OUR ATTITUDE TO WORSHIP
Under the old covenant, the Jews offered their sacrifices to God every year for the cleansing and forgiveness of their sins. Under the new covenant, the redeemed Jews and Gentiles offer their sacrifices of praise and worship to God when they approach the Holy of Holies through the gate opened by God after the ‘Last Sacrifice’ – the sacrifice of God’s Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, offered for the redemption of mankind once for all (Heb.10:19-22).
Under the old covenant, the Jews would not dare to enter the Holy of Holies for fear of being put to death. Only the high-priest could enter this holy room and he did so only once a year on the Day of Atonement when he offered the sacrifice for his own and for the nation’s sins.
As God’s redeemed people, what should be our attitude when we enter into God’s holy presence to offer our sacrifices of praise and worship? Hebrews 10:17-23 gives us an insight into God’s expectation from His worshippers: an attitude of boldness, sincerity and steadfastness (unswerving faith).
“We can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place” ‘Therefore’ in verse 19 is preceded and followed by God’s promises and revelations in verses 17-18 and 20-21, which form the basis for our boldness.
We have four solid reasons for our boldness to enter God’s presence:
- God does not remember our sins (8:12 and10:17) – a promise.
- God does not need any more sacrifices for sin (10:18) – a promise and an assurance.
- God has opened a new and living way for us (10:20) – a revelation.
- We have a great High Priest over the house of God (10:21) – a revelation.
“Let us go right into the presence of God, with true (sincere) hearts fully trusting Him. For our evil consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean” (v.22). Simply being sincere is not enough. The basis for our sincerity is the full assurance of faith – assurance from God’s word that our evil consciences have been cleansed by the shed blood of Christ and therefore we can draw near to God.
“Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep His promise” (v.23). Our steadfast, unswerving hope is in God’s faithfulness and in His ability to keep His promises.
When we worship God with an attitude that reflects boldness, sincerity and steadfastness based on His promises, He is pleased with us and our worship is acceptable to Him. This strengthens our love relationship with God and fellow-believers.
Love and good deeds. The evidence of our right attitude when we worship God ought to be seen in our genuine love for one another as God’s redeemed children. There is a close link between our worship of the living and loving God and our relationship with one another as God’s redeemed people. The writer of Hebrews continues his exhortation in verse 24. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 13:15,16 says, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess His name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”
Encouraging one another. “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near” (v.25). When we neglect meeting for fellowship and worship, we give up encouraging and helping other Christians and thus reveal our wrong attitude to worship – an attitude that ignores God’s promises and expectations (Acts.2:42-47).
If an hour of my worship in the church on a Sunday is not translated into love and good deeds toward others through the week, then my worship is meaningless and unacceptable to God.