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
Throughout the Bible it is emphasized that true worship is obedient worship. It is not the costliness of the equipment or the majesty of the surroundings or the dignity of the ceremonial or the beauty of the music or the elegance of the language that commends our worship to God, but simply its obedience.
—C. E. B. Cranfield, “Divine and Human Action,” Interpretation 12:4 (October, 1958):397
“This people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service,
But they remove their hearts far from Me,
And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote.” (Isaiah 29:13)
“For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you.'” (Jeremiah 7:22-23)
Take words with you and return to the LORD. Say to Him, “Take away all iniquity and receive us graciously, that we may present the fruit of our lips.” (Hosea 14:2)
With what shall I come to the LORD
And bow myself before the God on high?
Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, with yearling calves?
Does the LORD take delight in thousands of rams, in ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:6-8)
Faith expressing itself in obedience and adoration.
—David Peterson, Engaging with God: A Biblical Theology of Worship, 283