This is a legitimate question someone raised in response to my post last week.
Yes, when we sing about Jesus’ death we’re reminded that we’re sinners. But the point is not to become depressed about it, for that puts the focus on us. When we sing about the cross, our focus is not our sin, but on our glorious Savior, his love and mighty power to rescue us.
If a doctor prescribes a medication for us, we don’t say, “Doc, you’re depressing me. You just want to remind me of how sick I am by giving me this medicine.” No, we’re glad he wants to heal us. Of course we have to admit we we’re sick or we won’t take the medicine. But our focus and hope would be on the remedy and getting well.
When we sing about Jesus’ death we rejoice that Jesus bore our sins and we no longer bear their guilt and penalty. We exult in his victory over sin, Satan and darkness. And because we’re one with Jesus, his victory is ours as well.
The cross shouldn’t make us depressed but make us dance! The cross isn’t God’s big downer but his big upper. His great reason to celebrate.
“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (Communion isn’t a regular reminder of our depravity, but a proclamation of his victory.) 1 Corinthians 11:26
The cross motivates us to live for Jesus:
“… and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” 2 Corinthians 5:15
The cross reconciles us to others:
“... and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” Ephesians 2:16
God removed our debt on the cross:
“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14
We’ll be singing about Jesus’ death forever in heaven:
Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” Revelation 5:11-12
If we’ll be singing about the Lamb who was slain for all eternity, then we should every Sunday. And Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday as well. And don’t worry. You won’t get depressed. Instead, you’ll be filled with increasing joy at all Jesus has done for you.
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Mark Altrogge has been senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, Pennsylvania, since 1982. He has written hundreds of songs for worship, including “I Stand in Awe” and “I’m Forever Grateful.” Mark and his wife, Kristi, have four sons and one daughter.
Find out more on his blog, The Blazing Center.