Song Story: Our Savior Appeared

 
The very fact that God’s own presence drew near to us—to me—is good news in itself.

Titus 3:3–6

[3] For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. [4] But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, [5] he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, [6] whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, (ESV)

The title track for our EP, Our Savior Appeared , came from our sermon series out of the New Testament book of Titus. Our church follows an expository preaching style and we typically go through entire books of Scripture at a time.

Musically and lyrically, this song took many forms over its life until eventually settling in its current form:

Verse 1
Oh I once was foolish at heart.
Unaware that I could be wrong.
Self-assured and self-righteous, I was.
Ever a slave to my ruined wants.

Verse 2
Erring deeply disobeying my God.
Grasping what’s fading and tempting my heart.
Weary fists clenched from fighting you God,
I was broken down I could not restart.

Chorus
But then the goodness 
And lovingkindness of God
Our Savior appeared.

Bridge
He saved us,
Not for the works we have done.
He saved us,
According to His mercy and love.

In the first verse, we talk about our former status: foolish, ignorant, self-assured, self-righteous, captivated by ephemeral charms. It’s important to emphasize how foolish, unaware, self-assured, self-righteous, and tempted I still am! I still err deeply, still relent to things that try to snare me, still fight against God, and still feel like I cannot be the maker of my own revival. So what’s the difference? God is the difference.

The very fact that God’s own presence drew near to us—to me—is good news in itself. The presence of the goodness and faithful, loyal lovingkindness of God is what we wanted to dwell on. He saved us! And He holds us now! He saved us “not because of works done by us in righteousness". And He doesn’t keep us because of works done by us in righteousness. His presence, His mercy, His love and its proximity and application to me is the awesome difference. Ezekiel declares a promise from God that He will exchange our hearts of stone for hearts of flesh and put His Spirit within us (Ezekiel 36:26-27). Paul’s letter to Titus highlights this transformation that takes place in this act of our redemption. He saves us by, “by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit”. Further, He promises this work to be effective: “so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

I’d like to tell a neat story about the intro & outro of this song. As this song and album started to come together, the mental picture that kept coming to mind was that of dawn breaking. The stillness, the new life, the possibility, the unveiling of colors from what was once a dark sky.

I happen to have the best songbirds in my neighborhood. Particularly, there is this really special mockingbird. Every single morning, this chorus of birds reflects the creativity and beauty of a present God as they so effortlessly and gloriously sing their hearts out. It’s so striking to walk outside to this chorus singing while the neighborhood is just waking up. It was really special to record the sound of these birds singing at the break of dawn and to use their song to accompany this song about the daybreak made possible in our very souls because of the presence the goodness and lovingkindness of a God who is near. Our Savior has appeared!

Everything changed when God our Savior came on the scene. We glory in His mercy and love displayed!

 
Ben Moore