Saturday, August 11, 2012
Godfrey on Worship: part 3
In part 3, Godfrey outlines three Bible definitions of “worship." Note that I mostly refer to Church in capital C. Despite all the fractures of denomination, there still is one mother Church united under Christ's Name that can never be separated.
1. The whole Christian’s life is worship.
2. Our personal times with God in prayer and Scripture are worship.
3. Then, there is worship as a whole congregation. God intended for us to worship as Christ’s body.
This gets complicated as Christ’s body is so diverse. 1). Most worship wars occur in corporate worship. 2). Certain people feel like corporate worship is not necessary when it’s actually the most vital part of our existence as a Church.
Godfrey cites Hebrews 12:28-29 as critical to forming corporate worship: Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. He notes two aspects: we worship God’s character, and God’s character is supposed to cause awe and reverence.
We must worship God’s character. He is Triune: Father, Son, and Spirit. They are the same being and one God but each have separate roles in Creation and Redemption. We must not consider all the members of the Trinity as if they were the same. As a Trinity, God is a saving God. God the Father requires holiness and blood to pay for our sins. He sends Christ to fulfill God’s expectation. Christ lives a perfect life and dies on the cross, bearing God’s wrath for his elect. He also rises again and intercedes before the Father in heaven. The Holy Spirit then comes to live in all Christians so that they can be holy. Ultimately, he is a holy God. He graciously allows us to come and rest in his presence, but we must never forget to tremble when there.
How then should we respond to God? “Hebrews 12 not only specifies the character of God for us in worship, but it also clarifies the character of our response to God: our worship is to be characterized by thankfulness and awe. Especially in reaction to God’s saving work, we are to be thankful and filled with joy.” Notice that being in awe before God does not equal a sorrowful demeanor. It’s supposed to be pure joy and thankfulness. We should celebrate and use the many gifts God gave each of his elect to his Glory. We note Godfrey when we remember that joy does not always mean noise, and reverence does not always mean quiet. There must always be a balance of joy and fear.