Colossians 3:16, 17
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs…
Having exhorted them to be thankful, he also shows them the way (Chrysostom). But the connection is wider than this. In ver. 16 the apostle shows how a right use of Christ's gospel may promote the graces to which he has been exhorting; and in ver. 17 how the right recognition of the Name of Christ will be a comprehensive rule to aid us in every duty of life.
I. THE POWER OF THE WORD OF CHRIST.
1. "Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom." If "every word of God is pure," and therefore both powerful and precious, this is pre-eminently so with "the word of the truth of the gospel." To exert its power it must not be a transient visitor (cf. Jeremiah 14:8), but a resident in the soul, and that "richly." We must welcome it impartially - its doctrines (Romans 1:16, 17, etc.), precepts (Psalm 119:128), and promises (Romans 4:20, 21). We must receive it with joy as a treasure we prize (Psalm 119:72; Jeremiah 15:16), like sweet poetry that lingers in the memory, or a friend enshrined in the heart (Proverbs 4:21, 22). We may expect it to be a power to ourselves; it will promote in us every kind of wisdom, making us "wise unto salvation," and enlightening the intelligence as well as the heart (Psalm 19:7, 8; Psalm 119:130). One chief motive for seeking this blessed occupancy of the soul is that we may be useful to others.
2. "Teaching and admonishing one another," etc. The picture presented is one of unconstrained, cheerful, social religion, as in Acts 2:42-47; mutual counsel, encouragement, reproof, and interchange of experience (Psalm 141:5; Malachi 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; Hebrews 3:13; Hebrews 10:24, 25, etc.). For this end "the sacrifice of praise" has an especial value. (Power of poetry and song: e.g. Acts 16:25; James 5:13. Pliny's testimony; the psalmody of the Reformation; recent developments of sacred song, and conversions therefrom.) Let us seek to sing "with grace in our hearts," so that every hymn may be a means of grace to ourselves and to others (Psalm 50:23).
II. THE POWER OF THE NAME OF CHRIST. We may be said to do or suffer anything in the Name of Christ when we do it or endure it in recognition of the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ and in subordination to him. As all thoughtful men have some ruling passion in life - wealth, fame, patriotism, etc. - the Christian's will be the will and honour of his Divine Lord. This is:
1. A comprehensive rule. It applies to words and deeds (1 Corinthians 10:31; 1 Peter 4:10, 11). "It is one thing to be reproached, another to be saved, another to be baptized, another to command, another to pray, another to give thanks in the Name of the Lord;" but all may be done by his authority and for his honour.
2. A valuable test; as was "the peace of Christ." (Ver. 15.) Can I do this "in the Name of Christ," "giving thanks to God"? Illustrate this in relation to business (e.g. a godly grocer thinking about going into the liquor traffic), amusements, politics, etc. We are not at liberty to take any part of our life from under this rule. The doctrine that religion and business are disconnected is a "damnable heresy."
3. A powerful encouragement. It dignifies drudgery, sanctifies commerce, hallows recreation. Having traded in the Name of Christ, we may pray in that Name and be assured of an answer (John 14:14). We may thank God for our subjection to the power of that Name, which ennobles every service and lightens every trial (Ephesians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:18). But the first thing to be done in the Name of Christ is to trust in him for salvation (John 3:18; Acts 4:12). Unless that is done, nothing can be truly done "in the Name of the Lord Jesus" (John 6:29; 1 John 3:23). - E.S.P.
Parallel VersesKJV: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.