The Perfect Worshipper
Adam failed in performing his duty as worshipper and priest, and we have thus wandered in darkness, following after the lusts of our eyes and gratifying the desires of our prideful hearts (cf 1 John 2:16). Yet in His great mercy and awesome grace God did not end His plan right there, even though we richly deserved condemnation for defying Him. This third and final post on worship deals with our restoration to true worship through Jesus Christ, the Perfect Worshipper.
What now had to be done, in order that God might save His people so that they would worship Him forever in spirit and in truth? Yes, He needed Someone to serve as a sacrifice on behalf of sinners, to pay the penalty they deserved for failing to obey God and going their own way to destruction. But this Person also had to step into Adam’s original role, to be a Second Adam (Rom. 5), to be a Perfect Worshipper who would merit obedience for the people He would represent. This Man was Jesus Christ, and His virtuous, vicarious, victorious life and service on our behalf is referred to as His active obedience. Only by this active obedience could Christ merit through His good works a righteousness that He could pass on to us, who trust in Him through faith alone. Thus, He was born of a virgin, sinless, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and set out to fulfill the work the Father gave Him to do.
How did Christ through His perfect obedience show His love and His worship for His Father? He kept the Law perfectly, every jot and tittle of the complicated Mosaic Law, while at the same time illuminating the rightful intention of this Law (as He did in the Sermon on the Mount). In doing so, Christ was also zealous even to the point of disrupting the perverted order that the Jewish authorities had set up - for example, purging the Temple of the corrupt moneylenders so that authentic worship could continue (Matt. 21, John 2). He defied Satan in the wilderness over 40 days of temptation, holding forth God’s perfect law in response to Satan’s daring attempts to make Him question His Father’s faithfulness (Matt. 4, Luke 4). Thus, whereas Adam fell under only one temptation, Christ stood fast during a 40-day period of continual testing - there was no doubt as to the perfection of His obedience. His life was sinless - He was by nature sinless, and performed no sinful act right from the beginning (1 John 3:5). Christ also presented the way of God as the only true way - through faith in Himself (John 14:6). Yes, this was exclusive, but that was because it was God’s perfect design to gain all the glory through the only One who could perfectly satisfy the Law on our behalf. What other way could there be for us to get to heaven? And finally, at the very end, after Christ suffered and rose on our behalf, He will return in glory to crush all sin and wickedness under a rod of iron so that the true kingdom and worship of God will be fully established in the new heavens and the new earth (Psalm 2:9). It is a perfect kingdom that cannot be shaken, a gracious gift to us who never deserved such love, which was demonstrated through Christ’s vicarious living and sacrificial death (Heb. 12:28).
As a Perfect Man, Christ also was able to offer Himself up as a perfect and holy sacrifice on our behalf. Because He was man, he could do this in our place. Because He was God, the value of His sacrifice was infinite, enough to save completely every single one of His people. Christ not only obeyed His Father in living out the Law fully and perfectly, but He also unswervingly obeyed to the point of death - a shameful, humiliating death nailed to a piece of wood, which made Him accursed according to the Law (Deut. 21:23). But because His sacrifice was perfect, the Father accepted it, and everything went according to the plan which the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit had planned before the foundation of the world - to create and redeem a people to worship the Triune God for all eternity. Three days later, the Father vindicated His Son by raising Him from the dead, placing His seal upon the truth that Christ was the Perfect Man and the Perfect Worshipper (cf. Phil. 2:5-11). Christ then ascended to heaven, to sit at the right hand of the Father on high…..but no, He was not abandoning us, for He gave the Holy Spirit to be with us as our Teacher and Comforter (John 14:16-17). And one way that the Holy Spirit teaches us is through Scripture, which shows us how to worship God. The Perfect Worshipper left to us a record through the Spirit to guide us in our worship (cf. John 14:26; 2 Tim. 3:16). So it has been this way for two thousand years at least since Christ walked this earth, and He will continue to preserve His Church until He returns for us. And then, when time fades out into eternity, when we are reunited with Him, we will be amazed in wonder at the fact that He will be a Man forever and ever, leading us in true worship of the Father, the Second Adam who is our Head, our Lord, our Savior, our Friend. Worship comes full circle in perfect peace and glory, and a multitude of saints that cannot be numbered, along with the brilliant angels, will praise the majesty and glory of the Triune God, and confirm the perfect fellowship which God has perpetually enjoyed, for all of eternity future…….
Let us therefore lift up our hearts and wipe our eyes from all tears, for our worship is restored through Christ, and we only wait for the day in which it shall be made pure and complete!