Many of us have begun to get the vaccines for the COVID-19 virus. We understand how vaccines work. If a person receives a vaccine into their body, then it works to prevent them from coming down with the disease it was designed to ward off. We thank God that He has enabled mankind to develop such medical wonders which have kept multitudes from suffering and even death.
Knowing the wisdom of our God, it should not surprise us that He has provided two “vaccines” to ward off spiritual “disease.” They are the word of God and the Holy Spirit. These are, of course, so closely intertwined as to be inseparable.
In our Colossians text, Paul urges: “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you...” Contrary to popular thinking, this verse isn’t about singing, but about the word of God. If the word lives in us, then we know the truths of God. We know the good and the evil. We know how God expects us to live. So we know how to choose the good and avoid the evil. If the word of truth dwells in us, we are “vaccinated” against lies and evil. Similarly, in the Ephesian passage, Paul exhorts: “...be filled with the Spirit.” We see the connection between these two passages in that the word of God is the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17). When the Holy Spirit fills us (we are under His influence), we are “vaccinated” against committing sin. Needless to say, we must continue to replenish that Word and continue to submit to the Spirit in order to stay “vaccinated.”
Why, then, does Paul bring up singing in both these texts? When the word of God lives in us, it becomes the fountain and the focus of our congregational singing. Not only is God praised, but the worshipers are engaged in “teaching and admonishing one another.” The assembly of the saints is designed for mutual edification and encouragement. When we teach and admonish one another in our songs, we help one another stay “vaccinated” against sin. It’s a glorious thing!