God Commands, God Gives Examples, God Implies
This is the second part of our lesson about how God gives us instructions to teach us how to live our lives, through His Holy Word. In the previous lesson we were introduced to three methods of instruction that God has used, namely, Commands, Examples, and Necessary Inferences. If you’re not sure of what “necessary inference” means, please go back to the FIRST LESSON and read about it in detail. Basically though, what is meant by “necessary inference” is this… Many times when the bible says something, especially when a direct command is given, there’s more that’s IMPLIED than the words themselves say. For example; We’re told in Ephesians 1:3, “Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with EVERY spiritual blessing in heavenly places IN Christ.” And so when God says that He has blessed us with EVERY spiritual blessing IN Christ, He has implied that there are NO spiritual blessings outside of Christ. Every one of the blessings are found IN Christ. Therefore the fact that there are NO spiritual blessings outside of Christ, is something that is NECESSARY that we infer. There’s no way around it, we MUST conclude that fact. If every spiritual blessing is IN Christ, then NO spiritual blessings are found OUT of Christ. That’s simple enough, isn’t it? So you see that an inference, is really just a conclusion. But we’re not talking about some mere speculation, we’re talking about an inference, or a conclusion that is absolutely necessary, it’s required of us to accept it as fact, because there’s no other rational conclusion to be found.
Let’s Begin By Looking At Some Commands
Listen to this one from V’s 16-17, “Let the word of Christ dwell richly within you, with all wisdom..” That’s a COMMAND! Let the word dwell richly within you. You DO know, that when you let the word of Christ dwell in you, you are allowing the Spirit of God to dwell within you. There is NO other way for the Spirit of God to dwell in you, except to let the WORD of Christ dwell richly within you. When God said in Jeremiah 31:33, that He’d “..Make a new covenant with the house of Israel, that He’d put His law WITHIN them, and on their heart I will write it”, that’s what He was talking about. He wants us to put the word of Christ WITHIN us. He wants that word to dwell RICHLY within us. The word of Christ IS the New Covenant. It’s “The New Covenant in His blood, which is shed for YOU”. Luke 22:20.
Let’s start again with V 16, “Let the word of Christ dwell richly within you, with all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another, with Psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, SINGING, with thankfulness in your hearts to God!”
Now V-17, “And WHATEVER you do, in word or deed, do ALL in the name of the Lord Jesus (that means “by His authority) giving thanks through HIM to God the Father.”
THAT’S also a command of God! Whatever you do, do ALL, by the authority of Jesus. In other words, if Jesus hasn’t given His authority to do something, DON’T do it! It’s that simple. Don’t do it, if you don’t have prior “permission” from Jesus.
Are you thinking of going to the bar for a drink after work tomorrow? If you can’t find in the bible, the authority from Jesus to do that, DON”T do it.
If you’re thinking about NOT assembling together with the congregation of God’s people next Sunday, DON’T do it, unless you can go to the bible and find authority from Christ, to forsake the “assembling of ourselves together”. Heb 10:25
Let’s go back again to V-16, Colossions chapter 3, “Let the word of Christ dwell richly within you, in all wisdom, (it’s wise to do that, isn’t it? you know it is.) Now listen to this, “Teaching and admonishing one another, with Psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, SINGING with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
Now that’s a command too.. that we teach and admonish one another. And here’s how God specifies that we do this teaching and admonishing. This may not be the ONLY way, that we should teach and admonish one another, but this is ONE way that God commands us to do it. “With Psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, SINGING with thankfulness in your hearts to the Lord.”
So, to fulfill this command, to use the singing of Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, to teach and admonish one another, we must be TOGETHER with one another, wouldn’t that be right? We can’t fulfill that command if we’re not gathered together, can we? And so when are we typically together? Well, we’re together when we assemble for a worship service, aren’t we? And we might be together at other times too. We might decide to have a get-together, any time during the week. We can do that can’t we? And so it’s authorized by God, that when we ARE together, we should be teaching and admonishing one another with Psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs.
Do you know what Jesus and His disciple did after they ate the Passover meal, the night before He was crucified, the same night that Jesus gave instructions for the Lord’s Supper? We’re told in Mat 26:30, “And after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” Jesus and His disciples were gathered together, they ate a meal, Jesus gave the instructions for commemorating His death by partaking of the unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine, and then they sang a hymn.
We’re authorized by God, no we’re COMMANDED by God, to SING, psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, when we’re assembled together. Do you think that the assembly on the first day of the week, should be exempt for some reason, from doing that? That doesn’t make sense, does it? No, we’re not exempt from singing to one another on the first day of the week in the worship assembly. And what else did God authorize and command us to do, in the way of music? Did He authorize playing a guitar, or a piano? Do we have any EXAMPLE of Christians doing this on the first day of the week, when they assembled together for worship?
NO command to do anything but sing. NO example of any Christian doing anything else. It’s not “inferred” anywhere, that we should be doing anything else. In other words, we cannot INFER that it’s necessary that we play an instrument, for us to be able to sing. We have no command, nor do we have any example, nor do we have any reason to think god has implied, that we should be involved in any other type of music when we assemble to worship Him, other than to SING, as we have been commanded to do. We all have voices. God gave us our voices, and we are commanded to raise our voices in song, when we come together. Are we LIMITED to singing ONLY when we assemble for worship? I wouldn’t see why we would be limited. Can’t Christians sing at any time that they find themselves together? The bible says to “rejoice always” 1 Thess 5:16. The command that says, “..teaching and admonishing one another with Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs”, didn’t limit us to only doing it in one particular place, or at any one particular time did it?
I’m going to show you another set of verses that are “parallel” to Col 3:16. By saying that it’s “parallel”, I mean that it’s synonymous, in other words, it says and means exactly the same thing. Take a look at Ephesians 5:17-19, “So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is… (There’s another implication. Doesn’t the command to know what the will of the Lord is, IMPLY that we need to study the word of God, so that we can learn His will?) …And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.. (to be “filled with the Spirit”, is exactly the same as saying “Let the word of Christ dwell richly within you”) ..Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, SINGING and making melody in your hearts to the Lord.”
God makes a contrast here between the physical and the spiritual. God said; “Do not get drunk with wine (that would mean “filled with wine”), but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, SINGING and making MELODY in your hearts to the Lord.”
Sing, and be joyous in your hearts toward the Lord! Making melody in your heart is to be joyous in your heart. And we need to be joyous toward God, because it’s God who “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing IN Christ”. Eph 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with EVERY spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, IN Christ”.
That beings up the example that I used earlier to explain what an inference is. If God has blessed us with EVERY spiritual blessing IN Christ, then by necessity, that implies that there are NO spiritual blessings OUTSIDE of Christ. In other words, if a person is not IN Christ, then he does not have even ONE spiritual blessing, because EVERY spiritual blessing is IN Christ. Doesn’t that make perfect sense? If every spiritual blessing is IN Christ, then there are NO spiritual blessings for those who are NOT in Christ.
And how does a person get IN Christ? Well, that brings us back to the question that we looked at in the PREVIOUS LESSON. Is a person condemned, simply because he has NOT been baptized. Would you say that salvation is a “spiritual blessing”? Obviously it’s a spiritual blessing, because it’s our SPIRIT that’s being saved. It’s not our physical body, it’s our spirit. So every spiritual blessing is IN Christ, right? That’s what the bible says. So then it becomes obvious that if EVERY spiritual blessing is IN Christ, then we had better BE in Christ if we want salvation. Isn’t that the only reasonable conclusion?
So how do we get INTO Christ?
We’re told by God, in Romans 6:3-4, “Or do you not know, that ALL of us who have been baptized INTO Christ, have been baptized into His death? Therefore, we have been “buried ‘with Him through baptism (that means that it’s at the point of baptism, that we are buried with Him), INTO death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead, through the glory of the Father, so we too, might walk in newness of life.”
We are BURIED with Jesus, INTO death, and INTO Christ, so that we can be raised up from that death, forgiven of our sins, and able to walk in newness of life, by following the commands of God. And those commands include, those things that are implied by God, which we by necessity, must infer to be true, and by those things that we learn to do from the examples that God has given us in His word.
Does the bible give us any other command, or any other example of how we can get into Christ? No it does not. Does God’s word IMPLY anywhere, that there is another way of getting into Christ? No it does not. There is only ONE way to get into Christ, and that is to be baptized into Him.
We’re told in Galatians 3:27, “For all of you who were baptized INTO Christ, have clothed yourself with Christ. What does that imply? It implies that if we have not been baptized into Christ, then we have not clothed ourselves with Christ. And V-29 says that when we do clothe ourselves with Christ, that we “belong to Christ”.
“And if you belong to Christ, THEN you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” V-29 And what does that imply? Well quite clearly it implies that if we haven’t been baptized into Christ, then we haven’t clothed ourselves with Christ, and as a result of what we have NOT done, we are NOT Abraham’s offspring, and we are NOT heirs according to promise. And therefore, we CANNOT be saved.
Do you understand how God can teach by implication, and necessary inference?
God teaches by implication just about as often as He teaches by command. Because it seems that with every command from God, there is an implication that goes along with it. And it becomes necessary that we recognize, and accept, that truth, that God has implied. That’s what necessary inference means. It means that we are obligated to RECOGNIZE the truth of God’s word.
I think it’s easier to recognize all the implications made by God’s word, than it is to understand how examples may apply to us. It’s pretty easy to see how an example of the apostles, or of the whole assembly of Christians can give us the AUTHORITY to do something. In other words, it’s OK to do that, if we choose to. But it’s a bit more difficult to understand, if these examples are not ONLY giving us PERMISSION to do something, but when they are also telling us that we MUST do these things, if we are to be pleasing to God. In other words, we need to be able to recognize when an example is just a binding upon us as a command is, if indeed some examples are binding to that degree.
Things are implied in our everyday life all the time. If we borrow money from the bank, and they tell us that our payment is due on the 10th of the month. It’s implied that another payment is due every month on the 10th. We don’t have to look at the loan papers to figure that out. If we go down the highway, and the speed limit sign says 70 mph, we infer that it’s Ok to go slower than 70. We know that we simply can’t go faster than 70. That speed limit sign implies as much. When there’s a limit to how slow you can go, there will be another sign telling us that we can’t travel on the interstate, below 40 mph for example. “Necessary inference” is not something “tricky” that someone has dreamed up just for understanding the bible.
God Teaches by Example
This article has been a bit lengthy, but it’s because there’s a lot to say about this topic of how God’s word teaches us His will. I want to cover some specific examples that are found in the bible, but those will have to wait until the next article. For now, please think about the things that I have shown you from the bible, and please read your bible and consider how God’s word instructs us. You’ll see how many of the examples given, apply to specific commands that have been given. And so these examples tend to reinforce our understanding of the commands.
I hope to see you next time as we take a close look at some examples of how God teaches us His will. May God Bless you in the study of His word.