Categories
Christian Living

Immerse Yourself in the Bible

Meditate On God’s Word by Reading a Passage Over and Over

I advocate reading the Bible every day. To make the most out of it requires a plan, such as reading through the Bible in the year. I do this often, but sometimes I want to slow down and focus on a specific text. It’s an issue of quantity versus quality.

To meditate on God’s Word requires taking time and pursuing a quality approach over a quantity mindset. One way to do this is to read a passage over and over. This can occur in one sitting, or, even better, over multiple days. This is how we can immerse ourselves in the Bible.

1 John

I’ve been doing this with the book of 1 John for the past few weeks. Each time I go through John’s letter, I gain new insight. Often, I see something that seems so obvious and wonder why I never noticed it before. Such is the case with immersing myself in 1 John.

First John is a delightful book in the Bible that most people don't give enough attention to. Click To Tweet

So many people revere the gospel of John, and I’m surprised their affection for the apostle’s words don’t carry over to his three letters in the Bible. I hope to change that.

First John, I’m discovering, is a delightful book that most people don’t give enough attention to. It has many parallels with the gospel of John, which I covered in my book Living Water.

Love One Another

Now I’m working on the follow-up book, Love One Another, that covers 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John. I’m really excited about the insights I’m seeing and can’t wait to share them with you.

As I immerse myself in the Bible—as I immerse myself in this passage of Scripture—I rely on the Holy Spirit for guidance, which is another technique to meditate on the Bible.

I have my outline done for the book and have begun writing. You can follow my progress on my Coming Soon page. And, of course, once I publish the book, you’ll find it on my Books page. Look for Love One Another.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Christian Living

Meditating on God’s Word

Our Actions Are Birthed Through Our Thoughts

It’s essential to read the Bible, but beyond that we should also study Scripture. Even more important, however, is meditating on God’s Word. This is because when we meditate on what the Bible says, it changes what we think about, which affects what we do.

Read the Bible

As followers of Jesus, we learn more about him and how to be his disciples through Scripture. By reading the Bible we get a glimpse into the life of Jesus to see what he said and what he did. Then we can emulate his actions and obey his teachings to become more Christlike.

Study Scripture

Reading the Bible is a great start. I do it every day and encourage everyone to do with as well. Yet beyond reading God’s holy word is to examine it. We should study Scripture.

In the Old Testament we see Ezra devoting himself to studying the law, that is the Jewish Scripture—the Old Testament of the Bible—specifically the Torah, the first five books of the Bible (Ezra 7:10).

In the New Testament, Jesus commends the Jews for their diligent study of the scriptures, which testify about him (John 5:39). Today we have both the Old and New Testaments for us to read and study so we can learn more about Jesus—and about God.

Meditating on God’s Word changes what we think about, which affects what we do. Click To Tweet

Meditate on God’s Word

Studying scripture is a rewarding endeavor, but we must make sure we don’t do it to amass knowledge but to inform our understanding of God. Paul warns the church in Corinth to pursue love over knowledge, saying that knowledge puffs up (1 Corinthians 8:1).

Though the context of Paul’s instruction is about food sacrificed to idols, his warning to not allow ourselves to become proud over our knowledge is a warning we should all heed. We don’t want to take pride in our knowledge about the Bible, to become puffed up by what we know.

Instead, we should take the next step and meditate on it. We should hide God’s Word in our hearts (Psalm 119:11). We do this as we read, study, and meditate on the Bible.

Studying Scripture puts the Bible’s words in our minds; meditating on God’s Word puts it in our hearts. This is where it needs to be; this is where it must be if we are to apply what we read in the Bible to what we do and say.

Drive Our Actions

As we meditate on the Bible—as we hide God’s Word in our hearts—the desired outcome is that we won’t sin against God (Psalm 119:11). Though meditating on God’s Word won’t make us sinless, it will help us to sin less.

This is because what we put into our minds influences what comes out of our mouths and what our body does. Meditating on God’s Word changes what we think about, which affects what we do.

The old computer saying is GIGO—garbage in garbage out. What we enter into a computer is what we can expect to get out of it.

The same is true in our lives. If we fill our minds with junk—with the thoughts of the world, evil, and ideas contrary to the Word of God—that’s what we can expect our minds and our bodies to produce.

Yet if we fill our mind with the thoughts of God, by meditating on God’s Word, we can expect a positive and God-honoring result.

May it be so.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Christian Living

Live for Today

Celebrate the Past, Anticipate the Future, and Embrace the Present

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8). Yet most people only celebrate what he has done or anticipate what he will do. They fail to see what he is doing now. That’s why we must live for today.

Yesterday

The Bible records what God has done in the past. We read these accounts and celebrate what he has done, of him saving his people from danger and rescuing them from their enemies. We take comfort knowing that our all-powerful (omniscient) God loves us and cares for us.

In the same way we celebrate what he has done for us in our past, of his provision and protection. Through our dark moments he was there. When we didn’t think we could go on, he walked with us. And for those times when the situations of life weighed us down, he lifted us up.

We praise God for what he has done as revealed in Scripture and as experienced in our own lives.

Tomorrow

The Bible also records what God promises to do in the future. We look forward to eternity with him in heaven. Yet we also anticipate his provisions for what he will do for us while we’re still here on earth.

Just as people in the Bible placed their hope in their Lord, we do as well. In the same way that he has cared for and protected us in the past, he’ll do so in the future.

Today

A friend once lamented about an elder in our church, “He’s so heavenly minded, that he’s no earthly good.” [Though this hails from Johnny Cash’s 1977 song “No Earthly Good,” it goes back much further to Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr about a century earlier.]

In being so future focused, like this church elder, we can forget the wonder of the present and fail to live in the moment of today.

Just as we can celebrate what God has done for us in the past, we can also wallow in sorrow over our mistakes and missed opportunities. While we want to learn from the past, we shouldn’t let it hold us captive to any shame we might have over what we once did.

Scripture Tells Us to Not Dwell on the Past

Paul writes to the church in Philippi to forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead (Philippians 3:13). Paul also tells the church in Corinth, reminding them that in Jesus we are a new creation. The old is gone, and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Much earlier in the Bible, God tells Isaiah and his people to forget what was and don’t dwell in the past. This is because he’s doing a new thing (Isaiah 43:18-19).

Embrace Today

We need to embrace each new day for the potential it provides. An inspiring quote attributed to Charles E. Dederich, a reformed alcoholic, is “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”

I understand that Alcoholics Anonymous follows this sentiment. Though I don’t drink and never have, I often begin each day with the perspective that fresh potential awaits me.

Some mornings, before I even open my eyes, I encourage myself for the day ahead with the reminder that, “Today is the first day of the rest of my life.” It sets in motion what happens next.

What we did yesterday—be it good or bad—is in the past. Today presents a new opportunity for us to embrace. Click To Tweet

What I did yesterday—be it good or bad—is in the past. Today presents a new opportunity for me to embrace. I shouldn’t coast on my accomplishments of yesterday anymore then I should be held captive by my disappointments.

Though God’s greatest gift is eternal life through Jesus, another amazing gift is the gift of today. With God’s help, may we strive to seize the day and make the most of it.

Live for today.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Christian Living

Hold on to Every Thought

Make Our Thoughts Obedient to Jesus

Paul tells the church in Corinth to capture every thought and make it obedient to Jesus. Likewise, Proverbs advises us to guard our thoughts (Proverbs 4:23). (Some translations say to guard our hearts, putting a different twist on the same concept).

This is often hard to do—but not impossible.

Though I’m still working on it, my solution is to distract myself from wayward thoughts. When I remember to do this, they usually dissipate quickly. My distractions take two forms:

Quote the Bible

The first verse that comes to mind is in James: “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). This is good advice to follow, but when I cite it, I end up focusing on what I’m trying to escape. It doesn’t help me control my every thought.

Instead, my go to verse is from Revelation: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come” (Revelation 4:8). This passage places my focus on God, praising him, worshiping him, and acknowledging his eternal existence.” The enemy doesn’t like that.

I end up reciting this verse just about every day, often multiple times.

The key to holding every thought captive is remembering to pray. Click To Tweet

Pray

Another way I distract myself from wrong thinking is to pray. The enemy doesn’t like that either. However, I don’t pray that I’ll stop thinking wrong thoughts or for strength to hold them captive; that also focuses my attention on what I’m trying to escape. Instead I pray for someone else.

Just as I have one predetermined verse, I have one predetermined person who I will automatically pray for when wrong thoughts beckon. This keeps me from wasting time, trying to determine who I should pray for and gets me to the praying part quickly.

Capturing every thought and subjecting it to Jesus is usually quite easy when I remember to cite scripture or pray. The key is remembering to do so.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is 2 Corinthians 10-13, and today’s post is on 2 Corinthians 10:5.]

Read more in Peter’s book, Love is Patient (book 7 in the Dear Theophilus series).

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Christian Living

Don’t Let Our Labels Divide Us

May We Be One in Jesus and Ignore What Could Separate Us

We live in a divisive time, with one group opposing another, often in the most zealous of ways, sometimes even with violent outcomes. As a society, we’re quick to put people in a box and label them according to some aspect of their life.

Though these labels are sometimes convenient, and at times even appropriate, more often they divide us and cause unnecessary conflict and needless opposition.

These divisions, however, don’t just appear in secular spaces. They also appear in the religious realm. We put labels on people of faith and use these identifiers to decide who we align with and who we oppose. And to our discredit, we do this in the name of God.

Here are some ways that we let labels divide us as people of faith and followers of Jesus:

Divided by Denomination

First, we divide ourselves by denomination, in both a generic and a specific sense. First, we segregate Christianity into three primary streams: Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant.

Each group knows little about the other, often denigrating them over wrong assumptions and misunderstandings. Yet we all have Jesus in common. This should be enough to unite us and be one in him.

Within Protestantism, we see many more divisions with 42,000 Protestant denominations who distrust each other, criticize one another, and resort to name-calling for no good reason other than to make us feel smugly superior.

This is to our discredit. These manmade divisions take us far from the unity that Jesus prayed for and marginalize our witness for Jesus.

Divided by Theology

Next, we use the labels of our theology to separate us. We elevate our point of view—which we think is correct—and diminish our fellow brothers and sisters—who we perceive as being in error.

With academic vigor, we pursue a right theology. In the process, we overlook the importance of having a right relationship with God. Our connection with the Almighty, through Jesus, is what matters most.

Our theological labels don’t matter. In most cases, our theology wrongly judges one another and causes needless division. It generates suspicion and breeds mistrust. Instead of formulating tenuous theological constructs, we should focus on placing our trust in Jesus.

Divided by Politics

We also let our political views, which carry their own set of labels, influence our theology.

In the United States—and perhaps in the rest of the world too—we see well-meaning followers of Jesus who align with one political party, vilifying their brothers and sisters in Christ who belong to the opposite party.

I’ve heard each side lambaste the other, saying how can someone be a (enter party affiliation) and be a Christian?

Divided by Church Practice

Making an even a finer distinction on our theology, we place labels on our church practices, too, often with fervent passion. Some churches are known as being high churches, which implies the rest are low churches.

There are liturgical churches and non-liturgical churches. Some church gatherings place their focus on the practice of Holy Communion and others emphasizethe sermon.

Then there are musical styles, ranging from traditional to contemporary. We also debate pews versus chairs, women in ministry, and the “proper” way too be saved through Jesus.

Divided by Membership

Beyond that, we divide ourselves by membership status. For some churches—perhaps most—this is an essential consideration. Members are in, and nonmembers are out, be it effectively or legalistically.

But membership in a denomination or local church isn’t biblical. It opposes the Scriptural teaching that as followers of Jesus we are members united in one body, which is the universal church.

The Solution to Labels

It’s time we end our categorization of each other and stop our needless squabbles over secondary issues and disputes that don’t matter to God. Instead it’s time we embrace one another and love one another, just as Jesus told us to do.

We need to live in unity.

It's time we embrace one another and love one another, just as Jesus told us to do. Click To Tweet

Then we can come closer to being united as one, just as Jesus and the Father are one.

It’s time we embrace one another and love one another, just as Jesus told us to do.

Read more about this in Peter’s new book, Jesus’s Broken Church, available in e-book, audiobook, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Christian Living

Are You a Sunday Morning Spectator or Performer?

Church Services Have become an Event, With Consumers Who Come to Watch a Show

Today’s churches contain two types of people. And each of us fits in one category or the other. We are either performers or spectators.

If this seems callous, consider that we live in an entertainment-centered society. We watch TV, go to movies, and attend performances. We go to the game, attend a concert, and watch videos online.

What do these have in common? Each example has performers to entertain us in one way or the other. The masses are spectators, mere consumers of the event. Though we may participate in a way, our involvement is limited to clapping, cheering, or fist-bumping the spectator next to us.

Church is no different. We are spectators there for entertainment, be it emotionally or intellectually, by the performers. The masses consume the church service.

Yes, we may sing along with a couple songs (though many people stand mute during the singing), mumble out a heartfelt “amen” upon occasion, or shake hands with our seatmate during the compulsory greeting time. But the service structure restricts our involvement.

We’re there for the sermon, that is, the lecture, and for the worship set, that is, the concert. And when it’s over we often critique the performance.

Performers

The performers at a church service are the people who stand in front of us, often on a stage. The elevation allows the spectators a better view.

The star of the show is the minister, who gives the lecture and may also serve as the event’s MC. The opening act is the worship team, consisting of singers and musicians.

If this description offends you, consider that most churches don’t select a senior minister or teaching pastor until after they have auditioned and delivered a stirring oratory.

People with spiritual insight but no speaking ability have no place in the modern church. And usually the worship team members must try out before they can sing or play. People with musical passion but not enough skill are turned away and relegated to spectator status.

Yes, we expect our performers to excel in presentation, and if they falter, they are replaced. After all, we don’t want a lack of excellence to mar the performance and drive away the spectators who have a plethora of other Sunday morning performances to select from.

Remember, we live in a consumeristic society.

Spectators

The majority of people at church services are spectators. We sit and passively watch the performance. Though we can view the elevated stage to witness the event, we may best see the back of the head of the person sitting in front of us.

We come. We watch. We leave.

Maybe we leave happy over a satisfactory performance, but maybe we leave unfulfilled, as empty as when we arrived. We wanted community but got a show.

We are church service spectators, watching a performance and consuming carefully presented spiritual content. At best we experience an event that may sustain us until we repeat it next week.

We are church service spectators, watching a performance and consuming spiritual content. Click To Tweet

Move from Spectate to Participate

The solution is to break down the wall between performer and spectator. Church shouldn’t focus on providing a performance but on offering community by letting everyone participate equally in the service.

We should all be able to share with others during our church services. Or at least have the opportunity to share. Paul tells us how. “When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation,” (1 Corinthians 14:26, NIV).

When we start doing this in our church services, we will eliminate both the performers and the spectators, turning us all into full-fledged participants. Then we will build a true community of Jesus followers.

It will change everything.

Read more about this in Peter’s new book, Jesus’s Broken Church, available in e-book, audiobook, paperback, and hardcover.

Read more in Peter’s book, Love is Patient (book 7 in the Dear Theophilus series).

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Christian Living

What Is Sanctification?

We Are Sanctified in Jesus and by the Holy Spirit

I don’t often use the word sanctification, but I should. It sounds too much like a theological construct that someone made up to explain God. Yet it’s in the Bible. So is sanctify. Therefore, it’s worthwhile for us to understand and embrace its meaning.

Let’s look at sanctification, the act of sanctifying. By definition, sanctify is to set apart, refine, or make holy. A related word is consecrate, which means to declare or set apart as sacred. Though they sound synonymous, and the dictionary uses one in the definition of the other, we need to make a distinction.

Consecration

The word consecration appears a few times in the Old Testament, but it’s root word, consecrate, occurs many more times throughout the Bible, though mostly in the Old Testament.

The main context for consecrate is for people to set someone or something apart for God or for religious service. This includes consecrating priests, God’s people, clothes, offerings, bread, animals, the temple, and temple furnishings.

Sanctification

The word sanctification occurs less often and is not in all translations of the Bible. Sanctification—along with sanctify—is a New Testament word. Whereas consecration is something that God commands his people to do, sanctification is something that God does in us. He sets us apart and makes us holy. We can’t sanctify ourselves; God does.

Sanctification is being made holy and set apart for God’s purpose. Click To Tweet

The Amplified Bible explains sanctification as “being made holy and set apart for God’s purpose” (Romans 6:22). This is a most helpful illumination. Therefore, it’s a process of God making us—his children—right and therefore ready to carry out his intentions.

In Jesus and by the Holy Spirit

The Bible makes it clear that we are sanctified in Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:2) and by the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:16). Both occur in 1 Corinthians 6:11. To realize that sanctification comes through Jesus and by the Holy Spirit, it makes sense that the word only appears in the New Testament.

When we follow Jesus as his disciples, we are sanctified in him and by the Holy Spirit to be set apart and made holy for our Lord’s purpose.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Christian Living

Make a U-Turn to Follow Jesus

Discover the Key to Be Saved and Inherit Eternal Life

In the Bible, when people seek Jesus to be saved and have eternal life, he gives them different instructions. This is perplexing. Let’s dig into it. The most common direction he gives them is to “follow me” (Luke 5:27). That is, we must follow Jesus.

Other times Jesus adds the precursor to repent. To repent is to make a U-turn with our life. We make a U-turn to follow Jesus.

When we make a U-turn in our life, we stop moving in one direction and change course to head in a different direction. This is a good illustration of what it means to repent. When it comes to eternal life, we change directions to follow Jesus. It’s that simple.

But what about those times when Jesus tells people to do other things as a prerequisite to following him? For some he said to give away their money. To others he said to change their ways or persevere or obey God. Then there’s the command to take up their cross and follow him.

Do we need to do all these things to receive eternal life through Jesus? It’s an exhausting list if we heap all these requirements together.

Yet each of these instructions was to a particular person or group. It’s specifically how Jesus instructed them to make a U-turn in their lives. The direction they were going was taking them away from him—not toward him.

He needed them to change course so they could follow him. They needed to make a U-turn to follow Jesus.

To continue our understanding of repenting as making a U-turn with our life, know that it’s not about reaching a destination. Instead, it’s that initial act of heading in a different direction. That’s what it means to repent.

We must make a U-turn with our lives and follow Jesus to be saved and inherit eternal life. Click To Tweet

We repent and follow Jesus to be saved and inherit eternal life. This means we don’t need to do anything else; we can’t do anything else to earn our salvation.

We don’t need to follow a bunch of rules or check off things on a lengthy to-do list. All other religions carry the expectations of a performance-based solution.

Christianity does not—even though too many Christians wrongly pursue their faith as a performance-based religion. In Christianity, however, we are saved by grace, through faith and it’s not something we must work for to earn (Ephesians 2:8-9).

All we need to do is to make a U-turn to follow Jesus. Everything else is secondary.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Christian Living

How Do We Worship God?

Discover How to Reframe Worship from a Biblical Perspective

What do you think of when you hear the word worship? How do we worship God? What does worshiping our Lord mean?

Worship Service

Many churches refer to their Sunday morning meeting time as “worship” or “worship service.” This is how they list it on their church calendar, online, and in their printed materials, such as a bulletin or newsletter.

This suggests that we go to church to worship God. We do it one hour each week. This implies the other 167 hours a week are non-worship time. We do other things the rest of the week, which implicitly emerges as the time when we’re not worshiping God.

Worship Set

Despite calling the entire service “worship,” most people dismiss the sermon as actual worship and focus on the other half of the service as worship. This is the time we hear music and sing to God. However, many of these songs aren’t in anthem to God, but for our benefit.

Since the worship set at most church services is a half-hour (or less), we effectively reduce our worship of God to a mere thirty minutes a week.

Worship Music

Some songs carry the title of worship music. Some radio stations focus on playing this format. And if we lack access to a station that plays worship songs, we can create our own worship music playlist. This means we can listen to worship music throughout the week.

But consider the lyrics of each song that we call worship music. Does it bring adoration to the Almighty? Or does it merely make us feel better? There’s nothing wrong with music that points us to God, but we need to guard against calling this worship music, because it doesn’t worship him.

Worship God by Giving Tithes and Offerings

Something I grew up hearing as a teenager in church, and which I still hear from time to time, is in the Sunday morning service when the minister says, “Now let us worship God by giving our tithes and offerings.”

Then they pass the offering plates to accept our donations. To me this had little to do with worship and much about paying the church’s bills.

Though I don’t see in the Bible any place that directly ties donating money with worship, we can embrace our financial support of the Lord’s work with worship, providing we do so with the right attitude (2 Corinthians 9:7).

These practices are good, but they fall short of answering the question, how do we worship God?

Biblical Answers to the Question of How Should We Worship God?

We’ve talked about the worship service, worship music, and giving as a form of worship. Is that all there is to worshiping God? No.

When it comes to the question “How do we worship God?” the Bible gives us much to consider:

Worship in Spirit and Truth

Jesus says that “true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth.” This is the kind of worship that God desires. Since he is a spirit, our best worship is in the Spirit—as in the Holy Spirit—and in truth (John 4:23-24, NIV).

I’m still working on unpacking this passage, but what I do know is that few church services promote true worship today.

Worship through Stillness

In the Bible, our Lord says to “be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10, NIV). He wants us to push away all else and to be still. He doesn’t want us to do anything.

Quiet. No music. No activity. No physical display of worship. Just the silent stillness of connecting with him in the spiritual sense.

This is a tangible way to worship God in Spirit and truth. In practice our stillness can focus on worshiping God by meditating on Scripture and listening to the Holy Spirit’s promptings.

Worship through Obedience

In contrast to stillness, doing what God says is also a form of worship, but in this case it’s physical. We obey what Jesus says in the Bible, and we obey what the Holy Spirit tells us to do. We don’t obey God to get his attention. Instead, our obedience is a response to what he’s already done for us.

We worship him through our obedience (consider Daniel 7:27).

Worship by Doing Good

Paul writes that women should worship God through their good deeds (1 Timothy 2:8-10). I see no reason why this just applies to ladies. We should all worship God by doing good and helping others in need.

Worship By Being a Living Sacrifice

In the Old Testament, Scripture connects offering animal sacrifices with worship. Since Jesus fulfills the Old Testament law with his once-and-forever sacrifice when he dies for us on the cross, the New Testament doesn’t connect sacrifice with worship going forward. Or does it?

Paul urges the church in Rome to offer their bodies as a living sacrifice. He calls this true and proper worship (Romans 12:1). This living sacrifice isn’t, however, to earn their salvation; they already have that. It’s more to confirm their right standing with God who saved them.

This idea of true worship, however, doesn’t start with Paul. Recall that Jesus mentions it first when he says that true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24).

How Do We Worship God?

Worship goes beyond the Sunday service, the music we sing, and the offering.

As we consider what the Bible says about worship, we see it as an all-encompassing mindset that could carry us throughout the week and that is not just an hour or so on Sunday mornings.

So then, how do we worship God?

  • We worship God in the Spirit and in truth.
  • We worship God through stillness.
  • We worship God through obedience.
  • We worship God by doing good.
  • We worship God by being a living sacrifice.
We can worship God in all things and at all times. Click To Tweet

In short, we can—and we should—worship God in all things and at all times.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Bridging the Sacred-Secular Divide: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Christian Living

Do We Need to Obey God?

Doing What the Bible Says Isn’t a Requirement but a Response

In the post about how to be saved we realized there’s nothing we need to do (or can do) to earn our salvation; it’s a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8-9). This means we don’t need to first obey God before he accepts us. He accepts us through no merit of our own. We just need to receive his goodness—his grace—through faith. It’s that simple.

But Don’t Abuse God’s Grace

In a spiritual sense, grace means receiving something from God that we don’t deserve. Just as we don’t deserve salvation, we don’t deserve his love either. We don’t need to obey God for him to love us. He loves us—despite ourselves and our actions—and he always has and always will. He loved us when we were still disobedient, still sinners.

He loved us so much that Jesus died in our place (Romans 5:8). And nothing can cause him to withdraw his love from us (Romans 8:38-39). It’s another example of God’s endless grace.

If we don’t need to obey God for him to love us or to save us, does that mean we can continue to live in disobedience to him? To continue to sin? Of course not.

 Paul writes, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:1-2, NIV).

Work Out Our Salvation

In another place Paul writes that we are to continue to work out our salvation  (Philippians 2:12-13). He doesn’t say we need to work for our salvation, but to work it out. It’s something we do after he saves us, not before, as in a prerequisite.

This means that we choose to obey God as a response to him loving us and saving us. The Bible calls this sanctification. And we’ll spend our whole life doing it, moving ourselves closer to God as we obey him.

We don’t have to do this, to work out our salvation by obeying him. But we should want to. He has, after all, given us the greatest present of all, the gift of eternal life with him.

We choose to live a life of obedience to God, not because we have to but because we want to. Click To Tweet

Obey God

We don’t need to obey God as a requirement to be saved. Instead, once we follow him and receive eternal life our response of gratitude is to obey God. It’s how we say thank you to him for the gift of salvation he gave us.

We choose to live a life of obedience to God, not because we have to but because we want to.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Exit mobile version