BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#662 - "Call It Grace" by Unspoken
Chad Mattson talks about getting to the core of what grace really is in Unspoken's latest single.
 


Unspoken is a 4-member band consisting of lead singer Chad Mattson, bassist Jon Lowry, guitarist Mike Gomez and drummer Ariel Munoz. We were first introduced to original compositions from Unspoken with the group's debut Centricity Music EP Get to Me, which featured the standout song "Who You Are." They followed that up with their EP The World Is Waking, which featured the hit "Lift My Life Up."

The band's full-length eponymous album, Unspoken, includes the aforementioned songs, along with previously digital only releases "Walking Away," "Everything," "Bury the Workman" and the vertical worship song "In Your Hands." There were an additional six new songs for that album, which was one of my Top 5 Albums of 2014.

The extended introduction to this great new band was a novel approach, building in some radio airplay and name recognition to propel this very talented musical act forward on their journey of faith. That faith journey continues with their acoustic album, Unspoken Unplugged. The lead singles "Start a Fire," "Good Fight" and "Lift My Life Up" have been a huge success for the band, and I had the chance to speak with Chad about their next single, "Call it Grace."

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

For this song, Jon and I got together with our producer Seth Mosely, and Seth said he had the song title "Call it Grace." We immediately sat down, and along with Michael Farren we started talking about a different kind of song. A lot of times we hear the word grace in our Christian lives, our communities, our conversations and our Bible studies, and our songs sing about grace in passing, and we wanted to write a song that explains what grace is. We didn't just want grace to be part of the song, just asking for God to pour out His grace, but we wanted a song that was explaining what grace is. 

This was a super cool experience. We were excited about the verses, and we liked how you don't know what we're talking about until you get to the chorus. The melody of the chorus wasn't great at first, and I remember stepping away during the writing session and pulling up my voice notes. Every songwriter has tons of voice notes with different ideas. I had this melody that I thought was more of a country melody, but it happened to be in the exact same key. Finally we had the idea, the melody, the song title and what kind of road we wanted to talk about grace. 

Grace means a ton to us. It's the backbone and heartbeat of our Christian belief. We were psyched about it. It is a song with big ideas, which we loved as a theme. We felt the Lord really poured out His Spirit.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

2 Thessalonians 1:12 (NIV): Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with Him. This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Galatians 5:11 (VOICE): As for me, brothers and sisters, if I continue to preach circumcision--as these agitators claim--then why do I still face persecution? If I were to preach a compromised version of the good news, then the scandal of the cross would come to an end.

Hebrews 4:16 (NLT): So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Romans 3:24-26 (NLV): Anyone can be made right with God by the free gift of His loving-favor. It is Jesus Christ Who bought them with His blood and made them free from their sins. God gave Jesus Christ to the world. Men's sins can be forgiven through the blood of Christ when they put their trust in Him. God gave His Son Jesus Christ to show how right He is. Before this, God did not look on the sins that were done. But now God proves that He is right in saving men from sin. He shows that He is the One Who has no sin. God makes anyone right with Himself who puts his trust in Jesus.

What is the takeaway message?

Michael Farren, who has written a lot of worship songs, came up with the lyrics "it's nothing less than scandalous, this love that took our place," and we all agreed that was the perfect description of grace. In Galatians 5:11, Paul talks about not losing sight of the scandalous nature of the Cross. In the original context he used the word "scandal," and some other translations use the word "offensive." 

It is scandalous and foolishness to think that the God of creation who holds all infinite wisdom and power would come as one of His created to sacrifice Himself. That's incredible. It's a scandal! You would never think of a King in our day and age that would do such a thing. That's the idea. Don't lose sight of the idea that God Himself came as one of us to give His life. He held nothing back, which is incredible. That's the idea of that particular line in the song. 

We then sent the song to our pastor, who is Jon's dad, and he was excited about the song and told us about the original Galatians 5:11 terminology using the word "scandal." He let us know our song was theologically sound, which is something we are always looking to accomplish with our songs. This is the first ballad we have recorded, and this song means a lot to us and to other people. We see it every night when we sing it, and the song is an awesome reminder about what grace is. We want people to hear what the Bible says about grace in the song. An important takeaway for me is from Romans 3. All men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. People are made right with God when they believe in Jesus's sacrifice of love, His life and the shedding of His blood. This my friends is grace.

Lyrics:
It's the light that pierces through you
To the darkest hidden place
It knows your deepest secrets
But it never looks away
It's the gentle hand that pulls you
From the judgement of the crowd
When you stand before them guilty
And you got no way out

Some may call it foolish and impossible
But for every heart it rescues, it's a miracle
It's nothing less than scandalous
This love that took our place
Just call it what it is, call it grace
Call it grace

It's the breath that's breathing new life
Into what we thought was dead
It's the favor that takes orphans
Placing crowns upon their heads
It's the hope for our tomorrows
The rock on which we stand
It's a strong and mighty fortress
Even Hell can't stand against

Some may call it foolish and impossible
But for every heart it rescues, it's a miracle
It's nothing less than scandalous
This love that took our place
Just call it what it is, call it grace
Call it grace
Call it grace

Amazing, unshaking
This is grace, this is grace
Unchanging, unfailing
This is grace, this is grace

Some may call it foolish and impossible
But for every heart it rescues, it's a miracle
It's nothing less than scandalous
This love that took our place
Oh call it what it is, just call it what it is
Call it grace


If you want to experience an uplifting soul-stirring "gourmet" worshipful album, look no further than Unspoken. "You can silence the voices, but you can't stop the song, when the Spirit's moving, His will, will be done, you can bury the workman but the work will go on" is the refrain of the Mark 13:31 inspired sing-along anthem "Bury the Workman." With this excellent album, Unspoken is offering a great example of how you can write and sing lyrics that are unashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and reach the lost with transparent confessions of faith. Every thought and lyric in this song and this album is rooted in Scripture, which I admire.

Throughout the album, I love the confessional and biblical lyrics, and Mattson's emotive vocals cause me to hang on every word he sings. Unspoken is the best new band to hit Christian music since Sidewalk Prophets, in my opinion. The album is chock full of potential radio singles, and every song is completely captivating. If you've been desperately waiting for a fresh filling of Christ-focused catchy songs about relying completely on God's grace, then don't miss out on this incredible album. This song does an excellent job of explaining what grace is all about. My pastor uses the acronym "God's Riches at Christ's Expense" to define grace.

When you sing this song, the devotional thought we should all be thinking is whether we are submitting our lives to the Truth or just singing the words. God wants us to boldly approach the Throne of mercy and grace to receive and obtain what we need from Him. When we acknowledge our identity in Christ in this song, our burdens are removed. I can't get enough of the beautiful poetic and powerful expressions of faith in this song,

An acoustic version of "Call it Grace" also appears on the new album Unspoken Unplugged along with five new songs. Chad's story of overcoming his addiction in "My Recovery" is celebrated in "Good Fight" and "Call it Grace." This song is a great way to thank Jesus for our undeserved gift of grace. Know that whatever struggle you are facing, "Some may call it foolish and impossible, but for every heart it rescues, it's a miracle. It's nothing less than scandalous, this love that took our place, oh call it what it is, call it grace." Amen to that!

Watch the lyric video below:
 


 

NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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