My favorite new song off the newest Passion CD, is a hymn rewrite by Daniel Carson, Kristian Stanfill, Christy Nockels, Matt Maher, & Jesse Reeves called “Lord I Need You”. It is a powerful statement of trust in God mostly as a singable rewrite of “I Need Thee Every Hour”. It’s not the most catchy or rocky song in the collection, but its’ words are probably the most powerful and striking.
I think the new words are:
(bridge) Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus, You’re my hope and stay
(chorus)Lord, I need You, Oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
I found myself singing it several times and mistakenly (subconsciously?) singing “my one defense, thy righteousness.” It seemed like a huge mistake –I really need God, my only defense is that I’m righteous, but that’s what the song says.
Then the beautiful of the song hit me –I’ve been (supposed to be) sinning about a wonderful doctrine called “imputed righteousness”. This is (I think) the technical term for the kind of justice and security that God gives to Christians. I’m not gonna lie, I had to look up the formal definition in Logos Bible Software, but after reading Calvin, Hodge, and several other definitions- I came across this one:
The crediting by God to believers with righteousness on account of Jesus Christ. Paul argues that Abraham did nothing which earned him the status of being righteous in the sight of God. Rather, Abraham believed the promise of God, and for that reason was granted the status of being righteous before God. Likewise, all who trust in Jesus Christ have righteousness imputed to them–that is, reckoned as if it was theirs. Imputation should not be confused with impartation. Believers are not made right ethically (impartation), but put right relationally (imputation). What God changes is not the character of believers but their legal standing before him. From this new position, believers are called to co-operate with the Holy Spirit in sanctification so that their character increasingly reflects their new standing.*
Our best defense against guilt, against temptation, against accusation, against doubt – is OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. That when we trust in Christ, God looks at us – and rather than seeing us in our guilt, sin and failure God sees the work of Christ. Those who are in Christ are seen by God as being just as righteous as Christ himself.
That is worth singing about. (Chord Chart)
*Manser, M. H. (1999). Zondervan Dictionary of Bible Themes. The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. Grand Rapids, MI: ZondervanPublishingHouse.