Why do we not have musical instruments?

“Why do we not have musical instruments?”

The simple answer to this question is that the church in the New Testament did not worship with instrumental music, and since we want to be like them, we do not worship with instrumental music.  Now, what does the New Testament say about worshipping God with music?  In Ephesians 5:19 we read, “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”  In Colossians 3:16 we read, “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.”  These two passages teach us to sing by “speaking to one another” and “teaching and admonishing one another.”  Instruments of music cannot speak and they cannot teach and admonish.  Now, if we do what God tells us to do, then we will sing and not play instruments.

We also need to understand what worship is about.  Worship is about God, not us.  Don’t get me wrong.  We are blessed when we worship God as God wants us to worship Him.  Jesus said in John 4:23-24 “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”  God is looking for people who will worship Him in spirit and truth.  What does this mean?  It means that we worship God having both the right attitude and the right actions.  The right attitude comes from conforming my heart to the kinds of attitudes God wants me to have in scripture.  The right actions comes from conforming my body to the kinds of actions God wants me to do in scripture.  Consider what Jesus said to the Pharisees about their empty/vain worship: “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:8-9).  We don’t want our worship to be empty, and so our attitude and our actions must both be right with God.

In Romans 10:1-4, Paul wrote: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”  There are many religious people in the world today who have a great zeal for God, but by doing things their way instead of God’s way, they seek to establish their own righteousness.  That is what we want to avoid.  We must submit ourselves to the righteousness of God which means respecting what Christ has said in His word.  This is true for morality, salvation, church organization, and worship.  When we seek to do things the way we want to do them instead of the way God wants to do them, we become self-righteous.  How much better is it to simply let Christ make us righteous through His gospel!  Paul wrote in Romans 1:16-17, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’” “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).