Just like all of the songs we sing, there’s a purpose and process behind us introducing this song and encouraging the church to sing it. So let’s dig into some thoughts on this song.
Let’s start with a really key lyric in the Bridge. We sing this:
“How great the power of the blood / Oh / I am the righteousness of God / Oh”
This line can catch you off guard at first because it’s such a bold statement. So where does it come from?
In 2 Corinthians 5:21, we read:
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.“
In other words, Jesus took the full penalty of our unrighteousness on the cross. God made him – the perfect and sinless one – to BE sin so that through His death, we would become living displays of God’s righteousness. So what are we not saying when we sing this line?
We are not saying that any of us are good enough or could ever be good enough. We are not saying that any claim to righteousness is because of us. In fact, we are confessing in this moment that the only righteousness – the only “right-ness” within any of us – comes from Jesus alone and fully.
What are we singing then?
It’s there in the first half of the Bridge – “how great the power of the blood!” We are declaring that Jesus’ blood was so powerful that it makes the most broken and lost of sinners appear righteous in God’s sight. For those who have surrendered and trusted in that blood, we come boldly with an identity of being symbols of the righteousness of God.
Now, let’s talk about “Whoas” and “Ohs.” We sing quite a few songs like this one with these moments where we are not singing a discernible lyric. So is this just random or optional participation time? What are we doing during these times?
We believe that singing is a powerful tool for worship as it engages us physically, emotionally, and even spiritually. When we all lend our voices to make unified sound, it’s powerful and a reminder of the force that we are as a church body for lifting praise, truth, and hope. Yes, there is power in uniting behind a lyric, but there is also power and encouragement to be found in being part of the sound of a melody.
So let’s not see these moments as optional or cheesy or useless. Let’s come together with all we have to give when we sing.
And one last thought: this is just a fun song! It’s full of energy and conviction in the words being sung. For example, the line “It wasn’t for nothing that You shed Your blood” is a powerful declaration that Jesus had a purpose in giving His life for us and so we should be compelled to respond in gratitude and thankfulness.
Our hope for this song is to encourage us as a church to remember our new identity in Christ. Our shame is gone. Our sin is defeated. We are clothed in the righteousness of Christ and therefore, we can boldly engage culture as God’s ambassadors.
I’d like to invite you as we sing this again on Sunday to jump in and engage. Clap your hands. Raise your arms in surrender and agreement. And shout “whoa” with us at the top of your lungs as a person whose chains are gone!