No Longer Slaves
Jonathan David Helser / Brian Joel Case / Mark Johnson
You unravel me, with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance, from my enemies
Till all my fears are gone
I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God
From my mothers womb You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again, into a family
Your blood flows through my veins
You split the sea so I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me and I will stand and sing
I am the child of God
No Longer Slaves is a song by Bethel Music from Bethel Church in Redding California. It is important for us to be clear that we do not agree the doctrines of that church, and would not recommend them as a church, but they do put out an incredible amount of worship music that is very popular. This song is one that, with some explanation, is a very well written song, with a nice melody line, and an encouraging message that Christians can find reassuring.
You unravel me, with a melody. You surround me with a song. Bands like Bethel, Elevation Worship, and Hillsong often write very poetic lyrics that need to be interpreted as such. The comparison of God’s work in our lives with a song is in view here. A literal song or melody does not save us, but God’s undeserving mercy in our lives can, like a song move us, affect us, and bless us. Of deliverance, from my enemies ‘till all my fears are gone. As Christians, our enemies are not the unsaved people in the world. They are the mission field. Our enemy is Satan and the sin that so easily besets us. When Jesus said, “It is Finished”, He, once for all, defeated sin and death on our behalf. We have no need to fear because we serve a God who is in control of every circumstance in our lives.
I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God. Let me first say, fear can be a good thing, in the right measure. It is fear that keeps us from walking out in the highway. It is fear that makes us slow down when a sharp curve is ahead. Yes, there may be a sign that changes the speed limit for the curve, but it is usually the force we feel when we hit that curve too quickly that makes us naturally hit the brakes. It is also fear that can be a predominant factor in restraining from sin. Fear of God and His wrath is a good thing, for God’s wrath is real against sin. As a child of God, we don’t need to fear His wrath, but we should still fear His discipline.
Now, there are plenty of other things in this world that can cause us to have a needless fear. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” This is a command to not be anxious over things. You could read it, “Be anxious over No Thing." However, back in chapter 2 Paul says, “But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare.” That word “Concerned” is the same word in chapter 4 that is translated “Anxious”. So, Paul was concerned over people, but not over things. Too many times, we let our fears consume us, and what that says to the world around us is that we don’t think our God is up to the task. It makes us poor ambassadors. We are children of God. We are children of the One who both created the universe, and sustains every molecule every second of every day. We’ve been saved and are kept in His care. We are no longer slaves to sin, no longer slaves to the flesh, no longer slaves to fear.
From my mothers womb You have chosen me. Love has called my name. Actually, the Bible clearly states that we are chosen from before the foundation of the world. Ephesians 1 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him in love.” It gives me great confidence in knowing that it is not by my works or righteousness that I was saved, but by the works done by Christ that have been imputed to my account. My sins are forgiven. Jesus is not only the propitiation (satisfying the demands of a righteous God), but my expiation (He carried away my sins like the Old Testament scapegoat). When I stand before God, the Father will choose to see only the perfect life of Christ. He called my name, and as Romans 8:30 clearly states, "those whom He called, He also justified; and those whom He justified, He also glorified.” My glorification is as sure as my calling and justification. Because of that, I’m not longer a slave to fear.
I’ve been born again, into a family. Your blood flows through my veins. Here, we need to be careful. The writers of this song moved from the poetic first couple of lines into a very literal rest of the song. However, this last line, they jump back to figurative language. God the Father has no blood. He is a spirit who does not have a body like us. Jesus does have a body and He did shed His blood, but Jesus’ blood is not in our veins. Most likely, He is a different blood type. There is nothing in scripture that tells us that we receive Jesus’ blood literally into our veins, so this clearly is a word picture saying that we are His family. Adoption is literally “Son-placing”. We are sons and daughters of God by adoption. We have a new family. It’s a family that is brought together for the purpose of building and edifying one another. We don’t need to fear, because we are a child of God, surrounded by a loving family.
The song then meanders around with some improvised lyrics, but I will skip right to the bridge: You split the sea so I could walk right through it. My fears were drowned in perfect love. You rescued me and I will stand and sing, I am the child of God. Clearly, this is a reference to Israel being rescued from their attackers through the Red Sea. In this analogy, our attackers can be our sin, the power of the flesh, the devil, and even the wrath of God Himself. They could also be some worries and fears our flesh brings up that we need to lay on the altar of God’s sovereignty. Remember, that sovereignty is defined as the fact that nothing happens that God does not either cause or allow. That alone should break the chains so we are no longer a slave to fear.
Bill Itzel has been a worship leader and singer/songwriter for over 30 years and is based in Westminster, MD. His family tours and leads worship around the country. Bill and his family attend Belcroft Bible Church in Bowie, MD. This is a blog about congregational worship and the latest news in the The Itzel's ministry.