Love on the Line
w/m - Aryel Murphy, Brooke Ligertwood, Scott Ligertwood
You put Your love on the line
To bear the weight of sin that was mine
Washing my river of wrongs
Into the sea of Your infinite love
With arms held high
Lord I give my life
Knowing I'm found in Christ
In Your love forever
With all I am
In Your grace I stand
The greatest of all romance
Love of God my Savior
Mercy roars like hurricane winds
Furious love laid waste to my sin
To the One who has rescued my soul
To the One who has welcomed me home
To the One who is Savior of all
I sing forever
This song was recorded by Hillsong a few years ago and is still popular among many of their fans. Some songs by Hillsong are very plain and theological like the one I wrote of a couple of weeks back, “Who You say I am”, but sometimes they write songs that require some explanation. Much of this song is clear, and we can rejoice in those lyrics. Other parts can be confusing and must be understood in a certain way so that the teaching of the song does not head down an undesirable path.
John Piper, in referring to songs that require a lot of explanation, writes to songwriters, “Do not ask too much of the sheep. As we sit in service, give us songs whose original meaning we can joyfully affirm because they are fully biblical. Don’t give us too many where we have to change the meaning in order to be faithful.”
You put Your love on the line to bear the weight of sin that was mine. Jesus did bear the weight of our sin on His shoulders. He laid down His life for His sheep. While it often is understood as such, we must make clear that the idea of “Putting your life on the line” does not involve risk when speaking of the work of Christ. “Risk” implies not knowing the outcome. Jesus knew and planned the detailed outcome of His work on the cross from before the world was made. He put His “life on the line” must speak of the act whereby He stood in the way of God’s wrath, bearing it for His own.
Washing my river of wrongs into the sea of Your infinite love. I really do love this line. Note the contrast between “river” and “sea”. If you’ve ever seen a raging river, it can be quite massive in it’s destruction, much like our sins. However, compared to a sea, a river is nothing. Our sins, no matter how destructive and extensive are no match for the mercy of God.
With arms held high, Lord I give my life, knowing I'm found in Christ, in Your love forever. This cry is from a believer because it says, “Knowing I’m found in Christ”, so the line, “Lord, I give my life” must be seen as a daily commitment and dedication of ourselves to Christ.
With all I am, in Your grace I stand. This is a great picture of the synergism of sanctification. We stand in God’s grace and His Holy Spirit works in us to make us holy, but at the same time, we do all we can to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
The greatest of all romance: Love of God my Savior. Now this is one line, I have a hard time wrapping my mind around. I am very literal in the way I write songs. Words mean things, and when I write, I say what I mean and mean what I say. I know others write more poetically. When I think of the word “Romance”, for some reason I think of “romantic love”. Perhaps “Romance” and “Romantic” may have a similar root. Seriously though, there are several meanings of “romance”, but far and away, to most people, it conjures up the picture of the love between a man and a woman. I recall another recent worship song that spoke of “Heaven meeting earth like a sloppy, wet kiss, and my heart turns violently inside of my chest.” To me, this over-emotionalizes God’s love, but to others this is simply poetic language.
Can we sing the song and speak of God’s love as a romance? If I had my way, I’d change the line to say, “Greater than all romance” which would say that as wonderful as romantic relationships are in this life, they can’t compare to the love of God because it is different. However, if we view this word “romance” in purely poetic terms, I think we can. In other words, I like to think of it as putting quotes (“”) around the word romance when I sing it.
The reason I point this out is because many do believe in this dangerous idea of “feeling their way through theology.” It is common for many popular preachers like Bill Johnson to speak of our “lustful pursuit” of God, and preach a theology that romanticizes our relationship to the Sovereign Lord. They draw huge crowds and even infiltrate solid evangelical churches and lead people into many false doctrines and practices. Yes, we are the bride of Christ, but not in a sensual way… and no, I do not believe Song of Solomon is about Christ and His church… and for more than just dispensational reasons. However, this line, if understood as poetry and not literal can be sung.
Mercy roars like hurricane winds. Furious love laid waste to my sin. It looks as though the writers went all out with the thesaurus on this song. I’m not sure it helps me understand God’s mercy more clearly by comparing it to a hurricane, but the act that came from God’s love did put sin to death. I’m not sure God’s love was angry or furious, but His wrath definitely was, and my sins are all gone because of it.
To the One who has rescued my soul. To the One who has welcomed me home. To the One who is Savior of all, I sing forever. The bridge gives our minds a rest from interpreting the unique poetic language of the verses, and lets us commit to praise the one who loves us and gave Himself for us. One important thing to comment on here is the line, “To the One who is Savior of all”, must be qualified as “All those who believe”. Everyone is not saved, and Jesus is not Savior and Lord to every person who has ever lived. This is speaking of His sheep… all His sheep.
If one takes a literal view of this song (which is what exegeting the hymns does) this song can be difficult to understand, but if we view the song as a piece of poetry, we can see that the basic truth being presented here is that God’s love and mercy know no limits for His children.
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.