My friends, we need to learn a little of a jealous concern for the glory of God, because this is what puts worship in its true context. And it’s so easy to be worshiping idols. Let me put one illustration of that into the whole context of worship. I overheard someone, some time ago now, coming out of a church service and saying to someone who was standing nearby, “Well, I didn’t get a thing out of that worship. Didn’t do anything for me!” And I heard the voice of a kindly and wise pastor saying, “I always thought that what mattered about worship was what God got out of it, not you and me.”And when we begin to have the test of worship what I get out of it, beloved, we are in the world of idol worship, and the idol is ourselves.
O for a passion for the glory of God!
—Eric Alexander, “Worship God! (Rev. 19:10)” (sermon)
The ugly and ghastly distortion of Satan’s whole appearance in Scripture is that he who was formed to honor and glorify and praise and worship God has begun to rob God of His worship and seek to deflect it to himself. Isn’t that what happens in the temptation of Jesus? “Now,” he says, “I will give you the kingdoms of this world if You will fall down and worship me.” Have you ever thought how extraordinary and horrendous that here an angel, created to worship this holy Being who created Himself the heavens and the earth, now comes and says to Him and says, “You come and bow down and worship me.” I tell you, there is something utterly grotesque about this, both in the Garden of Eden and in the temptation in Matthew 4.
But, my dear friends, there is something equally grotesque about a man or woman who devotes the faculties God has given them and the gifts God has bestowed upon them to bring worship to any other creature or object in the universe except to the living God.
—Eric Alexander, “Worship God! (Revelation 19:10)” (sermon)
What poor Adam could not see was that he already was as like God as ever a creature could be. . . . In his vain search to rise above his God-appointed station he succeeded only in bringing down the human race into sin. . . . Adam’s folly lay in believing he could ever rise higher than his human station. There is no higher station open to any creature.
—Nigel M. de S. Cameron, Complete in Christ, 110-111
The idea behind the command not to eat from one tree in the garden was really all about this question: Who will be at the center of the human creature’s world? Who is in charge? When Eve eats of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, she decides that the human creature will be at the center—will be in charge. And in that sense the serpent had told a half-truth: she did become like God, knowing good and evil as God knows it, insofar as the creature has assumed the right to apprehend and legislate morality as a god. In that sense, Genesis’ point is that we end up worshiping the creature rather than the Creator. This is the autonomy that manifests itself so clearly in a desire to be one’s own god.
—Dennis Okholm, Learning Theology through the Church’s Worship: An Introduction to Christian Belief, 140
Thankful self-offering to the true God in response to His mercies is reasonable, right-minded worship [Romans 12:1], in contrast to the topsy-turvy mentality that withholds thanksgiving and trades truth for a lie (1:21,25).
—Michael B. Thompson, “Romans 12.1–2 and Paul’s Vision for Worship” in A Vision for the Church, 125
The beginning of the second ‘half’ of Romans [12:1] amounts to a call to participate in the reversal of the downward spiral described at the beginning of the first ‘half.’
—Michael B. Thompson, “Romans 12.1–2 and Paul’s vision for Worship” in A Vision for the Church, 124
Worship terminology is reintroduced at this key point in Paul’s argument [Romans 12:1] to demonstrate how the problems created by humanity’s failure to worship and serve God appropriately (Romans 1–2) have been dealt with by God himself.
—David Peterson, “Worship and Ethics in Romans 12,” Tyndale Bulletin 44.2 (1993):278