It takes faith to worship

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Without faith it is impossible to please God.

“By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.” (Hebrews 11:4 ESV)

I wonder, how often do we think of faith being a requirement for worship? Emphasized are the use of instruments, lights, projector screens, liturgies and other things, but what about faith?

The concept of faith, to be sure, is by no means ignored. When facing a difficult circumstance, we are admonished to “keep the faith.” Prayer, we understand, is solicited from a heart that is full of faith; the apostle Paul speaks of a faith that can move mountains (1 Corinthians 13:2). He also notes, “The righteous shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17 ESV).

In the same letter to the Romans, Paul exhorts, “I 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” (12:1 ESV). Paul not only equates sacrifice with worship, but also our lives as a sacrifice. While we are living lives of faith, we are simultaneously presenting ourselves as sacrifices to God.

In much the same way, the sacrifice Abel presented to God was by faith. We are not only told that this offering was accepted, but that he was also commended. Abel’s authentic faith is still speaking to us by the example of pleasing worship he leaves behind.

Yes, worshipping God does require faith. The foremost reason I would solicit is that one has to believe God exists in order to worship him. Hebrews 11:6 offers this commentary: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (NIV).

The faith that is required to offer pleasing worship to the Lord is somewhat narrow. It is not an arbitrary belief in one God, but in how he has revealed himself in the Holy Scriptures. First John 5:9-12 states:

If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (ESV)

Jesus rightly says of himself, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 ESV). Hebrews 10:19-20 adds, ” . . . we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body” (NIV). 

Our ability to worship is based on the testimony and work of Christ. We receive the grace to worship God acceptably by the Holy Spirit (John 4:24, Philippians 3:3).

While I am making somewhat of an appeal to orthodoxy, believing the right thing is not sufficient in itself, and cannot be called worship. In the case of Abel, the faith that he exercised, prompting his offering, was what was commended.

Our belief in the one true God should produce heartfelt worship; not just songs or extravagant offerings, but lives promoting the glory of God. In times when we do sing, though, let it not be said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Matthew 15:8 NIV). Let us, rather, aspire to attain the testimony of Abel, who was “commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings” (Heb. 11:4 ESV).

 

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~ by christianballenger on November 30, 2015.

One Response to “It takes faith to worship”

  1. I’m a new brand new blogger. Glad I found another Christian blogger.

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