Grace Enacted

The sacramental actions of the church—baptism and the Lord’s Supper—are concrete, tangible, and visible means by which the church takes the very stuff of creation, water, bread, and cup, and in response to the invitation and command of Christ reenacts the wonder of the gospel. In so doing, the material creation is a means by which God’s grace is known.

Gordon T. Smith, A Holy Meal: The Lord’s Supper in the Life of the Church, 28

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Worship in Romans (39)

The opening chapters of Paul’s letter to the Romans illustrates how Jews and Gentiles have failed in their own distinctive ways to reverence and serve God acceptably (note especially Rom. 1:21-23). The refusal to glorify God as God has its consequence in every form of wickedness, abuse, hypocrisy and injustice in human relationships.

Yet Paul’s exposition of the work of Christ and its consequences (Rom. 3:21–11:36) shows how God has acted to transform this disastrous situation. Now it is possible for all to engage with God in a new way, on the basis of Christ’s sacrifice, and to offer the worship that is pleasing to him (Rom. 12:1).

—David Peterson, “Worship in the New Testament,” in Worship: Adoration and Action, 58

 

Worship in Romans (36)

“For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy.” (Romans 15:8-9)

And what was the aim of God in this overflow of mercy for the nations?

The aim was worship. Romans 15:9: “In order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.” Notice: It’s not just that the Gentiles might receive God’s mercy or simply experience God’s mercy, but that they glorify God for His mercy. The aim of the gospel among the nations is not man-centered. Paul does not say, “Christ became a servant in order that the Gentiles might receive mercy.” He says, “Christ became a servant in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for receiving mercy.”

The ultimate aim of the gospel is God — God glorified for His mercy. Don’t fall short of the ultimate aim when you preach the gospel. Don’t just offer people mercy. Offer them the greatest gift: a merciful God, and that God glorified for His mercy. Human beings were made finally for God, not mercy. Mercy is a means not an end. Savoring mercy is not the end, savoring God for His mercy is the end.

—John Piper, “Gospel Worship: Holy Ambition for All the Peoples to Praise Christ”

 

Worship in Romans (26)

God’s mercies, supremely expressed in the saving work of Jesus Christ, the gift of His Spirit, His perseverance with faithless Israel, and His gracious offer of salvation to the Gentiles (Romans 1-11), call forth the response of grateful obedience, with all the implications outlined in Romans 12-16. Paul’s ethic is theologically grounded and theologically motivated. Christian obedience is an expression of gratitude for the blessings received from believing the gospel. ‘God has redeemed us, therefore let us serve [worship] Him!’ (O. O’Donovan)

—David Peterson, “Worship and Ethics in Romans 12,” Tyndale Bulletin 44.2 (1993):280

Worship in Romans (25)

Behind Romans 9-11 stand the first eight chapters, where ‘the reality of the mercy of God is never far from Paul’s thought’. [C.E.B. Cranfield] It is as if all God’s merciful deeds, expounded so far in the letter, make their own appeal in Paul’s exhortation. The invitation to join in the praise of God (11:33-6) leads to the challenge for his readers to respond to the mercies of God with the offering of their ‘bodies’ as a living sacrifice. The ‘therefore’ in Romans 12:1 is to be given its full force.

—David Peterson, “Worship and Ethics in Romans 12,” Tyndale Bulletin 44.2 (1993):280

Worship in Romans (24)

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