What does it mean to worship God in Spirit and in truth?
To worship God in Spirit and in truth is to worship God by the new and living way established in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. It is worship to the Father that is done with the Spirit and with a belief in the finished work of the cross.
I know that the above answer is a mouthful so let’s break it down a little bit.
To worship God in truth
It is constantly mentioned or referred to throughout the New Testament. Jesus even calls Himself “the way and the truth” (John 14:6).
So what is this way that the new testament is attempting to reveal to us?
It is the way in which we have access to God. It is the way that we can now worship Him.
When Paul was brought before the council after his arrest in Jerusalem, he said, “according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets” (Acts 24:14).
Paul essentially said, “according to the Way I worship God.”
We find the description of this “Way” found in Hebrews 10.
“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:19-22).
The Holiest mentioned in this passage is a reference to the Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies was a place in the Old Testament Temple that was behind a very thick curtain called the veil. In the Holy of Holies was where the presence of God dwelt. (Leviticus 16:2)
No one could enter the Holy of Holies except the high priest once per year and that was only to offer up a sacrificial lamb for the sins of himself and the whole nation of Israel. (Exodus 30:10)
But now, after Jesus rose from the dead, He has entered the Holy of Holies that is in Heaven and has sprinkled His blood on the mercy seat and He became the sacrificial lamb, the offering for sin, once and for all. (Hebrews 9:11-12)
In the process of Him doing this, the Bible says that the veil that separated us from God’s presence was torn from top to bottom. (Matthew 27:51)
In other words, He died and rose from the grave so that we can now enter before God’s presence without a sense of guilt, condemnation, or the stain of sin, and worship Him.
This is why the Bible is so confident when it refers to our ability to stand before God. It says that we are to “draw near with full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:22) and that we are to “come boldly before the throne of Grace” (Hebrews 4:16). The writers were confident because Jesus so settled the issue of sin and our separation from the Father that it isn’t even an issue anymore! Praise God!
So in short, to worship God in truth is to worship Him from the perspective that your sin and separation has been settled through the cross and resurrection of Jesus.
To worship God in Spirit
As you can see to worship God in truth is to worship the Father through Jesus Christ. In other words, we worship the Father with the belief in what Christ accomplished on the cross. So to worship in Spirit is to worship with the Spirit of God understanding that He is always with us, assisting us in our worship.
Consider this passage.
“And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.” (Ephesians 2:17-18)
Notice the passage above says we have access to the Father through Christ, by the Spirit. The “through Him” is the “worship in truth” side, and the “by one Spirit” is the “worship in Spirit” side.
Consider one more passage.
“Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and take pride in Christ Jesus” (Phillipians 3:2)
The true circumcision in this passage is referring to the fact that true believers are circumcised in the heart and not of the flesh (Romans 2:29). We can only receive the circumcision of the heart through believing in the finished work of Christ and following Him.
Immediately after Paul mentions truth he mentions worship in the Spirit. Because the only way to worship God is through His Son, and by His Spirit (Ephesians 2:17-18). There is no other way.
In the next section we are going to cover some practical steps on how to do this.
How to worship God in Spirit and in truth (5 Helpful Tips)
Understand & believe what Jesus did through His death and resurrection
As we explained in the above section, Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave so that we can now come before God with the realization that sin has forever been settled and that He has given us of His Spirit so that we can worship Him.
We must understand and fully believe this.
If we neglect to get persuaded in these facts then we will struggle to have confidence before God.
You see the truth is, the amount of confidence you have to come before God is directly correlated with how convinced you are that you have a right to do so. If you are beating yourself up and condemning yourself over something that the cross has settled, you’re beating a dead horse.
Instead, repent quickly, then become fully convinced in the work that Jesus did. Sin is no longer issue and the Spirit of His Son is in you crying out Abba Father! (Galations 4:6)
Understand God is a Person
God is a Person. He has a mind, will, emotions, thoughts, and desires. And this Person wants to know you. He wants you and Him to be close.
God went to great lengths to get you back to Him. So much so that Jesus came to earth as a Man to suffer the most unjustified death ever. All so that you can have a relationship with Him again.
It is important to understand that God is a Person and He loves us. Becasue without understanding this first, we cannot love Him back (1 John 4:19)
Come before God with sincerity
The Bible makes it clear that God doesn’t just want our lips or our service, He wants our hearts.
“You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy about you, by saying: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me. ‘And in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ” (Matthew 15:7-9)
The last thing we want is to come to God with our hearts fixed on all the wrong things as our mouth keeps moving. Jesus called this hypocrisy and He said it is worship done in vain.
Lets be a people that is transfixed by God’s goodness and love as we worship Him. If this is our motive and focus we’ll never speak out of routine and hypocrisy.
Spend time worshipping God
So far I covered tips that had to do with issues of the heart and understanding, but now I am going to cover practical things.
If we want to worship God in Sprit and in truth then we need to take time to worship God.
I know that this is obvious but surprisingly people don’t do it. I think some people just believe that it is a perspective that you have concerning God and His view of you.
Although this is true, it is only half the truth.
Yes, we must first believe what Christ did for us but then we must use this access He gave us and engage with the Father.
This is why He gave us the work of Christ (worship in truth) and the Holy Spirit (worship in Spirit) so that we can have both the right to come before God and the ability to come before God.
But if we only ever have the right to come before God but never use that right, then we are missing out on the blessing that Jesus paid such a high price for.
So I encourage you, take time every day, multiple times a day, to worship your Father in Heaven.
Worship God in tongues
My final tip is to worship the Father through speaking and singing in tongues.
An important fact to understand is praying in tongues is praying in the Spirit. Let me explain how I know this.
The apostle Paul commanded the entire Ephesian Church to pray in the Spirit at all times (Ephesians 6:18). Jude commanded the church to “build yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit” (Jude v.20). [Related article: Is Speaking in Tongues for Everyone? (Biblical Answer)]
What I want you to notice is these are two instances where these men of God used the term praying in the Spirit. Now let’s look at an example of what this looks like in the apostle Paul’s life, because he gives us an example.
“For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.” (1 Corinthian 14:14–15)
Notice Paul says that praying in tongues is the same as praying in the Spirit, and he even says that in his own personal life he would switch between praying with his understanding and praying with the Spirit. He did the same thing with his worship. He would worship through song with his understanding and with the Spirit. (Related article: Singing ing the Spirit: What it is & How to do it)
Now someone will read this and say, “Ya but the passage you quoted in 1 Corinthians refers to Paul’s spirit (lowercase s) and the other passages refer to the Holy Spirit (capital s).”
This is accurate. But have you read where Paul (the same writer to the Ephesians and to the Corinthians) says that “he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him” (1 Corinthians 6:17) and “the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
So when the apostle Paul prays with “his spirit” he is also praying with the Spirit of God.
In short, worshipping and praying to God in tongues is worshipping and praying in the Spirit, and it is a great tool to worship God in Spirit and in truth.
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