Justin Bieber releases Freedom, full of prayers, praise and gospel lyrics

New EP includes Judah Smith, resurrection and having a go at the Devil.

Among the tasty treats you enjoyed on Easter Sunday, one might have been the surprise release of Freedom, the most gospel-laden offering yet from pop superstar Justin Bieber.

The six-track EP lobbed on all platforms on Sunday, complete with prayers as outros on individual songs, guests including megachurch preacher Judah Smith, and overt lyrics about the Messiah paying the price for personal sins.

Like fellow artist, Kanye West, Bieber’s own relationship with Jesus and Christianity has been the stuff of tabloid headlines for years.

The 27-year-old has spoken openly about personal struggles such as drug addiction and being arrested several times in 2014, while also regularly filling his social media feeds with references to his own faith. Previously mentored by the now-disgraced Hillsong NYC pastor Carl Lentz, Bieber is the sort of “celebrity Christian” who people can mock or dismiss – without knowing the true substance of his personal beliefs or convictions.

Also like West and his Grammy-winning Jesus is King album, Bieber’s latest release is an explicit songbook about the stuff of Jesus.

Recorded during a fitting three-day period, Freedom‘s Easter release came with a ‘3:16’ time stamp on the album cover – an apparent nod to the famous John 3:16 verse.

“On the third day, yeah, you rose up … And you beat death once and for all.”

On the title track, Bieber runs with some of the main themes of Easter as he sings of spiritual blindness, the lies of the Devil and what the Messiah has “erased”.

“We all lookin’ for the answers; We in search of living water

Too blind to see the Messiah; Are you weary? Are you tired?

Runnin’ on empty, feelin’ the fire; Mm, the Devil is a liar

The story’s already written; Children, you are forgiven (Yeah)

Ain’t nothin’ you could do for you to change that; And everythin’ you did, He erased that

Yeah, He took it all and threw it in the wasteland”

Bieber gets more direct on Where You Go I Follow: “On the third day, yeah, you rose up … And you beat death once and for all.”

“I pray for every single person listening to this song right now,” Bieber says at the end of third track We’re In This Together. “I pray for peace. I pray for joy. I pray for confidence. I pray for reassurance …  God, I just pray for an overwhelming sense of your presence in their home right now, an overwhelming sense of your peace that says everything is going to be alright. In the name of Jesus.”

Only last month, Bieber released his sixth studio album, Justice, which topped album and singles charts.

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