Worship in Romans (12)

1:25: They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creation rather than the Creator . . . for this reason God handed them over . . .

1:28: As they did not see fit to take cognizance of God, God handed them over . . .

These verses show that the prior, non-moral but religious or theological, fall consisted in a rejection of the knowledge of God, an idolatrous turning from the Creator to the creature. This is what the main passage, 1:18-23, says; and this (in Paul’s view) is the fall, not the consequence of it. Man was surrounded by the handiwork of God, his infinitely beneficent Creator, who established him as lord over all his surroundings. But having tasted dominion he sought to be free even of God, and to extend his lordship upwards as well as outwards. He thus refused to glorify God as his Lord, and to give thanks to Him as the giver of all good things. This inordinate pride, the perversion of a lordship that God himself had created for man, was accompanied by the loss of man’s knowledge of God, and idolatry; that is, man’s subordination to the creatures he should have ruled.

—C. K. Barrett, From First Adam to Last: A Study in Pauline Theology, 19

Advertisements

Worship in Romans (7)

Paul’s account of man’s wickedness [Romans 1] has been deliberately stated in terms of the Biblical narrative of Adam’s fall.

—M. D. Hooker, “Adam in Romans I,” New Testament Studies 6 (1960), 301

Worship in Romans

The theological counterpoint to the opening chapter of Romans, with its emphasis on illicit worship and the moral degradation brought about by idolatry, is Romans 12. Whereas in Romans 1 we are given a picture of illegitimate worship that leads to the moral breakdown of every kind of social relationship, in Romans 12 we are given a picture of the integrating effects of true worship, in which the whole of the new covenant community delivered from the power of the idols and brought out from under the wrath of God which such idolatry merits – expresses its worship through love. p. 185  

—Noel Due, Created For Worship:  From Genesis to Revelation to You, 185

Hymns with Purpose

May all who use these hymns experience, at all times, the blessed effects of complying with the Apostle Paul’s injunction (Eph. 5:18, 19), “Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Yea, may they anticipate, while here below, though in a humble and imperfect strain, the song of the blessed above, who, being redeemed out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation, and having washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, are standing before the throne, and singing in perfect harmony with the many angels about it (Rev. 5:9-12 and 7:9-14), “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing, for ever and ever. Amen!”

Moravian Hymnal (1789)

Seeing in the Spirit

A friend of mine led a tour last year to the seven churches of the book of Revelation.  I said, “Did you go to the island of Patmos?” “No,” he said, “I asked the people about going to Patmos, and they said, ‘It would take you a day to get there, and a day to get back, and when you get to Patmos you don’t see anything.’” And I thought to myself, “Tell that one to the Apostle John.”

But, you know, that’s church, isn’t it? That’s worship. It’s possible to be in the building and to see nothing. [John was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day,” Revelation 1:10]

—Sinclair Ferguson, “The Church’s Worship” (audio message)

Do it again!

Now, to put the matter (the idea that repetition inherently leads to boredom) in a popular phrase, it might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising.  His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life. The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged.

They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony.

It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.

—G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy: The Romance of Faith, 60

Ascension 6

TODAY IS ASCENSION DAY!

He has raised our human nature in the clouds to God’s right hand;
There we sit in heavenly places, there with Him in glory stand:
Jesus reigns, adored by angels; man with God is on the throne;
Mighty Lord, in Thine ascension we by faith behold our own.

—Hymn: “See the Conqueror Mounts in Triumph” (Christopher Wordsworth; can be sung to the tune Austrian Hymn)