Worshiping God by affirming God’s worthiness flies in the face of the Fall. In the Fall, humans got hung up on our “self-worth.” We wanted the status God had. [Romans 1:21; Genesis 3:5] We failed to perceive our proper place in the created order, and so we threw that order out of alignment.
In the first book of the Bible, Adam and Eve say to God, “We are worthy.” In the last book of the Bible, the elders say to God, “You are worthy.” God is back in God’s appropriate place, we are in ours, and the cosmos is right again. In a way, our public worship each week is an exercise in this eternal act of putting God in God’s proper place. Michael Lindvall describes worship as “weekly practice at not being God.”
—Nathan Bierma, “Worshipful Service,” Perspectives Journal June 2006
God is jealous for His own honor and He rightly seeks His own honor. He says, “I the Lord your God am a jealous God” (Ex. 20:5) and “My glory I will not give to another” (Is. 48:11). Something within us should tremble and rejoice at this fact. We should tremble with fear lest we rob God’s glory from Him. And we should rejoice that it is right that God seek His own honor and be jealous for His own honor, for He, infinitely more than anything He has made, is worthy of honor. The twenty-four elders in heaven feel this reverence and joy, for they fall down before God’s throne and cast their crowns before him singing, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they existed and were created” (Rev. 4:11). When we feel the absolute rightness of this deep within ourselves we then have the appropriate heart attitude for genuine worship.
—Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, 1005
Worship is an active response to God whereby we declare His worth. Worship is not passive, but is participative. Worship is not simply a mood; it is a response. Worship is not just a feeling; it is a declaration. . . . It is the celebration of God!
—Ronald Allen & Gordon Borror, Worship: Rediscovering the Missing Jewel, 16,18
The first step towards forming sound ideals of worship is to get clear as to its essential nature. So we start by asking: what is worship? The history of the word gives us our answer. The noun ‘worship’ is a contraction of ‘worthship’ (Anglo-Saxon, ‘weorthscipe’). Used as a verb, it means ‘to ascribe worth’, or to acknowledge value. To worship God is to make recognition of His ‘worth’, or ‘worthyness’; to look God-ward, and acknowledge in all appropriate ways the value of what you see. The Bible calls this activity ‘glorifying God’, ‘giving glory to God’, and views it as the ultimate end and, from one point of view, the whole duty of man. ‘Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name’ (Psalms 29:2; 96:6). ‘Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God’ (1 Corinthians 10:31).
—J.I. Packer, Tomorrow’s Worship, 5