by Jared Grenfell
“We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that he had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!”Ephesians 2:3-5
The earliest roots of “The Price” were laid in October 2019 during a Bible discussion with some brothers in my LIFE Group. At one point, I recall referring to the cross as the “price” Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 6:20. Someone else then expanded that to “the price of freedom”, which I thought were profound words. I remember expressing that sentiment out loud and jokingly suggesting that I write a song with that phrase. As I reflected on those words at home later that night, I dug into various Scripture passages. One area I went to was the first half of Ephesians 2, a passage that, during my college years, had become an anthem of salvation for me. Another was Philippians 2:8:
“He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death – even to death on a cross.”Philippians 2:8
As I began journaling through some of these thoughts, I developed the idea of writing a song that would tell the story of what it ultimately cost for us to be brought back to life with God, as well as reflect in some detail the kind of love Jesus showed towards us in accomplishing this. No music came out of it initially, and I would not return to those notes for about 2 months, during which I had been reading through the Gospel of John.
As I was wrapping up Jesus’ death and resurrection, I felt compelled to grab my guitar and give the songwriting another shot. I quickly found a melody I liked, but the lyrics remained a challenge. That was until I stumbled across Romans 5:12:
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men, because all sinned.”Romans 5:12
It dawned on me that, in all my ideas for themes and phrases, I may have left out a key part of the story. Going back to Genesis Chapter 3, I came up with the first verse of the song, which describes the fall and its eternal consequences.
“There in the garden, came a fatal fall
Death by sin, and death for all
A child of wrath, left in the shadows,
Separated from my heavenly home”
This gave me a starting point and direction for how I would frame up the rest of the lyrics. Not long after, words on a page turned into the first rough draft of the song.
In January, after a rehearsal, I showed Alex Nicholson what I had been working on and he was kind enough to offer his assistance. We spent the next couple of weeks collaborating virtually by means of exchanging notes on a Google doc and swapping recordings until a final product came to fruition.
My objective with the message of this song is acknowledgement of not only our victory in Christ, but of the weight of that victory. Verses 1 and 2 were written to highlight the fateful entrance of sin into the world, which left us hopeless children of wrath – forever on the wrong side of eternity, separated from our all-perfect and all-holy Father. Throughout the Old Testament, we see kings, judges, and substitutionary atonement fail to permanently free us from this disease. There was only one cure, one price that could be paid to bring us back to God. This is where the whole story comes together.
The chorus is aimed at illustrating that climax where the war on death was waged, fought, and won by Jesus. Our “freedom” and our being brought “back to life” are a prize we could not earn ourselves, nor can be taken from us if we have accepted Christ. Furthermore, the lyrics “once and for all” proclaim the finality and permanence of that transaction. Jesus, being God, took on flesh, humbled himself, and endured the punishment we deserved (Verse 3). He was the perfect judge, the perfect king, and ultimately the perfect sacrifice to free us from the stench of sin and restore us to life with the Father. I believe it is crucial to be reminded that our life and our freedom were not free but were purchased by the blood He poured out on that day. It is for that reason we sing endless praise to Him whose love for us was so great. It is for that reason that we sing a song of victory; one of a battle fought and of an enemy conquered and defeated forever. Verse 4 highlights where the crucifixion story ends and our lives begin:
“Death could not hold Him, for His love was more
He has covered my debt with the cross He bore
Death will not hold me, for I am redeemed!
By the precious blood of our risen King!”
Throughout this song, I encourage the worshipper to reflect on what was won on the cross. As a result of our redemption in Christ, we are now able to walk in complete confidence as death no longer has power over us. We have been claimed by the Father, risen up with His Son, and mercifully granted eternal communion with Him through His Holy Spirit. Our true freedom lies in our unhindered ability to leave behind all sorrow and regret over sins of yesterday and rest in the eternal life of today. Praise the Lord for what He has done!
Jared Grenfell currently serves on the LIFE Worship as one of the vocalists and guitarists. We love having him on the team and are so thankful for his gifts and talents he uses to serve the Lord and church!