Thursday, July 12, 2012

Praise God with the Heart, or Man-made, Mechanical Instruments?

By Tim Childs
    A mechanical instrument is an inanimate object. Since it is non-living, it is therefore unable to comprehend any messages from its maker. It does not entertain any rational thoughts to communicate to its maker. A mechanical instrument never expresses appreciation to its maker for making it in the first place, or to its owner for taking good care of it. It has no spirit with which to convey gratitude for its owner cleaning it, or protecting it from bad weather, or from abuse by a pet or small child.
    The members of our body are to be used faithfully as instruments of righteousness (Romans 6:13). While God wonderfully created man [not only physically, but also spiritually (in his own image)], including his heart and his lips whereby he may praise God, every mechanical instrument is inferior simply from the standpoint it is man made. God is able to use the instruments he has made and sanctified for his service, i.e. our hearts and tongues (our composite being). "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name" (Hebrews 13:15).
    In worship man communicates messages from his spirit to God who is the infinite Spirit. These messages must convey our deep humility and submission to his Divine authority. God is God. I am not God. God is not a man, and so his thoughts and ways transcend our own. God has communicated through command and approved example what he expects of his people who follow Christ. Christians are not at liberty to tinker and play with what he has called for. With respect to music, according to Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, the only instrument to be employed in Christian worship is a grateful heart in tune and in step with him.
    In the exclusive employment of vocal music, we are in the blessed company of Jesus who sang with his disciples, the Apostles who sang with the first Christians, and the church (being guided by the Holy Spirit/given all things pertaining to life and godliness) that Jesus established throughout the Roman empire.
    One might listen to an organ, or a full orchestra play all day and he would never hear the first intelligible thought. He would never learn anything about God, Jesus, his Son, the Holy Spirit, the church, or about faithful Christian living and service. One would never be edified in the biblical sense, nor encouraged to patient steadfastness in the Lord. He would never be reminded of the home for which we long and how beautiful heaven must be. Therefore, we will be content to “sing with the spirit,” and “the understanding also” (1 Corinthians 14:15).

- Tim Childs preaches for the Hillcrest church of Christ in Baldwyn, MS.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

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