All of Life

The entire worship life of the Old Testament has been radically refocused onto Jesus Himself and has become a radically spiritual thing, as opposed to an external thing. The external is still important, but now the spiritual is so radically pervasive that virtually all of external life, not just church life, is the expression of worship. “Present your bodies as living sacrifices which is your reasonable service of worship” (Romans 12:1). That’s all the time and everywhere. “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31): all the time, everywhere.

—John Piper, “Our High Priest is The Son of God Perfect Forever” (sermon, December 8, 1996)

Every Time and Place Holy to the Lord

The transition from worship under the old covenant to worship under the new is not characterized by a move from the formal to the spiritual, or from the cultus to the spiritual, or from the cultus to all of life. For it has always been necessary to love God wholly; it has always been necessary to recognize the sheer holiness and transcendent power and glory and goodness of God and to adore him for what He is.  So we insist that “all true worship is God centered.” The transition from worship under the old covenant to worship under the new is characterized by the covenantal stipulations and provisions of two respective covenants.

The way wholly loving God works out under the old covenant is in heartfelt obedience to the terms of that covenant and that includes the primary place given to the cultus with all its import and purpose in the stream of redemptive history; and the implications of this outworking include distinctions between the holy and the common, between holy space and common space, between holy time and common time, between holy food and common food.

The way wholly loving God works out under the new covenant is in heartfelt obedience to the terms of that covenant, and here the language of the cultus has been transmuted to all of life, with the implication, not so much of a desacralization of space and time and food, as with a sacralization of all space and all time and all food. [1 Corinthians 10:31]

—D. A. Carson, Worship by the Book, 40

Whole-Life Worship

Sacred times and places are superseded by the eschatological public activity of those who at all times and in all places stand “before the face of Christ” and from this position before God make the everyday round of so-called secular life into the arena of the unlimited and unceasing glorification of the divine will. At this point the doctrines of worship and Christian “ethics” converge. This shows conclusively that the total Christian community with all its members is the bearer of this worship and that not only sacred functions but also cultically privileged persons lose their right to exist. The universal priesthood of all believers, called forth and manifested in the whole range of its activity, now appears as the eschatological worship of God which puts an end to every other cultus. The harshness of this finding certainly seems to contradict the fact that in this passage [Romans 12:1] Paul deliberately and in no way fortuitously employs cultic terminology and, in particular, the language of sacrifice. But in reality it is precisely this which demonstrates the  radical nature of the shift which has taken place here; so far from there being any room left for cultic thinking, the use of cultic terminology becomes itself the means of making clear, through a paradox, the extent of the upheaval. In the eschatological age there is no longer anything “profane,” except what man himself renders profane or demonic: but similarly there is nothing holy in the cultic sense except the community of the holy people and their self-abandonment in the service of the Lord to whom the world and all its dominions belong.

—Ernst Käsemann, “Worship and Everyday Life: A Note on Romans 12” in New Testament Questions of Today, 191-2

Worship in Romans (33)

[Romans 12:1]

Take me, body and soul, and make me the instrument of Your glory in the world. Let the renewal You are working from within show on the outside. This is my spiritual worship. To show the world that You are my all-satisfying treasure. . . .

“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16) All of life is the outshining of what you truly value and cherish and treasure. Therefore all of life is worship. Either of God, or of something else.

—John Piper, “All of Life as Worship” (Romans 12:1-2), sermon 11/30/97