As Christians, we praise and honor God the Father and God the Son. People are created to worship God. Tragically, because of the disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, we have become self-centered. We have become the idols of our own worship. We worship ourselves. By the power of God and through the grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we can be freed from our self-centeredness and self-worship.
Sounds of redemption
The ultimate goal of God in creating the world and in saving sinners is to demonstrate the glory of His grace (cf. Ephesians 1:5-6). As Christians, we are called to praise God for the grace He has shown in His Son Jesus.
When we tell each other about the redemptive work of God in Christ – His death on the cross as atoning sacrifice, His resurrection as triumph over sin, death, devil and hell – we produce the sounds of redemption. We praise God for what He has done. This is something we need to constantly keep in mind. We are not properly able to praise and honor God if we don’t recognize that He is the One who saves us.
As believers in Jesus, we are not called to praise our own faith or obedience to God, but to praise the One we believe in and the One Who has perfectly obeyed His heavenly Father.
God is the aim of our worship
It is a great sadness to see that in churches battles are fought about the form of worship. Thus, perhaps unconsciously, we have made ourselves the ultimate aim of worship. We want things to be done our way. By doing that, we forget what God wants to be done and how it is to be done. Let us remember His works and let us do things His way. Worship, in essence, is giving back to God with every part of our lives what He in His grace has given to us.
But where should we start? First of all, we need to realize that our acts of worship are not to be done in order to earn favor from God. We don’t deserve forgiveness because we worship God. It’s the other way around – we worship God, because He has forgiven us in Christ.
Worship is a free act, done by freed people. Free in this sense means that it is no burden to worship. Believers are not bored by praising God. They are made free by the power of God’s grace through the saving work of Jesus Christ. Free in this sense, however, does not mean that believers are free in the way they worship God.
We must not draw the attention to ourselves. When we praise His glorious, redemptive work in Jesus Christ and when we live gospel-shaped lives marked by love through the Holy Spirit, our worship will be honorable obedience.
Let Jesus Christ be the Center of your praise and you will keep God at the Center of worship.
Sanctification as Christ-centered worship
All of life is worship. Therefore, it is not only important what we say about God and that we praise His glorious grace. The things we do are important as well. The grace of God gives us strength to become more like Jesus Christ. This is what the Bible calls sanctification or holiness.
By describing worship as Christ-centered and sanctification as being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ we are discovering a glorious mystery – namely, that we honor God by displaying the fruit of His greatest Gift – His only begotten Son. In worship, we reflect Christ in a spiritual sense. We take Christ’s redemptive work as the focus of our praise and we reflect His character through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.
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