Saturday 26 March 2016

The Continuity of Reverence in Public Worship between the Old Testament and the New

When we hold the biblical principle of continuity between the two testaments, this unlocks a whole new world of meaning. For example worship continues between the Old Testament and the new but the administration is different. Listen to Malachi 1:6-8:

"A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ 7 By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the LORD’s table may be despised".

Reverence and the fear of the Lord in public worship is expected by the LORD in every time period. To imagine that reverence for the LORD can be dispensed with in the church is a fearful thing and such an unbiblical attitude is worthy of the LORD's chastisement. And yet how often I have sensed little idea of revering and honouring the LORD in Christian worship at times, in some church meetings over the years. Have you experienced that also? Listen to Hebrews 12:28-29 which demonstrates this continuity.

"Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire".

The Westminster Confession makes this point in the chapter "Of God's Covenant with Man":

7:6. Under the gospel, when Christ, the substance, was exhibited, the ordinances in which this covenant is dispensed are the preaching of the Word, and the administration of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper: which, though fewer in number, and administered with more simplicity, and less outward glory; yet, in them, it is held forth in more fullness, evidence, and spiritual efficacy, to all nations, both Jews and Gentiles; and is called the New Testament. There are not therefore two covenants of grace, differing in substance, but one and the same, under various dispensations [administrations].

We must pray for reverence and honouring of the LORD in public worship. This is an expected aspect of Christian public worship and it is one that is connected to our doctrine of God.

No comments: