Sometimes, when I’m planning a service and I look at the Scripture for that day, I’ll immediately have all kinds of ideas for appropriate music. Other times, I’m momentarily stumped. That was the case when I first started work on this week’s service, which will focus on Colossians 2:16-23. Nothing immediately sprang to mind…there just aren’t that many hymns about New Moon festivals, for some reason. And there really aren’t many songs that deal explicitly with legalism. And so I had to dig deeper and look at the underlying themes in the passage.
To start with, the passage begins with “therefore.” My dad always taught me not to just start with a “therefore” in Scripture; look and see what the “therefore” is referring to. Here, it’s referring to the previous verses, which we talked about last Sunday:
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross (Colossians 2:13-15).
That’s it. Settled and done. He forgave our sins, canceled the written code and its regulations, and nailed it to the cross.
Now, certainly, we should live our lives in a manner honoring to God. We should exercise self-control, and we should live as a witness to those around us. But is that what saves us? Our good works? Is this the basis of our hope?
Have we built a religion on works, or are we trusting in the One who has triumphed on the cross?
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).
That’s why I chose the hymn In Christ Alone.
In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease;
My Comforter, my All in All;
Here in the love of Christ I stand.
No guilt in life, no fear in death;
This is the power of Christ in me.
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
‘Til He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand!
(In Christ Alone: words and music by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.
Copyright 2002 Thankyou Music (PRS) (admin. worldwide by EMI CMG
Publishing excluding Europe which is admin. by kingswaysongs.com).
For the rest of our songs, I chose
- Higher Ground (My heart has no desire to stay where doubts arise and fears dismay; though some may dwell where these abound, my prayer, my aim is higher ground)
- The Solid Rock (My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness)
- My Jesus, I Love Thee (For Thee all the follies of sin I resign)
For our closing hymn, we’ll sing Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus to remind us that the things of earth grow strangely dim in the light of God’s glory and grace.