In a previous post, we learned that God created us in His image; and because God exists in relationship, we are therefore created for relationships. We are to ground our identity in God as His image bearers and we are to glorify God and to love one another. A redeemed image bearer, whose identity is restored, is marked by his or her relationship with God, with others, and with God’s creation. With the new identity, we are free to worship God and to love others.
Romans 1: 21-23
21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
1 Cor 10:31
31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Cor 6: 19-20
19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
1 John 2: 15-17
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
After all that God has done for us and in us in Christ Jesus, there is only one appropriate response to His amazing grace. That response is Worship. Once our identity is restored, we can relate to God for who He really is: our creator God who has revealed Himself to us in His Word.
However, it is worth noting that even if God did not save us, He still deserves our worship because He is inherently worthy of all glory. We were created to image Him and to glorify Him, regardless of what He did or did not do for us.
The Westminster Catechism article 1 says this:
What is the chief end of man?
Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.
Worship means giving God all the glory that is due Him.
Worship means acknowledging that God is God, and everything else, including ourselves, is not.
Worship means trusting Him for who He says He is and for what He says He has done/will do.
Worship means trusting in His Word regardless of circumstances.
Worship means finding our satisfaction and fulfilment fully in God alone and not on other things.
Every human being is a worshipper. We were created to worship something. That’s why the opposite of ‘worshipping God’ is not ‘not worshipping God.’ The opposite of ‘worship’ is ‘idolatry.’ If we are not worshipping our creator God, we are worshipping God’s creation (Rom 1:18-23). We glorify God when we are not worshipping His creation. We give Him the most glory when we are clinging fast to who He is, what He has done, and what He is going to do, and living our lives believing and finding joy in them. We give Him the most glory when we say ‘no’ to idols and we say ‘yes’ to God and His promises.
John Piper is known to say this:
“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”
Therefore, Christians whose image/identity have been restored would respond to God in worship in this way (note: not a comprehensive list):
- They actively pray to communicate to our heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ, and Him alone.
- They believe fully that men do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out from the mouth of God (Matt 4:4). As a result, they delight in reading God’s Word, understanding and applying it in their lives.
- In their decision-making, they give priority to actions that are God-honouring and they strive to do the right thing despite its cost (Matt 16:24-26).
- They know fully that their lives are to be lived for God’s glory and they are actively seeking ways to do so (1 Cor 10:31). They consecrate every part of their bodies to be used by God in obedience to His Word. They do not seek to please themselves, but they seek to please God with all their strength (Romans 12:1).
- They refuse to live their lives controlled by the worldly idols (e.g., horoscope, feng shui, charms, lucky numbers, superstitions, etc), and they live day by day according to God’s blessings and promises (1 Tim 4:7; Deut 18:10-12; Lev 19:31; Col 2:18-23).
- They are fully aware of the snare of idolatries such as Money, Sex, and Power OR Possession, Pleasure, and Pride OR the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17). They are trusting and obeying God in those areas so that they are not enslaved by those idols.
- They know that possessions are good gifts from God (James 1:17) and they use money to love and pursue God, not the other way around (Matt 6:24).
- They give to God and His church generously and they use their possessions to serve others (2 Cor 8:1-15).
- They know that sex is a good gift from God and to be used within the right context of marriage.
- They are trusting in God in this area so as not to pursue sexual relationship outside of marriage (1 Cor 6:15-20).
- They strive to be sexually pure in word, deed, and thought (Psalms 119:9-11).
- They do not seek to be the first (Matt 20:26-28). They seek the best of others.
- They think of others highly than themselves (Phil 2:3-8).
- They strive to be the servants of others and they do not try to make a name for themselves (John 13: 14-15).
After taking time to explain God’s sovereignty, His justice and wrath against human’s rebellion, and His love and mercy in Jesus Christ, the first thing that Apostle Paul urged us to respond to God is this ..
1I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
The only appropriate response to the One, who has redeemed us, purchased us by the blood of His Son, and adopted us into His family, is to present every part of our being to be used as an instrument of the glorification of His name. Anything else would fall short.
- The Bottom Line on Idolatry (billvau.wordpress.com)
- The Marks of Spiritual Maturity
- The Marks of Spiritual Maturity – Identity