In the coming weeks we will be learning a new song together in our Sunday worship services titled Not In Me. This song originates from the ministry of thousandtongues.org (formerly reformedpraise.org) and was written by Eric Schumacher and David L. Ward, who describes its inspiration:
What would it sound like for the Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14 to repent? His prayer begins proclaiming what he has not done, with a list of people he is “not like”. So, repentance must be renouncing such boasts before God. In the end, the repenting Pharisee’s prayer is the same as the tax collector’s. Ultimately, whether for a Pharisee or a tax-collector, there is only one Gospel, one hope of salvation. God shows mercy to sinners, self-righteous or self-loathing, on the basis of Christ crucified and risen. In the end, neither can earn his forgiveness or merit a standing. We’re both the tax collector and the Pharisee. One moment, we are wallowing in our sin, relenting of any hope due to the greatness of our evil. The next moment, we are boasting of our own righteousness and finding comfort in our external goodness and self-control. We need songs that preach the Gospel to us in and lift us out of the ditches on both sides of the road.
How often we should meditate on these truths! As we join together every week to sing the praises of our holy God we can not help but be reminded that we are always sinners in need of grace. What great rejoicing we share when we recognize and worship our Savior Jesus Christ for His sacrifice, the substitution of His life for ours on the cross, and the great hope of eternity promised to us and sealed by the Holy Spirit.
My hope is that this song will reinforce our utter dependance on Christ's work, and keep us from sliding into the habit of seeking our spiritual satisfaction in the deeds of our own flesh, whether they be deeds of self-righteousness or self-loathing. As we come before the Lord together with this song of confession, may we continue to recognize and recite to every witness that we have found and shall always find our righteousness in Christ alone.
No list of sins I have not done,
No list of virtues I pursue,
No list of those I am not like,
Can earn myself a place with You.
O God! Be merciful to me—
I am a sinner through and through!
My only hope of righteousness
Is not in me, but only You.
No humble dress, no fervent prayer,
No lifted hands, no tearful song,
No recitation of the truth
Can justify a single wrong.
My righteousness is Jesus' life,
My debt was paid by Jesus' death,
My weary load was borne by Him
And he alone can give me rest.
No separation from the world,
No work I do, no gift I give,
Can cleanse my conscience, cleanse my hands;
I cannot cause my soul to live.
But Jesus died and rose again—
The pow'r of death is overthrown!
My God is merciful to me
And merciful in Christ alone.
©2012 ThousandTongues.org, admin by Thousand Tongues