give artists a free license to stray from biblical truth. We must always be discerning and careful to the assumptions and truth claims that we buy.