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Why Does God Command Worship?

June 29, 2013

Why Does God Command Worship?
By Jake Loofbourrow

God is the perfect and holy, all-powerful, all-knowing, infinite, self-existent source of all that exists outside of himself, we are indebted to him for our continued existence and he is, therefore, uniquely qualified and justified to make demands upon his creation.

For Jealousy.
The Lord commands our worship because He is a jealous God. This jealousy is not an outrageous over reaction nor is it born of fear or insecurity.  Rather God’s jealousy does not tolerate any who pretend rivalry; he is the fierce avenger of any that depart from him.

God is jealous for us just as a husband is jealous for his wife and will go to great lengths to keep her from illegitimate suitors. God knows that He is the sole source and standard for all that is right and he is the sole source of life for everything that lives. Man, by worshiping something other than God is submitting himself to something that is insufficient and unworthy even corrupt. Such worship only breeds corruption and deficiency in the worshiper. God, in love, therefore, commands that we worship Him because He knows that He is the only thing in existence that is sufficiently worthy of worship.  God also commands our worship because he is jealous for his own glory.  Just as it would be wrong to praise a photographer for painting a painting he only photographed so to when we worship something other than God we are attributing his glory and good works to something that is not truly the source of that glory. Paul says in Romans one that God has made himself and his glory known to all of mankind so that we are without excuse. Thus our rendering of praise to something other than him is dishonest. The Lord has made us for himself and he is worthy of all praise. For us to treat his glory and goodness with less reverence than it deserves is sin. It is the epitome of narcissism; the undue worship of oneself.

For Wrath and Salvation.
Finally the command to worship (which is the essence of the Mosaic Law) was given to us that we might be held accountable for our sin unto condemnation and (for God’s elect) then eligible for salvation by grace through faith in Christ unto the glory of God. This was Paul’s point in Galatians 3:

“…those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.”  So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” …But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing…”

“…Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised.

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