The Spiritual Disciplines: Worship (Part 2)

By Peter Amsterdam

May 20, 2014

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God Is Worthy!

In this second article about the Spiritual Discipline of worship, I’ve included some biblical concepts which may be helpful to you in your times of worship.

The following passages address various aspects of God, which may help you to meditate on why He deserves our worship and love. They are not in any specific order, and each section is meant to stand on its own rather than flowing from section to section. There are also many other aspects of God and His nature which cause us to praise Him, which you can discover through your own reading and study of His Word.

I have summarized much of what is written here from Wayne Grudem’s book Systematic Theology,[1] in which he covers, among other things, the nature and character of God. (For expanded explanations of some of these topics, see The Heart of it All: The Nature and Character of Godseries.) My prayer is that as you read these compiled passages, they will provide helpful examples of scriptural concepts to focus on during your times of worship.

God’s Greatness

God is infinite, while we are finite beings, and therefore He is infinitely greater than we are. We are unable to fully understand the greatness of God, as it can never be fully known. His understanding is beyond measure, and His ways and thoughts are so much higher than ours. His riches, wisdom, knowledge, and judgments are unsearchable and unfathomable; as such, they are all beyond our ability to fully understand.

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable.[2] Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; His understanding is beyond measure.[3] For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.[4] Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty? It is higher than heaven—what can you do? Deeper than Sheol—what can you know? Its measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea.[5] Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever.[6]

When Job was speaking of God’s great acts in creating the world, he said that these acts were only a whisper of His power, the mere edges or fringes of His ways. “Behold, these are but the outskirts of His ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?”[7]

As finite beings, we will never be able to fully understand all of God’s ways or His greatness, neither will we ever know all that God knows. This helps us to realize that God alone is God; He will always be infinitely greater than we are, and as part of His creation we owe Him worship and adoration.

Knowing God

We will never know all that God is, or all He knows and does. However, He has made Himself known to us in such a way that we know God Himself and have entered into relationship with Him.

Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”[8] And this is eternal life, that they know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.[9] And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.[10]

God is both infinite and personal, therefore we’re not limited to only knowing facts about God—we know Him personally and are in personal relationship with Him. While He has no limitations whatsoever, and is far greater than everything that exists, He is also a personal being who interacts with us personally and whom we can relate to as a person. We speak to Him and He speaks to us. We commune with Him, He interacts with us, answers our prayers, and dwells within us.[11] We have this relationship with God because of the gift of salvation given to us through Jesus’ death and resurrection, one of the most important reasons we should worship God.

Seeing God

Scripture makes it clear that God is Spirit and cannot be seen by humans. No one has ever seen Him, meaning His true essence and all that He is. While He has shown Himself at various times in a visible form, known as a theophany, no one has ever seen Him as He is.

He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion.[12] No one has ever seen God.[13]

But while no human has seen God, Jesus—God the Son—has both seen the Father and has made Him known.

Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me—not that anyone has seen the Father except He who is from God; He has seen the Father.[14] No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, He has made Him known.[15] Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father.[16]

In “seeing” Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, God the Son, we see the Father. We “see” Jesus within the pages of Scripture. We hear the words He spoke, His teaching; we see His interaction with others, the love, mercy, compassion, wisdom, power, and oneness with the Father that He had. Jesus was God walking on earth, and in Him we see the visible image of the invisible God. He existed with the Father before anything was created, and through His incarnation we understand what God is like.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent. For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.[17]

God revealed Himself in His Son, who came to earth to walk among us, and in so doing made it possible for us to enter into an eternal relationship with God. Because of the free gift of salvation, we will have the privilege and the great joy of seeing Him face to face. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.[18] Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is.[19]No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His servants will worship Him. They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.[20]

God has made Himself known in His Son, and in Him we see the Father. The time will come when we will see God. All of this is possible because Jesus sacrificed His life for us, which makes Him and His Father worthy of our worship.

God’s Knowledge

Scripture tells us that God is perfect in knowledge and knows everything, and therefore He is omniscient or all-knowing.

Do you know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of Him who is perfect in knowledge?[21] God is greater than our heart, and He knows everything.[22]

God knows all things actual, meaning He knows all things that exist and all things that happen. There is nothing hidden from Him in creation.

And no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.[23] For He looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.[24] Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.[25]

God also knows the future, everything that will happen. I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, “My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all My purpose.”[26] He knows our actions and thoughts, He knows what we’ll say before we say it, and He knows how long we will live even before we are born. O Lord, You have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.[27] Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in Your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.[28]

Truthful and Faithful

All of God’s knowledge and words are true and are the standard of truth. He is the true God, the real God, and anything else that people may consider to be God is false. 

The Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure His indignation. Thus shall you say to them: “The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.”[29] And this is eternal life, that they know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.[30] And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.[31]

Everything God knows and thinks is true, and is the correct understanding of reality. He is never mistaken in His perception or understanding of the world, and He is perfect in knowledge.[32] God always speaks the truth; He cannot lie.[33] Because God doesn’t lie, He can be trusted and is always faithful, He always does what He has promised, and we can depend on Him to never be unfaithful to His promises.

The Rock, His work is perfect, for all His ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is He.[34] God is not man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not fulfill it?[35]

Our God is true and faithful, and we can always trust Him. He deserves our worship.

His Power

God is omnipotent, meaning all-powerful. He is able to do all of His holy will. He has the power to do what He decides to do.

Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for Me?[36] It is You who have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for You.[37] Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.[38]

The Lord is called the Almighty: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”[39] The Greek word used for Almighty is pantokrator (pronounced pan-tok-rat'-or), which means He who holds sway over all things; the ruler of all. The power of the Almighty is infinite. He is not limited in what He can do, and He is able to do even more than what He has already done. For example, we are told that God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.[40]That was within His power, though He didn’t do it. Our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.[41]

Nothing is impossible for God. Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”[42]God can even choose to become incarnate, to be born of a virgin, and redeem humanity; which, in fact, He did.

And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. For nothing will be impossible with God.”[43]

God’s unlimited power made it possible for us to receive salvation, something we should constantly worship Him for.

The Sustainer

God not only created the world, but He sustains it, as all of creation is dependent on Him for its existence and its functioning.

In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.[44] He Himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything … for “In Him we live and move and have our being.”[45]

Scripture tells us that all things were created through Christ and that He holds all of creation together; He upholds the universe.

For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.[46] He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power.[47]

The universe and all that is in it continues on as we know it because God is our sustainer, and for this He is worthy of our worship.

Redeemer and Savior

God is our Savior and Redeemer. Through His plan of salvation, we who are unworthy have received His grace and mercy.

I am the LORD your Savior, and your Redeemer.[48] When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.[49] Being made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.[50] He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.[51] God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.[52]

Because of God’s love, mercy, compassion, and grace, we have entered into everlasting relationship with Him. We are redeemed, saved, adopted as His children. In our deep gratitude and love for this great privilege we should continually ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.[53]


Note

Unless otherwise indicated, all scriptures are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


[1] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Grand Rapids: InterVarsity Press, 2000).

[2] Psalm 145:3.

[3] Psalm 147:5.

[4] Isaiah 55:9.

[5] Job 11:7–9.

[6] Romans 11:33–34,36 NAS.

[7] Job 26:14.

[8] Jeremiah 9:23–24.

[9] John 17:3.

[10] 1 John 5:20.

[11] If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him (John 14:23).

[12] 1 Timothy 6:15–16.

[13] 1 John 4:12.

[14] John 6:45–46.

[15] John 1:18.

[16] John 14:9.

[17] Colossians 1:15–19.

[18] 1 Corinthians 13:12.

[19] 1 John 3:2.

[20] Revelation 22:3–4.

[21] Job 37:16.

[22] 1 John 3:20.

[23] Hebrews 4:13.

[24] Job 28:24.

[25] Matthew 10:29.

[26] Isaiah 46:9–10.

[27] Psalm 139:1–4.

[28] Psalm 139:16.

[29] Jeremiah 10:10–11.

[30] John 17:3.

[31] 1 John 5:20.

[32] Job 37:16.

[33] In the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago … (Titus 1:2 NAU).

[34] Deuteronomy 32:4.

[35] Numbers 23:19.

[36] Jeremiah 32:27.

[37] Jeremiah 32:17.

[38] Ephesians 3:20.

[39] Revelation 1:8.

[40] Matthew 3:9 NAS.

[41] Psalm 115:3 NAU.

[42] Matthew 19:26.

[43] Luke 1:34–35, 37.

[44] Job 12:10.

[45] Acts 17:25, 28.

[46] Colossians 1:16–17.

[47] Hebrews 1:3.

[48] Isaiah 49:26.

[49] Galatians 4:4–5.

[50] Hebrews 5:9.

[51] Colossians 1:13–14.

[52] Romans 5:8–11.

[53] Psalm 29:2.

 

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