Worship in Reverence and Awe
By Michael Cloy
Who is the most famous person you have ever met? I remember meeting the wife of a seated President of the United States. When I approached her, I was purposefully respectful. I wanted to honor and respect her as the First Lady. Why did I honor her, especially since I did not vote for her husband? The simple answer is the Bible states we are to outdo one another in showing honor (Romans 12:10b). I also honored her because of the high office that her husband held. But most importantly, I wanted to honor her as a person made in God’s image.
The Bible has a lot to say about honor. For example, we are first to honor God (Revelation. 4:11), but we are also to honor our father and mother (Exodus. 20:12), the elderly (Leviticus. 19:32), rulers (1 Peter 2:17), church leaders (1 Timothy. 5:17), and others who serve Christ faithfully (Philippians 2:29). The purpose of honoring someone means to esteem and treat others with respect because of who they are or what they have done. Honor has a sense of value, price, or quality. That which is valued and esteemed is “honored.” The biblical use also means to seek to enhance the reputation of someone.
Expressions of honor might be communicated in a firm handshake and looking at the other person in the eye or even as simple as waiting to listen to what another person has to say and not interrupting them. Saying “thank you” and “you are welcome” and even “please” is a means to honor another person. Honoring or respecting has its origins with being made in the image of God. Each person has a fundamental value or worth because we have been created in the image of God. So God has told us we are to honor each other because we reflect God’s honor as human beings.
God also describes how we are to honor Him. The best way of honoring God is in reverential worship of him. Reverential worship means we approach God as He describes, so we respect His honorable character and do not offend Him. Listen to this description of God’s character and think of how high and majestic He is when we compare who we are to Him.
“There is only one living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection. He is a purest spirit, invisible, with neither body, parts, nor passions. He is unchangeable, boundless, eternal, and incomprehensible. He is almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, and most absolute. He works all things according to the counsel of His own unchangeable and most righteous will, for His own glory. He is most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin, and He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. He is also most just and terrifying in His judgments, hating all sin, and will by no means acquit the guilty. God has all life, glory, goodness, and blessedness in and of Himself.”
– Westminster Confession of Faith Modern English
Wow, imagine standing in the presence of the God of the Bible as just summarized above. If we were brought before God almighty, we would be in awe of Him. That awe is one of reverential fear. That reverential fear would be so real that our soul would be extremely aware of our sinfulness with respect to God’s holiness, much like Isaiah expressed in Isaiah 6:5 when he realized he was in the presence of God, “And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Isaiah experienced the awe of God and was immediately aware of his sinfulness, his smallness, and, therefore, his mortality. The good news is God sent His Son to intercede and to help us approach God almighty in proper respect and awe, so we honor God and not dishonor Him. His Son’s righteousness allows us to respectfully express how much we are in awe of God by being in awe of His Son, Christ Jesus. Hebrews 12: 28 summarizes our response to God’s awe when it states, “let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.”
At Landis Presbyterian, we reverently worship God. We approach God in awe. We then reverentially sing about God’s awesomeness. We humbly pray to God in awe because He is pleased to hear and answers our prayers. We listen to the awe of God’s revealed will in His scriptures through expository sermons. We participate in God’s awe, inspiring visible commitment to His people in the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The honor we bring in the worship of God is established upon the rich grace God the Father freely gives us. This grace creates peace in our souls, leading to reverent joy in the salvation that God the Son has secured for us, and God the Spirit has applied to us. In our worship, we” make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!” Psalm 100: 1-2
Do you desire to worship God in reverence and awe? We invite you to come and join us in the reverence and awe of God in public worship at Landis Presbyterian. You can contact me to discuss our order of worship or any other questions you might have regarding the Church. We look forward to meeting and honoring you as one of God’s image-bearers.
Mike Cloy is an Ordained Ruling Elder on the Session of Landis Presbyterian Chuch, OPC. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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