I don’t remember reading Colossians 3:15-17 until a couple of days ago, and I marveled again at how the Scriptures are so rich and thought-provoking. Quite often, they reveal things that you thought you knew, but you learn that you knew only superficially or not at all.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. –Colossians 3:15-17
There are 3 themes I would like to explore in this verse:
1. Christ’s peace ruling in our hearts
2. God’s truth through song
3. Thankfulness in all of life
In this post, I will be tackling the second point. I know that seems confusing, but as I started to study the first point, I realized it was much more complex than I imagined and that I needed to postpone that blog entry to a later date. That being said, let’s talk music!
Let the Word of Christ Dwell Richly
The word richly is πλουσίως (plousiōs), and it occurs 4 times in the New Testament. It can also be translated abundantly. Cambridge defines richly as: “in a very special or valuable way, or in a way that is greater than usual”. God’s word is to dwell greatly, valuably in us. We are to study His Word, and teach it to and share it with others. We are to count it valuable. We are to magnify it. How beautiful His word is to be to us!
Theologically Sound Worship
Colossians 3:16 explains that singing hymns and worship songs should be a means to the dwelling richly of God’s word. This means that the worship of the Lord should be founded on truth. So many worship songs today are based on feelings. Songs about “being carried away in His love” and “the way He holds us” become the way we worship our God. I’m not here to say that there is something inherently wrong with those songs. Feelings are a part of worship but should come after a realization of truth. Our God is so much greater and grander and worthy of the most excellent praise than to be worshiped because of our fleeting feelings. The Scriptures give us wonderful insight into why and how we should praise our Lord:
O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. –Isaiah 25:1
Our worship should be based on His works. He is faithful. He keeps His promises. He is sure, He is unchanging. Therefore, we should praise Him, because amidst our changing emotions and our waywardness, amidst our sense that we are: “Prone to wander, Lord (we) feel it!”, He is faithful.
Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the Lord; exult before him! Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. –Psalm 68:4-5
Our worship should be based on who He is. In the Bible, a name represents the identity of the person. When we say, “Praise His name!”, we aren’t saying praise the actual name, the letters, but the identity of that name, what the name represents. His name is the Lord, and we sing praises to His name. We sing praise because of who He is: He is the Father to the fatherless and the protector of widows. He is holy!
‘Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” –Revelation 5:11-13
We worship God because He is God. God the Son was slain. He is eternal and sovereign and is wise. He counted all that as loss. He was beaten and betrayed and left bloody to die. All-powerful, dead on the cross. What beauty! He is worthy to receive all adoration. All of creation will one day proclaim God the Father as worthy of eternal glory, and the Son of eternal praise.
Conscientiously Choose Your Worship Music
I believe that when we are listening or singing songs to worship God, we should be paying attention to three things:
- Worship based on what He’s done
- Worship based on who He is
- Worship because He is God, and He is worthy
Let’s let God’s word dwell richly among us as we praise Him!