Grace Has Come: 13 Reflections on the Gospel of Grace (album review)

Are you looking for fresh ways to rehearse the Gospel?

Have you wondered if someone could musically guide you through the spiritual depths of the book of Romans?

The newest album from Sovereign Grace Music

The newest album from Sovereign Grace Music

Sovereign Grace Music has provided a resource for you and me that will help us keep singing and remembering the riches of God’s grace for many years to come.

The title of the project is Grace Has Come. I know Bob Kauflin leads the songwriters in Sovereign Grace churches to write songs that are congregation friendly, theologically reflective and musically interesting and current.

This is perhaps the most musically interesting and lyrically mature projects I’ve seen from Sovereign Grace. Drawing on the depths of the book of Romans, this album doesn’t disappoint. The writers leaned into a diverse musical palate (classical, pop, rock, blues, and country) to tell the stories of grace.

I appreciate how Sovereign Grace wants to encourage others to sing their songs. In particular, I’m glad for the sensitivity to congregational singing by making lead sheets available in congregation friendly keys, even when the soloist records at a higher key.

Greg Scheer at work

Greg Scheer at work

LESSON LEARNED: Greg Scheer taught me an important lesson when reviewing albums. He advised to listen three times before making a judgment. This requires a larger time investment, but I discovered that some songs I rejected on first listen are now my favorites as I started to “get” what the writers were doing.

13 Reflections on the Gospel of Grace

The songs of this album are diverse, interesting and mostly very singable. Every song deserves a place on your grace playlist and I know several of these will make their way onto our active worship songlist. My ratings are based on how likely I am on a scale of 1 to 5 to include this in our congregation’s worship.

PRODUCTION NOTE: I really enjoyed the arrangements and production on this album, but I have tried to look past that since most congregations will utilize the musicians available to them.

Here are some of my thoughts on each of the songs. See Bob Kauflin’s backstory on the songs to understand why they were written.

The Gospel Was Promised (Rom. 1:1-6) – I love the strong declaration that the Gospel is rooted in history and focused on Jesus. The song is immediately singable and leads us to worship Jesus. A bridge could have strengthened the song. Rating: 4

Grace and Peace (Rom. 1:7) – This song could easily be the title song with its emphasis, “grace has come.” The melody is simple which allow for deep reflection on the verses and ends with a refrain that could be an alternate title: “Amazing Mystery.” Rating: 4

This is not the published recording, but its the only song from the album currently available on YouTube:

 

Almighty Maker  (Rom. 1:20, 11:36) Steve and Vikki Cook are some of my favorite worship songwriters and great people. This song serves as a call to consider the wonders and handiworks of God. The bridge rehearses Paul’s doxology in chapter 11:36. As a songwriter I loved the musical hook with the scoop at the end of 4 lines on each verse. Rating: 5

Judge of the Secrets (Rom. 2:15-16) – We all have secrets we don’t want exposed. Romans 2 says God will judge our secrets and this song presents a surprising call to repentance and consecration. It stopped me in my tracks and I found myself praying with the chorus, “O holy Judge, here is my heart.” Rating: 5

Lew Trois Clowns (The Three Clowns) by Georges Rouault shows how we can put on faces, but God sees past those faces to our hearts

Lew Trois Clowns (The Three Clowns) by Georges Rouault shows how we can put on faces, but God sees past those faces to our hearts

Our Only Hope is You (Rom. 3:19-26) – This song artfully paints a picture of the soul longing for what God alone can provide: redemption. The melody, accompaniment and lyrics all beautifully orchestrate this message. It took me 3 listens to start to get it, but I’m so glad I gave it a third chance. The vocal was beautiful and this will require the right vocalist to lead it, and the strings added a wonderful richness. Rating: 4–only because not every church can pull this one off.

A God Who Saves (Rom. 5:6-11) – I like this rocking anthem with its strong rhythmic pulse. The melody is exploratory enough to provide musical interest and be memorable and yet is still quite singable. The pre-chorus needs to be heard every day. Many songs echo the chorus of this song, but the verses and pre-chorus of this song bring the richness of Romans 5 to bear in a memorable way. Rating: 5

We Praise Your Righteousness (Rom 3-8)– The intro drum lick draws one into this modern hymn reflecting on the righteousness of God. The tag presented some clever lyric writing, a lyric I will keep singing, “You are just and you justify all who trust in the blood of Christ.” Rating: 5

Our Hope is Alive (Rom. 8:18-25) – I was grabbed by the first line, “Hope that is seen is no hope at all.”  I think this might be more challenging for a congregation to sing on the pre-chorus due to the range. But I like the 6/8 feel and the call to reflect on our future hope. Rating: 4

Glory Awaits –The plaintive message of “it won’t be long” is well supported by the bluesy setting. The chorus musically and lyrically calls us to remember that there is a glory awaiting us that will wash away our years of waiting. Why don’t we have more blues in worship? Rating: 4

Nothing in All the Earth (Rom. 8:31-39)– This song celebrates the great news that nothing can separate us from God’s love. The rhythmic cadence of the lyrics makes it harder to sing along with confidence. I think a congregation (and worship team) would need several sings on this one before they could sing with ease. Rating: 3

All Glory Be Forever (Rom. 8, 11:33) – What a great reminder of all God has done for us, but the reflection on these truths points us to bring glory to God. Verse two starts with a refreshing truth: “Every bond of sing that held us fast is left in Jesus’ grave.” This new hymn needs to be sung often. Rating: 5

It’s Your Grace (9-11) – This song paints a compelling portrait of grace through pictures of renegades, the potter and the clay, and captives being set free. Plus it roots us in the truth that God’s grace is his sovereign choice: “You will save whom You will save.” Even after singing it three times, I find myself wanting to change the melody in a couple spots in the verse–the only reason for a downgrade. Rating: 4

My Life is an Offering (Rom. 12:1-2) – Don’t be confused by the arrangement. This song can just as easily be sung in a stadium by thousands as by a soloist. Every worship leader knows the call to be a living sacrifice and this song provide a fresh way to reflect on that offering. That said, this wasn’t the strongest song on the project. Rating: 3

Overall rating: 4.5

Sovereign Grace is raising money to lead a worship conference in the Philippines this October. If you buy the album here you can help them raise those funds.

What are your favorite songs on grace?

About Phil Mershon

Phil is an ordained Presbyterian pastor, experienced worship leader, former missionary, and director of events for Social Media Examiner (see LinkedIn profile). He holds degrees in theology, counseling, music and economics. His passion is helping the church follow her calling in worship that is thoughtful, passionate and excellent, and leading churches toward cultural engagement. Follow his tweets: @called_2worship and @phil_mershon
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2 Responses to Grace Has Come: 13 Reflections on the Gospel of Grace (album review)

  1. Bob Kauflin says:

    Phil, thanks for taking the time to write such a thorough and thoughtful review. I agree with a number of your critiques and suggestions for improvement. Maybe we should include you on the evaluation team next time! And thanks for promoting the Philippine conference. Looking forward to ministering to the saints there.

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