Sunday, July 10, 2011

the whole of life

From Gary Parrett's 9.5 Theses on Worship, thesis 1; Our heavenly Father wills that the whole life of believers should be worship.

Jesus made clear, in John 4, that worship is not an activity limited to certain places or times. Rather, worship is the 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, vocation of all believers. God is Spirit-unbounded by constraints of time or space—and thus his worshipers must worship him everywhere and at all times (John 4:23-24).

Furthermore, that which God requires he powerfully provides for. For with his reference to an hour that is at once both "coming" and "now here" (v. 23, ESV), Jesus presents a theme central to John's Gospel: The Holy Spirit would soon be poured upon all believers, and would permanently indwell us (see John 7:39 and 14:16-17), making us living temples of the living God.

Any discussion of worship, then, must begin with the biblical concern for worship as lifestyle, not merely as a formal gathering that features specifically "religious" actions. This is a theme consistently affirmed, in most forceful language, throughout the Bible. In passages such as Isaiah 1:10-17 and Amos 5:21-24, God actually rejects the very worship practices that he had himself commanded of his people—assemblies, sacrifices, Sabbath observances, prayers, and the like—because these actions had been severed from a more fundamental commitment to lives of justice, mercy, and humility (Mic. 6:8). Religious actions at religious gatherings of the community were not intended to be substitutes for a life devoted to the true worship of God but, rather, were to be its celebratory overflow.

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