The song Resurrecting is very much on my mind these days in the lead up to Easter. With amazing lyrics and a melody that flows, it is hard not to love this worship song that Elevation Church have released.
Back in August 2015, prior to the official launch, Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church mentioned how the song was close to being discarded and given up on primarily because the lyrics just did not sit quite right. In this way, Resurrecting is a great example of a song that has percolated for an extended period in the development phase. The first presentation of the song was announced on Facebook in mid 2015.
Co-written by the five Elevation Worship team members: Chris Brown, Mack Brock, Matthew Ntlele, Steven Furtick, Wade Joye in 2015, one of the earliest performances of the song took place at the start of 2016 as part of New Year Eve celebration events at Elevation Church. The track record of this and the impact of the worship ballad has already been blogged about my Tera Jackson on Tumblr. That resource is part of the source material guiding this song lyric analysis. I agree wholly with Tera’s thoughts on the song – it is indeed life changing, inspiration and largely God/Spirit-infused. If you could sum up this song in one word or theme, it is hard to improve on victory.
The main biblical basis for the song is Romans 6:5, which is put into context here with the first seven verses of Romans 6:
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
The key words of unity and the titular resurrection reference should make the biblical source clear. Let us unpack Romans 6 as we dig deeper into the song Resurrecting.
- Verse 1: What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?
- Paul first mentioned the concept that the presence of sin can lead to the increase of grace in Romans 5:20. It is an interesting line of thinking – that since God loves us as sinners, why then should we be concerned about our sinful nature? If we sin more, can we not receive more grace from God? Unfortunately, some people interpret the verses in this way and think whilst they can live ever more sinful lives, that is their job since it is God’s job to forgive and exercise grace.
- The key in this verse is on whether God’s grace is truly an unending safety net for people to excuse their sinful nature. It is very much associated with the theology that faith is a key requirement for receiving God’s salvation and grace. If we just need to believe, then coming to faith at our deathbeds will suffice for ensuring we end up in heaven.
- The question and context posed by Paul is focused on individuals who lead lives of habitual sin and separation from God.
- Verse 2: By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
- However, having singled out his audience, Paul then thwarts the incorrect teachings that a life of sin is completely unacceptable, because our death to sin changes our relationship to sin. “By no means” is Paul’s clear way of emphasising that this logic is flawed and the opposite intention of his teachings.
- “How can we live in it any longer?” Paul establishes an important principle. When we are born again, when we have believed on Jesus for our salvation, our relationship with sin is permanently changed. We have died to sin. Therefore, if we have died to sin, then we should not live any longer in it. It simply isn’t fitting to live any longer in something you have died to.
- Verse 3: Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death?
- The implication is that Paul is dealing with fundamental concepts that every Christians should know.
- Our baptism is symbolic but also literal from an immersion and indwelling perspective. Being baptised into Christ Jesus means we too can be filled with the Holy Spirit and have God live within us.
- Verse 4: We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
- Baptism is important as an illustration of spiritual reality, but it does not make that reality come to pass. If someone has not spiritually died and risen with Jesus, all the baptisms in the world will not accomplish it for them.
- Something dramatic and life changing happens in the life of the believer as part of being baptised. You cannot die and rise again without it changing your life. The believer has a real (although spiritual) death and resurrection with Jesus Christ.
- Verse 5: For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.
- Being united with Christ is dually applicable for our death, but more importantly in our resurrection and rebirth.
- Our participation in the death of Jesus makes our participation in His resurrection also a certainty. It is far too easy for many Christians to focus solely on the “crucified life,” failing to see that it is a part (and an essential part) of a bigger picture: preparation for resurrection life.
- Verse 6: For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin
- The death of our old self is an established fact. It happened spiritually when we were identified with Jesus’ death at our salvation.
- In place of our old self, God gives each believer a new identity that is instinctively obedient and pleasing to God; this aspect of our person is that which was raised with Christ in His resurrection. We are created to be righteous and holy (Ephesians 4:24), with renewed minds (Colossians 3:10).
- Verse 7: because anyone who has died has been set free from sin
- Since we have already died to sin with Jesus, death no longer has dominion over us. The new man not only has life; he has eternal life.
The head that once was crowned with thorns
In John 19:12, “the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe.”
Is crowned with glory now
Hebrews 2:9 provides the biblical truth: But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
The Savior knelt to wash our feet
This summarises John 13:1-17:
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
Now at his feet we bow
Two verses come to mind here. Romans 14:11:
It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.'”
And also Philippians 2:10:
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
The one who wore our sin and shame
1 Peter 2:24 correlates to this concept:
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
Now robed in majesty
This is a Old Testament teaching from Psalm 93:1:
The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed in majesty and armed with strength; indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.
The radiance of perfect love
Perfect love and its nature is explained by 1 John 4:18:
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Now shines for all to see
Coupled with the previous lyric line, Mathew 5:16 provides a great correlating concept:
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Your name, your name is victory
1 Corinthians 15:57 explains the victory simply:
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
All praise will rise to Christ our king
The name of Jesus is powerful and proclaiming His lordship gives us victory. Phillipians 2:9-11 which was already recited above reinforces the fact that at the name of Jesus, eveyr knee shall bow and every tongue confess the victory of Christ Jesus.
By your spirit I will rise
Romans 6:5 emphasises that through baptism and unity in Christ’s resurrection, we rise again reborn with His Holy Spirit.
From the ashes of defeat
Romans 6:2-5 also explains that we rise from the ashes of defeat – which was our death, united with Christ in His death. The ashes of defeat is a reference to death, which was conquered by Christ’s death and resurrection on the cross.
The resurrected king is resurrecting me
This play on words, which is highly poetic, really drives home the unity we have in Christ’s death, and resurrection. Since He has been resurrected, once and for all, we have, through baptism, a resurrected life, with His covering and presence. It is because we, as believers, have faith in the ressurected King of Kings, that we too join Him in being resurrected and having everlasting life.
In your name I come alive to declare your victory
We are alive in Christ, united in His resurrection. When we consider our life of eternity with God in heaven, the praise and worship of Him is effectively declaring His victory, now and forever. Victory is also declared in His name, for His glory and honour.
The resurrected king is resurrecting me
The tomb where soldiers watched in vain
Matthew 27:66 states: So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
We also know from the various Gospel accounts that the women were the first to find the tomb empty:
- Matthew 28:1-10
- Mark 16:1-8
- Luke 24:24
- John 20:1-10
Was borrowed for three days
The bible verse that explicitly indicates a three-day duration for Jesus, as the Son of Man being in the tomb is Matthew 12:40:
As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth
The previous verses/passages cited for the empty tomb also cover the three day duration. The duration topic is actually a lot more complex in terms of people asking for more depth… It is important to understand a few pertinent points without writing up an entirely new article:
- Scriptures point to the wording of “on the third day”, not “after” the third day.
- The Jewish definition of a day is based on a day starting at sundown with night–time the first half followed by the daylight half.
- The Jewish customer and understanding is such that any part of a day, however small, still counts as part of that day
- We can discount a more modern approach to defining the duration as three 24-hour days have to pass, because Scriptures consistently refer to the third day, not a fourth.
His body there would not remain
Our God had robbed the grave
These final lines of lyrics all tie into the same biblical references of death and resurrection. The tomb was found empty; Jesus’ body was no longer there. Consistent with Christian teachings, God was the sole reason for resurrecting Jesus as the Son of Man. Whilst the Romans and Jews tried to explain the impossibility of a miraculous resurrection as divine with the story that either party or even the disciples could have stolen the body, it was only God who robbed the grave.
The traditional and standard performance of Resurrecting is:
- Verse 1
- Verse 2
- Verse 3
- Verse 4
- Last Line
The last line here is the final lyric of the bridge: The resurrected king is resurrecting me
The original key is Db and the song tempo is a fast 148 bpm.
The official Live performance of the song is available on Youtube: