Worship leader and Contemporary Christian artist Cody Carnes is well known as the husband of artist Kari Jobe and for his song The Cross Has the Final Word. He released EP All He Says I Am in 2014 before starting his solo career. He released The Darker the Night The Brighter the Morning in 2017 and Run To The Father a few weeks ago.

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1. What message does the song communicate?

I get what Carnes attempts with this song’s title. The cross is where Christ paid the penalty for our lawbreaking and for some, the cross represents the culmination of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection; However, the cross is useless without the resurrection. If the cross was the final word, then Jesus becomes another dead Jew with nothing of value to offer for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:12-19). The cross does not have the final word. The empty tomb has the final word.

If the cross has the final word, then “nothing stronger, nothing higher, nothing greater, than the Name of Jesus” would be false. Death would be strong, higher, and greater than Christ! We would have no reason to say “All the honour, all the power, all the glory to the Name of Jesus”. These things are true only of Jesus conquered the grave. There could be an argument made that the second coming of Christ has the final word, where death is permanently defeated (Revelation 20:14); However, the cross does not have the final word. The empty tomb has the final word.

Side Note: To those who are sensitive to massive repetition, the song’s title appears 18 times throughout this song, between six repeats of Chorus.

Score: 4/10

2. How much of the lyrics line up with Scripture?

As mentioned in section 1, the song’s false title contradicts any otherwise Biblical statements contained within this song.

Lyrics posted with permission.*

The cross has the final word

As mentioned in section 1, it is the empty tomb of Jesus that has the final word, not the cross (Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, and John 20:1-10). If the cross had the final word, then Jesus did not rise from the dead. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then Christianity is history. Our faith is useless! We are still in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:12-19).

The cross has the final word

Repeats line 1.

Sorrow may come in the darkest night

If the cross has the final word, then we still have sorrow and must look elsewhere to remedy it.

But the cross has the final word

Essentially repeats line 1.

The cross has the final wordThe cross has the final word

Repeats Chorus 1, line 1.

Evil may put up its strongest fight

Evil wins if the cross has the final word. It is only Christ’s resurrection that defeats death’s sting (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).

But the cross has the final word

Essentially repeats Chorus 1, line 1.

The cross has the final wordThe cross has the final word

Repeats Chorus 1, line 1.

The Saviour has come with the morning light

The Savior is nothing more but another false messiah if the cross has the final word. It is only through His death that subsides God’s anger and His resurrection by which the joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).

The cross has the final word

Repeats Chorus 1, line 1.

The cross has the final wordThe cross has the final word

Repeats Chorus 1, line 1.

He traded death for eternal life

This “great exchange” is only true is Christ resurrected (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The cross has the final word

Repeats Chorus 1, line 1.

There’s nothing stronger, nothing higherNothing greater, than the Name of JesusAll the honour, all the powerAll the glory to the Name of Jesus

If the cross has the final word, then death is stronger, higher, and greater than Jesus. We are still left dead in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:12-19). What reason would we have to give Jesus honor? He is powerless against the grave if He did not resurrect. The empty tomb has the final word, not the cross.

There’s nothing stronger, nothing higherNothing greater, than the Name of JesusAll the honour, all the powerAll the glory to the Name of Jesus

Repeats lines 1-4.

Score: 4/10

3. How would an outsider interpret the song?

They will miss the connection between the cross and the resurrection of Christ with this message. Yes, the cross is the symbol of hope for Christians as unbelievers will understand it; However, if the cross has the final word, it is a false hope. It will communicate a wrong message to those who do not yet know Him.

Score: 0/10

4. What does this song glorify?

Given what I’ve stated earlier, it becomes obvious that this song does not glorify God.

Score: 0/10

Closing Comments

I understand what Cody Carnes attempted with The Cross Has the Final Word. He wrestled with fear, focusing on the sacrificial love of Christ on the cross. What he forgot is that if the cross had the final word, and not the empty tomb, then he is preaching a false Gospel. I have no ill will towards Carnes and I don’t believe he is a false preacher; However, his intended message greatly misfires when the cross is disconnected from the resurrection by saying it has the final word, compromising his entire message.

I cannot recommend this for corporate worship.

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Final Score: 2.5/10

Artist Info

Track: The Cross Has the Final Word (listen to the song)

Artist: Cody Carnes

Album: The Darker The Night / The Brighter The Morning

Genre: Rock

Release Year: 2017

Duration: 4:14

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