How does the world celebrate? What does the world celebrate? In what do you as a Christian rejoice? Do you rejoice in righteousness? The word of God instructs all to rejoice in righteousness (Phil. 4:4). Jesus taught a rejoicing in righteousness even when it involves persecution (Matt. 5:10-12).
The apostle Paul contrasted worldly celebration with spiritual when he wrote to the Ephesians: “be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Being filled with the Holy Spirit is explained in the exhortation to the church at Colosse: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” He [the “Spirit” of truth] is the One who delivered the Word of God to man (II Pet. 1:20-21). On any given night and most certainly on weekends, the world celebrates to the excess with wine, but not the Christian. The Christian is called to a different and better life in which a form of celebration is learned and appreciated.
The heart of a Christian filled with the Spirit will do as followers of God through the ages have done. At the deliverance from Egyptian bondage, the people of God sang “the Song of Moses” (Exodus 15). Centuries later the inspired writer of Revelation used that historical image to picture the celebration of salvation in Heaven (Rev. 15:3), and added to “the song of Moses,” “the Lamb,” who made all salvation celebration possible. David of old sang before the heathen in celebration of God’s deliverance (Psa. 18:3; II Sam. 22:50). Singing learned from old was a practice of the New Testament (Rom. 15:9)—an expression of a merry heart (James 5:13). It’s the approved celebration of God for true worship (Col. 3:16-17).
Christians may sing praise to God in celebration of salvation by a variety of songs. In fact balanced singing is “psalms, hymns, and Spiritual songs,” and provides a well-rounded approach in worship to God. Never forget while singing to God, you are also teaching one another (Col. 3:16). When one sings to the Lord, he/she plucks or plays their heart to the Lord (Eph. 5:19). If mechanical instruments of music were involved in this command to sing, then everyone would be required to have one. There is neither authority for the playing of a mechanical instrument in worship to God, nor authority for a small group to do the singing for everyone else. All Christians are to worship God by singing psalms, hymns and Spiritual songs—“singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord.”
In this act of celebration and worship is an all-important attitude one must have. The attitude which should characterize Christians is an attitude of thanksgiving (Eph. 5:20)—a heartfelt spirit of thanksgiving celebration in singing to almighty God and the Lamb. How do you celebrate righteousness?
David Hill, President of Tennessee Bible College