Worship in Spirit
As I promised in the "Spirit and Truth" blog post, this post will seek to explain what Jesus meant by the true worshipers worshiping in spirit. In John 4:23, Jesus says, "But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit AND truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him." That is the criteria set by Jesus himself on how we should worship. Interestingly, in verse 24 Jesus goes on, "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." So what does that mean for us?
It means to worship God, who is spirit, we must be born again. The best way to interpret this, I believe, is through the lense of John 3. In John 3, Jesus converses with a religious leader named Nicodemus. Jesus tells Nicodemus that in order to see the kingdom of God, he must be born again. Nicodemus does not understand. He imagines a second physical birth, whereas, Jesus is talking about a spiritual birth. Jesus says you must be born of the Spirit! You must have spiritual life beget by the Spirit of God in order to worship Someone who is spirit in spirit. Romans 8:8 says, "Those who are in the flesh cannot please God." The NIV translates it as, "Those who are in the realm of flesh cannot please God."
In some ways, this is a frightening reality. This means all our striving and scheming to worship and please God means nothing apart of being born again. So what do we do? We cry out to God to save us and bring us to life if we are still dead in our sins (See Ephesians 2:1-3) and believe on the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. But if you have been born again, you should rejoice and give thanks to God! You are no longer in the flesh, but have been born of the Spirit. You can worship God in any place and at any time.
Revisting again and again, the good news of Jesus Christ and His work of your salvation is the fuel for worship. We are to ask God to constantly renew in us the joy of our salvation, so that we never forget who we were before Christ, what He did for us, and who we are now in Christ.