This I Believe is arguably going to be next big song from Hillsong Church, sung widely across churches of all denominations.
The song is so much more than just another song with simple, easy to remember lyrics, one of out many songs on an album (No Other Name), by a Christian band/worship ministry. The experience of singing this song has not just prompted me to write this blog article, but also fellow brother in Christ and blogger Josh Yuvaraj. In this way, the song will be enhanced by all the literature that we and others generate in response to the power of God moving through this song.
Just as Josh writes in I Believe (or do I?), beliefs today are sometimes not always sincere or utter with full understanding or meaning. It excites me to know that God was not just speaking to me but also other like-minded believers in the need to share these thoughts and expand on ultimately the Apostle’s Creed. To maintain a level of independence, whilst I have read the blog post of Josh/And Grace Will Lead Me Home, I will refrain from reading the material from Elevation Church.
Our beliefs are the outward result of our thoughts. They are a form of thought that becomes an innate part of our identity – they can be considered our opinions. However, belief can also be based on facts and truths. I need go no further than Star Wars to quote “be careful, your thoughts betray you” as an example of how our thoughts originate from our heart within, and if not careful, will reveal our true motives and beliefs. So, when we articulate a belief either through verbal or written means, the effort we have taken to reveal that thought means it is more than just a simple fleeting thought. To believe is to have faith, because belief in facts is simply knowledge; indisputable and uncontroversial. Not that all our beliefs are controversial in nature. History is full of classic examples where because of our lack of scientific knowledge, what we understood of the world around is was based more on belief rather than knowledge of the facts. A great example here is “the earth is flat” – which was suspected not to be true, as based on research conducted by the ancient Egyptians/Romans, who were able to measure great distances from the peaks of their tall structure (lighthouses) and realise that the horizon did not go on indefinitely, but curved away. Circumnavigation was the ultimate scientific proof that the earth was spherical and not flat.
Another great example, more current and still not 100% agreed on, is the theory of our origins – evolution versus creation. What intrigues me most, is when you remove our bias, the evidence seems to point more to creation, with an intelligent creator behind the complex structures found in DNA, rather than evolution, which cannot explain the origin of DNA. Thus, returning to the original topic at hand – This I Believe and the Apostle’s Creed, upon which it is based. For believers in Christ, who have encountered God, who have felt and seen His miracles I think our declaration goes beyond the basic belief.
Our Father everlasting
The all creating One
The verse commences with heavenly eternal declarations – God is the Alpha and Omega, the first and last. In the beginning, God simply was there – the Great I Am, the omnipotent creator of this universe we know.
Sometimes, we just know God is who He says He is. He does not need any explanation. We often attempt to put God into a box, but He is ultimately beyond our human understanding, although Jesus, the Son, taught us that we could know the Father if we knew Him. That through Him, there was a way – The Way – to knowing God the Father, through Jesus the Son of God.
Through Your Holy Spirit
Conceiving Christ the Son
Jesus our Saviour
God can dwell in us in the form of the Holy Spirit, our Helper. When we walk with God, and see the world through His eyes, through the Holy Spirit, we are living out a form of heaven on earth – in communion with God. Jesus, the Son of God, is also a part of the triune God-head – He is the Word and the Way. John 1:1-5 sums it up as the Word became Flesh:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Jesus is also the Messiah, the Saviour of the world. He came to save us from our sin, for the wages of sin is death. In conquering death on the cross, Jesus bridges us and enables us to be reunited with God.
I believe in God our Father
I believe in Christ the Son
I believe in the Holy Spirit
Our God is three in one
Declaring our faith in a triune God – what more needs to be said? Make no mistake about this – to be a believer/follower of Christ (aka Christian) we believe in a single God. Islam/Muslims – pay careful attention here – there is no Father-Mother-Son trinity. This is not about three Gods – this is our God, singular and without equal, only manifested as three persons. Just as a single triangle has three sides, so too are these three identities combined to present the fullness of God.
I believe in the resurrection
That we will rise again
For I believe in the name of Jesus
Jesus died on the cross but then resurrected three days later. In doing so, he fully and completely conquered death, overturning the grave and enabling full reconciliation to God. Jesus is alive and seated at the right hand of God in the throne room of heaven. He is also coming again to defeat Satan here on earth, establish the New Jerusalem/heaven on earth and pronounce judgement on all. There is no other name than Jesus; at His name the devil shall flee, there shall be healing and forgiveness.
Our Judge and our Defender
Suffered and crucified
Forgiveness is in You
The second verse identifies God as sovereign judge yet also our defender. His Holiness requires judgement and discipline for unrighteousness. As perfect God, He seeks to perfect us in spite of our failings. God is also our defender, sheltering us from the evil one who would deceive us and cause us to falter in our walk/faith with God. Having the Holy Spirit dwell within us helps to keep us close to God. Jesus suffered and paid the price for all our sins and inequity. God is the author of love and forgiveness. Forgiveness is in particular an important characteristic of believers because it stems from the core of the heart of a believer – unforgiveness and an unwillingness to forgive is ultimately soul-destroying. This is why, when we choose to die to ourselves, humble ourselves before God, our hearts are softened and we allow forgiveness to flow freely. God, in being our heavenly Father offers us His grace when we receive His forgiveness.
Descended into darkness
You rose in glorious life
Forever seated high
For a short period of three days, Jesus did descend into darkness – and for that time, the Devil foolishly thought he was victorious. This particular line in the Apostle’s Creed does open the door to an interesting topic: where did Jesus go and what did He do on Easter Saturday, in between dying on the cross, and then resurrecting on Sunday? According to Ephesians 4:8-10, Jesus would have descended into the darkness that was Hades – the place of the dead, but on the blessed side of that realm, where He then spoke the Truth to believers and brought them out to heaven/paradise.
Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)
No matter where and what Jesus did, He undoubtedly rose again on the third day with His fully resurrected body and spirit. After spending another 40 days, mingling with disciples and bearing direct witness and testimony, Jesus finally ascended to heaven, where He remains until His second coming – at the right hand of God.
I believe in You
I believe You rose again
I believe that Jesus Christ is Lord
The bridge builds up progressively, allowing each line sung to declare more and more openly the Lordship of Christ over our lives. First we have to acknowledge the historical reality of Jesus – that He was a real person who once walked this earth some 2000 years ago. Second, we are called to affirm the resurrection. Finally, in having agreed that He is alive – the final declaration takes us all the way to proclaiming Jesus as our personal Lord and Saviour.
Both the Apostle’s Creed and This I Believe are powerful God-anointed truths core and foundational to followers of Jesus across the global church. This I Believe is merely the latest musical composition based on the Apostle’s Creed, with one originating centuries ago in the original Latin, and another two from the same period developed in Spanish. In total, including This I Believe, there have been five separate songs composed using the Creed as the basis. Now that Hillsong have contributed this version to the world, and given the mass appeal, we have even greater opportunities for the Church to unite. According to Wikipedia, there are six main English translations, used by the different denominations within the Christian faith. While the Creed features heavily in liturgical application of the more traditional Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and Methodist denominations, now the more contemporary and pentecostal churches around the world have a new anthem to unite over.
Musically, This I Believe has a chord progression which features the minor progression. Based in the key of G, the melody of the introduction and verse has a minor-chord composition, creating the sense of building towards the chorus. In this way, both lyrically and musically, when we break out into the chorus of “I believe in God our Father”, the melody and chords allow us to declare it and proclaim it loudly and boldly! This is pushed further with the bridge – where we declare, as described above, the first, second and final steps to being a believer of Christ. When you combine major chords with their relative minor chords, there are only three/four chords:
- G major / Em minor (I)
- C major / Am minor (IV)
- D (V)
- B (combined with G)
In this way, the song has a simplified I-IV-V-I chord progression at its foundation. This should enable musicians to quickly learn the rhythm and syncopation. With a beat and timing of 4/4, the song is sung off-beat, with most lyrics coming in a semi-tone after the initial drum beat. Music charts are available from Praise Charts, and it’s probably no surprise that This I Believe is already high up on the websites Whats Hot section.
To end this article, here is the link to the official YouTube video clip of This I Believe, released by Hillsong.