“Wrestling With Romans”
Spiritual Worship (Chapter 12 Verses 3-8)
This new community of believers (vv3-8), as Paul has already indicated, are a Spirit-led people (Romans 8.14). That is a people who abandon themselves to God. There was a time in their lives when they abandoned themselves to other leaders, and were led astray into sin and idolatry (1Corinthians 12.2), they never questioned it. To get the full enjoyment out of sin, they allowed themselves to be carried away by its power. Now this worship that Paul, and Jesus (John 4.24), speak of, is something beyond ourselves, it is only possible as we yield, abandon ourselves to the power greater than ourselves, the power of God in the Holy Spirit. It is only as the Spirit is continually out-poured upon us as a community, and we in our own spirits are taken up in a conscious adoration of Jesus, that worship is properly known, and exercised. Worship doesn’t consist or exist in a cool, calm, withdrawn self-containment. There is extravagance in true worship, think of God’s extravagance in spending his own Son for us (Romans 8.32). It’s a sacrificial giving of yourself to God, who is sublimely higher than anything, or anyone (Luke 7.36-38; v47; John 12.3; Revelation 4.6-11; Revelation 5.11-14). This worship, in Spirit and truth (John 4.24), leads to an abandonment of the inner self, yet subjected to, and controlled by the Spirit, to the point where we are taken up, borne into the Presence, where in pure enjoyment and ecstasy, we delight in our glorious union with Jesus. Yes, to the point of self-forgetfulness. If you are self, or other person conscious you are not worshipping. In true worship you are conscious of only one person – God.
We are not talking about demonstrable emotionalism, though emotion is involved, but it is in the Spirit of purity and holiness, we are talking about the sublime heights of spirituality. It is for this we were created. This is the highest height of human glory. To achieve such worship, there must be full human cooperation with the Holy Spirit’s leading. You can see from this surely how it is impossible for a non-Christian, a person without the Holy Spirit to worship God, totally impossible! A living sacrifice (v1)? Is that a description of you? If talking and singing about heaven and its joy, if worship and adoration of God are tedious now, it won’t change after death. If we are to be ceaseless worshippers of God in heaven (Revelation 4.8b), some of us need a lot more practice down here. Calvary’s mercy demands it (v1)!
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1997)