4) We Need to Sing with Grace in Our Hearts
Finally, Colossians 3:16 says, we need to sing “with grace in our hearts…”
In the New Testament, grace is practically a “thing”. Paul says repeatedly in his letters, “Grace to you…” Grace is God’s undeserved, unmerited love and favor. To draw an important distinction between mercy and grace: Mercy is God forgiving you, wiping the slate clean, canceling your debt. If you’ve got a big debt to God, mercy is a good thing; you want your debt cancelled. But if your debts are just cancelled, you still have a problem: you’re still broke, you’re just not in debt anymore. Grace is not just God canceling your debt; grace is God giving you his riches and favor. He doesn’t just wipe the slate clean; he invites you into his adopted family as a prince of the kingdom, makes you his son and daughter, covers you with robes of righteousness, adopts you. That’s grace!
So, Paul says, We’re to sing with grace in our hearts! Our singing is meant to be a response and a meditation of all of God’s grace poured out on us through the blood of Christ. In Colossians 3:12, Paul had said, “Put on as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience…” He was saying: Live in light of the riches of grace. Remember that you are chosen and dearly loved. Live in light of that grace you have received. He then said in 3:16, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.” It’s a Word about Christ, about the grace of Christ: That’s why we sing!
It’s why we sing: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see.” To hear the “sweetness” of the sound, sometimes we need to sing it!
Titus 2:11 says, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people…” Titus 3:4-7 echoes, “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Grace from God “appeared” in history in the Person of Jesus Christ. But then Jesus “appears” to us by the Spirit through the ministry of the Word (2 Cor. 4:6, 2 Tim.1:9-11).
Has grace “appeared” to you? It disappears from our minds all the time. That’s one reason why you need to sing! —to have grace appear, to remind yourself: the goodness and lovingkindness of God has appeared! When we meditate on that, we should start to sing. There should be a movement in our heart to sing that!
At great moments of redemption, people sang. When the people of Israel crossed the Red Sea and reached on the other side – they sang! When God did great things for David – he sang! When God did great things for Hannah – she sang…for Mary – she sang…for Zechariah – he sang. Has God done great things for you? Have you started to sing?
Psalm 40:1-3 says, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.” Did you catch that last part? “Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord”…when I sing of what he’s done for me.
My life goes on in endless song, above earth’s lamentations.
I hear the real, though far-off hymn, that hails a new creation.
Above the tumult and the strife, I hear its music ringing.
It sounds an echo in my soul. How can I keep from singing?
When tyrants tremble, sick with fear, and hear their death-knell ringing,
When friends rejoice both far and near, how can I keep from singing?
In prison cell and dungeon vile our thoughts to them are winging.
When friends by shame are undefiled, how can I keep from singing?
What though my joys and comforts die, the Lord my Savior liveth.
And though the darkness round me close, songs in the night he giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that Rock I’m clinging.
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?
(By: Matt Foreman)