WORSHIP – A Biblical Perspective
Failures and problems are not the final reality. Life will be marvelous and beautiful when we start to walk with God. Bible reveals the great plan of God for us. We are being invited to be in presence of God as his marvelous people. Apostle John writes about this as, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16). God has taken the initiative to bless us with life in its fullness. Our failures and shortcomings are not counted as barriers to realize this new life in Jesus Christ. God invites us to believe in what he had done for us and to experience this new life. God wants to restore true worship and thereby to realize the newness in our lives. True worship and new life are closely connected.
God Seeks True Worshippers
Jesus Christ taught that God seeks true worshippers. Bible clearly points out the basic essentials of true worship. True worship begins with an intimate relationship with God. They acknowledge God as the creator and redeemer. The clear difference between creator and creation is obvious to them. In true worship, we are delighting in God and submit ourselves to live for the eternal purpose of God.
Knowing God and worshipping God are two sides of the same coin. True worshippers devote themselves to know the purpose of God. This knowledge is highly transforming knowledge and orients us towards the life as God has designed.
In true worship, proper reconciliation evolves. Our relation with God matures and its effect will be reflected in our relationship with others. The very creation of human beings in the image of God necessitates deep relation with God to have life in fullness. As the image-bearers of God it is naturally required from us to reflect the very character of God by caring, sustaining and promoting life for all.
Our unique creation in the image of God is matched with a unique responsibility. As God’s image-bearers we are entrusted with divinely ordained duty. True worshippers acknowledging this truth make them available for the task of transformation. Our worship is closely connected to our life and character.
Whom to Worship
The cardinal truth of the Bible is that God created us in his image. All human beings are in the image of God. Our worth and dignity come from this truth. Since we are the only image-bearers in creation, human beings have an intense impulse for worship. But the great question is whom we need to worship? What are the essential qualities of the one who demands our worship? Human beings are the crown of creation. Therefore the one whom we worship must be above the creation- the one who created us in his image.
Bible reveals the qualities of God who demand our worship. He is creator, eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. The word ‘worship’ means the one who is worthy to receive worship. Only God deserves worship because he is the creator and redeemer of the entire creation. True worship is our proper response to the worthiness of God and recognizes that he alone is worthy to receive glory, honor, and power. True worship is grounded in the very character and attributes of God.
Transforming Power of Worship
Worship transforms us. Our worship has great power to shapes our worldview and character. What we worship will be clearly evident in our day to day life. Our relationship with life around us is deeply connected with our worship. Whom we worship mold our perspective, thinking, and action. This shapes us to view the wider world and interpret reality.
Since we are ‘image beings’ it is essential to have a clear knowledge of God. What truth we cherish of God will directly manifest in our thought and actions. Bible says that God created all out of his love. All creation is the manifestation of love. One who worships God must love the creation. Another nature of God is that God is the God of order. Everything he created is in proper order. This God-ordained order is a must for the survival of life. One who worships God must respect the order. God never allows anyone to manipulate the order for their self-interest. Our God-ordained duty is to respect, love, and serve all to attain the fullness of life. All deserve respect and love.
The Effect of Sin on Worship
God placed the first family in the Garden of Eden and they delighted in the perfection of the creation and were in communion with God. There was no need of an exhortation to worship. Their entire existence revolved around God who made them. But, sin that entered into the world due to human disobedience distorted the reality. They lost the glory and became victims of a distorted image. Instead of pure divine love, there emerged self-love. God-centeredness was replaced by self-centeredness’. This caused radical changes in the reality of worship. The image-bearers began to worship creatures and began to create objects to worship in their fanciful imagination. The infinite God became a finite, domesticated, and localized concept. Distorted concept of God destroys justice, righteousness, peace, and well being. Such worship fuels the self interest, self promotion and self exaltation.
Worship and Redemptive Action of God
The fall that happened through sin is not the last word. God takes initiative to redeem and restore them into proper relationship. Bible says sin made us slaves to wrong passions and prevented us from obeying the truth. But God in Jesus Christ redeems all and empower them to live as children of God. Those who believe in Jesus Christ can come out of the slavery of sin and enter into the family of God. Gospel is the heavenly invitation to regain the image and glory of God being children of God. Therefore the truth of redemption deepens the reality of true worship. We love God and fellow image-bearers of God’s family and become witness to the wider world for the glorious redemption and love of God.
Worship in Spirit and Truth
God wants the worship in spirit and truth. Bible promised that God will establish true worship through messiah-Jesus Christ. True worship is grounded in the word of God. It is focused on the purpose of God. By accepting the greatness and excellence of the creator we respond to him as his image-bearers in total obedience. True worship is with our whole being. It is not just for emotional satisfaction or parading our natural talents. Bible reveals what kind of worship God wants. One who worship must trust him fully and obey his words. Worship and obedience are inseparable elements of true worship. Since God takes initiative for true worship, he gives the Holy Spirit to the redeemed ones to worship God as God prescribes. True worshippers are attentive to the word of God to understand the will of God. And they will not be confirmed to the patterns of the world but make them available for constant transformation to envision the image of God.
Worship and Reconciliation
The ultimate purpose of God is reconciliation. True worship enables us to foster the right relationship with God and others. The transformed life enables us to have life-sustaining perspectives and actions. True worshippers thus engage in both adoration and action. They worship God with their whole being and at the same time dedicate themselves to God-given responsibilities to foster life in the world. Real worshippers are life promoters who stand for justice, peace, and righteousness. Bible speaks clearly on how children of God must behave and walk in the world. The redeemed ones celebrate the victory of God on the cross over sin, darkness, and death. They are praising and celebrating the mighty deeds of God and moving to the purpose of God. God welcomes all the redeemed ones into the family of God. When the world divides the people the love of God unites them. They accept all in the family of God as brothers and sisters where God is the father. It is the great reversal to the eternal purpose of God.
Almighty God, I thank you for creating me in your image and likeness. I realize that I am a unique creation with great purpose. Loving God I submit myself before you to live in the fullness of life. Wash me and sanctify me so that I can stand in your holy presence being your child. I believe that Jesus died to save me from the power of sin. I want to be a new creation in Christ and to live the new life for the glory of God. In the name of Jesus, I pray Amen.
Pr. Sunil M. Abraham, Bilaspur