“Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.”
This is a line that is being sung in churches worldwide.
If you haven’t heard the song yet, I encourage you to check it out here
As a worship leader I find it important to select and lead worship songs that are true. Well-written lyrics, beautiful music, and sing-ability are all important, but truth must be the foundation. While there are many different perspectives and ideas within the church, I think we’d be hard-pressed to find a worship leader who would willingly lead a song that they believed claimed false things about God. However, often we find that emotions drive our worship more than truth. While emotions are an important part of worship, both our worship and our emotions must be grounded in truth.
This relatively new song has quickly become one of the most used worship songs in churches. Let me clarify by saying that I have led and enjoyed many of Cory Asbury’s songs in the past. I appreciate his skills as a writer. He has beautifully and worshipfully crafted many songs that do a great job of declaring who God is and what He has done. In fact, the song Reckless Love has many great lyrics in it. Consider “When I felt no worth, You paid it all for me” and “I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away“. In the midst of these lyrics, the word that this song revolves around is “reckless”. As this song is so massively popular, I invite you to lay down any pre-conceived thoughts toward this song, and walk through the concept of Gods love as reckless.
To begin, I suggest we consider the word “Reckless”.
Definition – “
Synonyms – “rash, careless, thoughtless, heedless, hasty,
impulsive, irresponsible etc.”
Many people have questioned the lyric of “Reckless Love” and its author Cory Asbury shared his thoughts on his Facebook page as to why he chose the word Reckless. I’ve shared a few excerpts from his thoughts below and will discuss some of his thoughts.
“…What I mean is this: He is utterly unconcerned with the consequences of His actions with regards to His own safety, comfort, and well-being. His love isn’t crafty or slick. It’s not cunning or shrewd. In fact, all things considered, it’s quite childlike, and might I even suggest, sometimes downright ridiculous. His love bankrupted heaven for you…”
When we say that God’s love is reckless we declare that God’s love was so outrageous that he was unconcerned with and inconsiderate of the consequences of His love-fueled action. Here are some verses that focus closely on God’s foreknowledge, planning, and predetermined purpose throughout the history of mankind.
Acts 2:22-23 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.
Acts 3:18 “But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.”
This is perhaps best demonstrated in Ephesians 1.
“… He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
We see in these passages that God’s love is not “rash, thoughtless, hasty, and unconcerned with the consequences.” Rather, we see that God’s love was ordained from the beginning of time, it was planned and calculated, it was intentional. Christ’s life and death wasn’t a knee-jerk reaction and it wasn’t something done on a whim. God tells us that this was a plan for the fullness of time! That Christ’s death on a cross was fully intended and planned from the beginning of the world!
In spite of this, God’s love not being reckless makes it all the more incredible. God wasn’t ignorant or dismissive of the ramifications of His love, but He completely knew and considered what would be the result. And then He still came. God intentionally sent His Son to die on the cross knowing and have always known what would happen.
Here are more thoughts from Cory on “Reckless Love”
“…His love doesn’t consider Himself first… His love isn’t selfish or self-serving. He doesn’t wonder what He’ll gain or lose by putting Himself out there. He simply gives Himself away on the off-chance that one of us might look back at Him and offer ourselves in return. His love leaves the ninety-nine to find the one every time. To many practical adults, that’s a foolish concept. “But what if he loses the ninety-nine in search of the one?” What if? Finding that one lost sheep is, and will always be, supremely important…”
Cory’s suggestion that God’s love is not self-serving is a bold one. This statement implies that above all else, God’s love was for our benefit. While this sounds lovely, this sentiment is simply untrue. Take God’s Word into consideration on the matter:
Ephesians 1:5,12,14 (Also used above! These themes are totally connected!) “In love he predestined us for adoption to the praise of the glory of his grace.”
“We who first hoped in Christ have been predestined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory.”
“The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it to the praise of his glory.
2 Corinthians 5:15 “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.”
Isaiah 43:7 “Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory.”
Jeremiah 13:11 “I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the Lord, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory.”
Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
John 12:27-28 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again’ (Jesus before His arrest)
John 17:1 “Father, the hour has come; glorify your son that the Son may glorify you.”
Isaiah 43:25 “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” (God forgive us, for His own glory!)
Psalm 25:11 “For your own name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great.”
2 Thessalonians 1:9-10 “They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed.”
John 17:24 “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”
As we see numerous times throughout Scripture, God is entirely for His glory! Ephesians tells us that His glory was the reason that we were redeemed and saved! Isaiah tells us that God’s glory is the reason that He has forgiven our sins! John tells us that Jesus suffered and died on the cross so that God would be glorified! Through all of this we can determine that our being saved is not the ultimate goal. My salvation was not God’s ultimate goal or purpose, for if it was – God wouldn’t be God! God didn’t send Jesus to die on the cross simply so I would be saved. God isn’t man-focused. God is God-focused. God sent Jesus to die on the cross so that I would glorify Him by being saved. His ultimate purpose in creating, condemning, redeeming, and reconciling us was to bring glory to His name. Jesus shamelessly points to the glory of the Father through every step of His life. Our lives should be the same.
Consider lastly Romans 9.
“ Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory?”
God’s salvation of mankind, His display of love, mercy, and grace have all been intended since before the dawn of time and are ultimately for God’s glory. Let us not be thoughtless in remembering who God is!
I encourage you to carefully consider the words you sing. These thoughts are not meant to be a condemnation of Cory Asbury, but rather a reminder that as believers the words we speak in worship take root in our hearts. If we are not particular about the things that we will declare as individuals and churches, it is far too possible that we will begin to think incorrect things of God without realizing it. These thoughts were also not meant necessarily to dissuade you from singing Reckless Love so please don’t be offended. If you can hold to the truths of Scripture and believe that the song matches up with it, very well. Would you take the time to consider what the Bible says, how the songs you sing match up with what the Bible says, and what you need to do as a response?
For more encouragement in discerning if God’s love is Reckless check out the following Blog Posts: