The First Move

Christian worship is our affirmative, transforming response to the self- revelation of God. . . . We are not seeking to find or to know an obscure, frightening being who needs to be placated. God makes and continues to make the first move, showing himself in power and in love, inviting our response. In fact, worship is any and every affirmative response to God.

—Don Hustad, in Jubilate II: Church Music in Worship and Renewal

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Worship in Romans (28)

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

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

God’s Initiative

Throughout the Bible it is assumed that the initiative in true worship is God’s.

Christian worship is also human action. The human action is altogether secondary, being made possible by, and responding to, the action of God.

—C. E. B. Cranfield, “Divine and Human Action: The Biblical Concept of Worship,”  Interpretation, vol. xii number 4 (October, 1958)

Giving Thanks (3): “Saying Grace”

We receive God’s Grace through the Word and we return to God in thanksgiving the Grace that we have received through the Word.  Grace (eucharis) is what we receive.  Thanksgiving (eucharistia) is the Grace that we give back to the Father.

—David W. Torrance, “The Word of God in Worship,” Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology 1 (1983):11-16