Encouraging a higher standard for Christian music

If we are to evaluate music on the basis of its origins, we must not only consider the general origin–that God gave us the gift of music. We also need to consider the human element, the origin of each piece of music. Though we have no way of making a comparison, it seems logical to suppose that, were it not for the fall, man would have been able to produce even more glorious and consistently God-honouring songs. But sin has changed all that. Now, we face an ongoing struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil. That is what hinders us from making good music to the glory of God.

1) The Pressure of the World
This evil world, Satan’s kingdom, with its triple anti-God dogmas of egocentrism, materialism, and sensuality, has aggressively incorporated music as another means to achieve its temporal goals, and communicate its sinful philosophy. And the influence of the world exerts pressure on the one who desires to serve Christ (Rom. 12:2). If we are not on guard, it will affect the music we create and use.

2) The Perversity of the Flesh
Apart from the regenerating work of the Spirit of God, men are spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1, 5). Even after the new birth has taken place, our powers are sadly diminished in comparison to what they might have been–and will one day be again. The flesh (the sin nature) is in continual rebellion against the spirit, within the child of God. (Gal. 5:17). This too will tend to affect our music.

3) The Persuasion of the Devil
Further, we have Satan to contend with. He is intent on using everything God has made for a dishonest and destructive purpose (Jn. 8:44; Eph. 6:12). That objective has historically included his appropriation and employment of God’s gift of music (cf. Exod. 32:4-6, 17-19; Job 30:9; Lam. 3:63; Dan. 3:5; Amos 6:3-7).

Bottom line: We must be constantly attentive to the spiritual quality of our music, and depend upon the grace of God to render what is pleasing to Him. As a hymn by George Heath puts it:

My soul, be on thy guard;
Ten thousand foes arise;
The hosts of sin are pressing hard
To draw thee from the skies.

O watch, and fight, and pray;
The battle ne’er give o’er;
Renew it boldly every day,
And help divine implore.

Ne’er think the victory won,
Nor lay thine armour down;
The work of faith will not be done,
Till thou obtain the crown.

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