To make a confession of faith in Jesus as my Lord, as Christ, and as the Son of God (Matthew 16:15-16; Romans 10:9-10) is an essential component of becoming a Christian. But our confession of Jesus continues in multiple forms as our walk in the light proceeds. One of the avenues in which we continue to confess Jesus before fellow humans (Matthew 10:32) is in our congregational singing. Consider this powerful thought from Hebrews:
"Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks (confess) to His name.” (Hebrews 13:15)
Now I inserted the word “confess” in parentheses, because the original word is from the verb homologeo, which etymologically means “to say the same thing” and is most often translated as “confess.” Translators may have chosen “give thanks” here because of the direction of the fruit of the lips being heavenward as our singing is toward God. But there also exists the horizontal component of saying/singing the same words out loud with others as a common confession. Think of what happens when voices join together melodically to recite the words:
“A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing”
“Jesus is Lord, my Redeemer; how He loves me, how I love Him”
“The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want”
“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness"
These are confessional words. We are “saying the same thing” and doing so in a beautiful and memorable way through song, so that the words of confessing Jesus should be easily recalled in moments throughout the week when the validity of our confession of Him is tested. Every time we sing a psalm, hymn, or spiritual song, I am confessing faith to you and you are confessing faith to me. This passage from the psalms (also quoted in Romans 15:9) uses homologeo as well:
"I will give thanks (confess) to You among the nations, O Lord, And I will sing praises to Your name.” (Psalm 18:49)
The context this time is that we are even willing to make confession through song in the presence of “the nations” (or pagans/Gentiles). Isn’t this what Paul and Silas were willing to do even within a jail cell in Philippi - make confession of faith through song together, even in the presence of non-believers?
As you engage in communal worship the next time you gather with brothers and sisters, I hope you see our singing as a time to strengthen each other and provide testimony even to the non-believer who may be listening as we "together with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 15:6).
To His Glory,