They have recently made headline news due to the fact that the movie based on the story behind their smash hit single, “I Can Only Imagine,” premiered last month and has done very well at the box office.
I’ve enjoyed their music since the early 2000s, but it wasn’t until April 2014 when they released their album Welcome to the New that my enjoyment was elevated to an entirely new level.
And just when I thought their music couldn’t get any better, it did!
Those nominations alone should be enough to spur you into grabbing your own copy.
I remember the first time I listened to Lifer.
I was walking around my neighborhood, earbuds in, and feeling like I’d died and gone to Heaven!
I wanted to dance, jump up and down, and shout for joy over the pure (no legal additives) gospel truth I was hearing!
- “Why I Think MercyMe’s Newest Album, Lifer, Is Their Best Ever” – Intro
- “Are You a Lifer in Christ?” – a review of track 1, “Lifer“
- “Come out, Come out, Wherever You Are!” – a review of track 2, “You Found Me“
- “Has Grace Got You?” – a review of track 3, “Grace Got You“
- “Have You Heard the Best News Ever?” – a review of track 4, “Best News Ever“
- “Because Life Ain’t Always Pretty” – a review of track 5, “Even If“
- “Bye-Bye Lies!” – a review of track 6, “Hello Beautiful“
- “Don’t Throw in the Towel” – a review of track 7, “We Win“
- “Why Every Christian Should Be Doing the Happy Dance” – a review of track 8, “Happy Dance“
- “Christian, Heaven Is Here & Now!” – a review of track 9, “Heaven’s Here“
- “This Ghost Is Way Friendlier Than Casper!” – a review of track 10, “Ghost“
Devoting eleven posts to the messages in Lifer should give you a pretty good idea how important this album is to me.
You may be wondering, What’s so amazing about Lifer?
After all, there are a lot of hit Christian albums out there.
I’ll tell you what makes Lifer so amazing: Every one of its songs communicates the unadulterated gospel of grace in Christ Jesus!
Words that mean the same as unadulterated are: “clean, pure, unmixed, spotless, unblemished, uncontaminated, undiluted, and unpolluted.”
The apostle Paul was so passionate about communicating the uncontaminated gospel, he was livid when he found out that some of the Galatian believers were trading in this spotless gospel for a polluted one by trying to add works of the Law as a requirement for their salvation:
I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ (Gal. 1:6-7 NASB).
Notice that he says this so-called “gospel” that some were spouting was really no gospel at all!
You can almost see the tears in his eyes and feel the lump in his throat as he writes:
I am not one of those who treats Christ’s death as meaningless. For if we could be saved by keeping Jewish laws, then there was no need for Christ to die (Gal. 2:21 TLB).
Paul had been so radically transformed by this wonderful, Jesus-plus-nothing gospel of grace, he had zero tolerance for those who were trying to pollute it with works.
The only equation that works is: Jesus + Nothing = Gospel
Andrew Farley’s best-selling book The Naked Gospel: The Truth You May Never Hear in Church is an excellent treatise on the gospel of grace in Christ Jesus.
It resounds with the truth that the believer’s only part in their salvation is their belief that Christ did everything necessary to make them right with God and their acceptance of this gift—no good works added.
And guess what?
It wasn’t until after Bart Millard, the lead singer of MercyMe, got hold of a copy of The Naked Gospel, that he began writing song lyrics that reflected his enjoyment of God’s wonderful gift of grace in Christ Jesus!
(While MercyMe’s pre-Naked Gospel song lyrics reflect grace for the most part, Bart would be the first to tell you that he wasn’t living it.)
Now, you might be wondering, How can I know if the Christian song I’m listening to is expressing a polluted gospel?
Use the following checklist as a litmus test:
If this song suggests that I am not already and forever …
- a brand-new, pure, righteous, and holy creation in Christ,
- flawlessly fused to Christ,
- completely forgiven through the blood of Christ,
- lavishly loved and accepted in Christ, and
- destined to rule and reign with Christ,
then it is polluted.
People who are trained to spot counterfeit money aren’t trained by studying counterfeits; they are trained but by examining the real thing.
In the same way, if you want to become gospel-exuding song-savvy, meditate on Paul’s epistles.
And, if you want to enrich your listening to Lifer, click here to read all of my MercyMe’s Lifer Messages and start scrolling.
Or you can just return to this post and click on the eleven links listed above.
And just so you know, my intimate, interactive study on the first two chapters of the Song of Solomon, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love, is also saturated with the unadulterated gospel of grace in Christ Jesus.
If you love to read about the Divine Romance between Christ and His bride, then you don’t want to miss savoring His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love.
And right now, it’s the lowest price it’s ever been on Amazon!
I hope you’ll get a copy and let me know what you think.
Until next time,
Live Christ, Live Happy!
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Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070