I wanted to respond to Dana's blog but got so long winded that I decided to post it on my blog. Talking about worshiping in truth and spirit.
John is talking about a genuine worship of God, true and honest; a worship that is not for show, not to please others, not a worship of the presenter or the earthly writer of the lesson, not based on the height of an emotional experience, or dramatic experience but a true love of God and a desire to please God which brings us to the part of obedience. Our salvation is based on our obedience and our attitude to God’s instructions in the scriptures. Not just for a moment but for our lifetime. Having done the things asked of me to do, am I saved at this moment in my life today this very minute? Yes, thanks to God’s grace. Did I deserve it? No, not according to anything I did outside of my obedience. When did God save me? At what moment did God add my name to his book? Why do we ask these things? Time is a concept for man, not for God. God is adding my name AS I obey. Am I finished obeying? I am in the process of obeying but have not completed my obedience until I die. I will continue as I age, and as I grow in Christ. Why do we complicate the idea? Imagine our lives are a twinkle of time to God and as we are living our lives and obeying God he is writing our names in his book. When we identified ourselves through baptism we began the process of obedience and God turned to a new page and dipped the quill in ink to begin to write and when I die he will be lifting the pen from the page completing the swirl of the last letter in my name.
Using a primary math concept as an example, when did one plus one become two?
When I finished adding them up or was it always two?
When one item stands with the second item they are two together, separately they are only two ones but grouped together they are a pair. But there has to be something that identifies it as a pair.
Baptism identifies us with Christ like the marriage ceremony identifies two people as one. It is a symbolic marking of a new life beginning in Christ, a commitment to Christ. Without baptism we have not identified ourselves with Christ.
When we stand for God, with God and do as God says we are counted among God’s.
I’m not sure if that concept makes sense but the point is we have to identify ourselves as God’s and he has given us the method to identify ourselves. If we pick and choose the things we want to do, are we truly God’s. I think not, because we did not surrender ourselves in obedience to his instructions but rather are being stubborn and willful in our rebelliousness to ignore his instructions. As long as we are obedience to the instructions laid out for us and continue to live a Godly life, we will always be subject to his grace.
The important thing is a life lived for Christ.
Several things are concerning me and one is that we get bogged down by the time issue and have to know exactly WHEN we are saved, like when does God put a soul in a baby. What difference does it make to me as long as I doing God's will. Our lives should be a continual worship of God, beginning with our belief in Christ and ending with our death or the beginning of our life WITH God in heaven. If we are interested in pleasing God we do as we are instructed without trying to complicate the issue, plain and simple. We are commanded to obey his instructions and I will do that as perfectly as I can. If God asked me to dip seven times in the Jordan then I will do that. We do as we are asked to do, willingly without questioning. Who are we to even question the instructions? Is it important how we do it? Sure is! We are to do it as perfectly as we know to do it. Leave out something? No way! Add something? No way!
We can build a physical house. If we follow the instructions, as closely as possible we will end up with a strong well-built house. BUT should we decide to start cutting corners and decide to save a little time and money we will make our concrete foundation thinner, leave out the rebar to save money, maybe we did not level the ground or build up the low areas, etc. So maybe we decide the instructions for building our house are not important. We space out the studs farther than the instructions say to do. Use inferior materials, etc. Then we have compromised our house. It is a house, by all outward appearances and it does fulfill the duties of the house for awhile as long as the storms do not come. Do you want to live in a house like this? I want to live in a solid well-built house. I do not want to place myself in a house in which I question whether or not my house will stand in a high wind. I want to KNOW that I did ALL I could to follow the instructions and did them as well as I could. In the midst of a storm did the little bit you saved on that house matter then? After you assess all the damages done after the storm the things you left out may seem more important in principle. Who am I to decide structurally what I should have done?
Often we think selfishly of our worship. We are concerned with what we are getting out of worship when actually we should be concerned with what we are putting into it. Maybe, it is a leap of faith on our part. If I quit focusing on me during worship and realize that our worship should focus on God then God will provide the things I need for my spiritual growth. In maturity, in the right attitude we should be able to grow spiritually in isolation or in the midst of a crowd. In any place it is still a one on one relationship, God and me. It is not where we are physically but rather where we are spiritually.
Trust God. God will give you growth if you allow it.
If you love me, you will obey what I command. John 14:15
It is my hope that I have spoken clearly and have not mudded the waters (no pun intended).