Why Should We Worship God? He is Good

“Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” (Act 14:17 NKJ)

In Acts 14, Paul is telling the Gentiles in Lystra how God in the past had not revealed Himself to the Gentiles, but now was calling them to repent and believe in Jesus. He says, in verse 17, that despite that fact, God had still shown the Gentiles before the coming of Christ that He is a good God, so that they always had a witness to Him. He gave them many good things testifying of the fundamentally benevolent nature of God.

God is a God that delights to do good for creatures, and especially those made in His image. There is no logical necessity for food to taste good or for there to be such a thing as wine to gladden our hearts. We see in color. We hear music. None of these things were necessary for life. Even the fact that our brains are wired in such a way to derive joy from all of these things is a purely superfluous gift from God.

God is not stingy with His blessings, either. He overflows with goodness even to people who rebel against Him, as Paul says in the verse we quoted above. People who did not know or love God had many good things in their lives, and most of the bad things in their lives were the direct result of their own sin and refusal to live according to the truth God put in their hearts. But even the wicked man gets to enjoy beautiful sunsets, the laughter of a child, or the taste of fruit. Even the wicked man lives in a universe which is understandable, beautiful in its symmetry, regular in its operations, so that man can understand its laws and live by them. All of these things tell man that the Creator is good and should be worshiped. As I consider how many good and wonderful things we have now while sin and the curse of God yet remains on the world, it makes me shiver to think of the experience of the goodness of God when that curse is finally eradicated when Christ comes again and renews all things.

Indeed, He should be worshiped. We should give thanks for the many good things He has already given us, especially in light of the truth that since God is not only good but infinitely and absolutely good, then there is no good apart from Him. Hell is an absolutely necessary doctrine, and far from being refuted by the goodness of God as some claim, the necessity of hell is driven by the very goodness of God itself. If He is the absolute source of all good, then apart from Him there can be no good at all. Even the end of pain and suffering is a good thing, and thus denied to those who insist on separating themselves from God.

On the other hand, those who are His people, elected by His grace and goodness to know His truth, will never plumb the depths of God’s goodness. After a billion years in eternity, God will still have new good things to give us, new pleasures to experience, new beauties to behold, new vistas to see. He should be worshiped, and those who come to recognize and experience His goodness cannot help but worship.

Did My Sins put Jesus on the Cross?

In a certain improper sense, I know what is meant by such a statement. I am sinful, and Jesus suffered the death of the cross to pay for my sins. Nonetheless, the statement that my sins nailed Jesus to the cross is not really accurate, and in an important way.

The Gospels never present Jesus as a helpless victim. Quite to the contrary, at every step of the process, Jesus is presented as clearly in control of the situation. He could have called down legions of angels to defend Himself, and yet forbade even His disciples from any attempt to save Him. He knew Judas was betraying Him, and yet went to the spot where Judas knew He liked to go. Pilate and the Jews hated each other, and Pilate was practically begging for a reason to let Jesus go. Surely it would have been child’s play for a man of Jesus’ human ability to play these enemies against each other, secure Pilate’s favor and be released. Instead, He did not offer a word in His own defense. Like a sheep to the shearers, He was mute.

Jesus said that no man could take His life from Him, that He lay it down of His own accord (John 10:17-18). Giving us the reason why this matters, He goes on to say, “This command I have received from My Father.” In the Garden of Gethsemane, even as He was struggling to conform His human will to the Divine will, sweating great drops of blood, He said, “Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done.” (Luke 22;42) Paul also said that Jesus obeyed throughout His life, even to the cross (Phil. 2:8). He went to the cross freely and willingly, not as a helpless victim.

The importance of this is that Jesus’ death on the cross was an act of willing obedience to His Father. In doing so, Jesus completed the purpose for man’s creation, to be God’s faithful servant. As He said, He came to fulfill the law of God, and He did, at the cross. He obeyed the requirements of God’s holy justice entirely.

If Christ was a helpless victim of my sin, it calls into question the justice of God that would inflict the penalty of my sin on someone else. Further, if Christ’s fully voluntary obedience even to the cross is downplayed or de-emphasized, then Christ’s death at best removes my state of condemnation but leaves the positive demands of God’s law yet unfulfilled. In other words, I may be freed from the wrath of God for sins, but the fulfillment of God’s law is yet left for me to do. But if we see that Christ’s death on the cross fulfilled all the requirements of God’s law, then, in union with Him, there is no requirement left for me to fulfill. I am completely and fully righteous in Him. All my works of repentance and obedience then are acts of thankfulness and of experiencing the fullness of salvation in Christ, and in no way merit me anything before God, since Christ’s perfect righteousness merits me every good thing. I can say fully with Paul, “There is therefore no condemnation to them that are in Christ (Romans 8:1).”

By all means, let us reflect on the truth that Jesus went to the cross in order to pay for my sins. But let us remember that He was not compelled to do so by anything outside of His perfect obedience to His Father and His perfect love for His people. He put Himself on the cross.

Why Should We Worship God? He is Just

Man needs justice, right down in his bones. If there is no obvious source of justice, he will invent it. If a man lies and cheats to get ahead, others will mutter about karma, “what goes around comes around.” The idea that a wicked man can be wicked and prosper from it and never be held accountable offends us at the core of our beings. Even when a man knowingly does evil he will justify it to himself, saying that it’s not as bad as others, circumstances forced him to it, or the person he is wronging deserved it somehow, or his evil actions are necessary for some greater good. Cartoon villains may cackle about how evil they are, but in the real world, everyone is right and virtuous in his own eyes.

Our innate sense of justice is one solid piece of evidence for the existence of God. One might say we invented God to satisfy our need for justice, but that leaves unanswered the question of why we have such a need for justice in the first place. The Bible’s teaching that we are made in the image of a just God is a sufficient explanation for that sense of justice.

When we know the God of the Bible, then we can rest in the knowledge that His perfect justice will right all the wrongs, defend the innocent and punish the guilty. The sense of bitterness and agitation we have about wrongs done to us or our loved ones is healed by the knowledge of a perfect Judge who never lets anyone get away with anything. He sees all that happens. He even sees what the evil heart of man would do if given the chance. A man gains no credit at the throne of God for not committing evil when it was only the restraining hand of God that prevented it.

When we reflect on the justice of God, we must recognize that God’s justice is only truly just if it is equal, applied to all men including ourselves. He is no respecter of persons. If we recognize the goodness of God’s justice, then logic demands that we reflect on the relationship we will bear to that perfect justice as well. We will see that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” We will desire to get on the right side of God’s justice, and see that His perfect justice is satisfied in the death and resurrection of Christ on our behalf. God’s justice can never be evaded; either we throw ourselves on God’s mercy and accept the righteous sacrifice of Christ on our behalf, or bear the full weight of our own sins.

His justice is a cause of worship and praise. We know in our hearts that a God that punishes evil and rewards good is a good God who deserves our worship. One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that God is the rightful judge of all the universe who will right every wrong and punish every sin. We can worship His justice now, as those that are justly forgiven through the sacrifice of Christ, or worship Him later under compulsion as those coming under the heavy weight of that justice, but worship it we will. Now then let us praise and glorify God, who is just and righteous, who never lets the wicked go free, who never plays favorites, who never punishes good or rewards evil, who always does what is perfectly right and good in every situation, and who always vindicates the truth in the end.

Why Should We Worship God? He is Omniscient

I love the LORD, because He has heard My voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live. (Psa 116:1-2 NKJ)

The Bible everywhere proclaims the truth that God is omniscient, meaning that He knows everything. He knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). He knows the number of hairs on your head (Luke 12:7). He sees you whether you are in heaven, hell, or the bottom of the sea (Psalm 139).

This leads to worship from a number of different angles. First, of course, there is fear. There is no place to hide from this God. In Ezekiel 9:9 the wicked of Judah, engaged in every kind of false worship and lawlessness, say that God does not see and has forsaken the land. They mistook God’s patience for impotence. But He does see what we do, in the dark or in the light, as the men of Judah were about to discover.

There is also awe, really just a different aspect of true godly fear. We are naturally drawn to worship that which is greater than ourselves, to acknowledge what is great and good, and God is the greatest and best of all. His perfect knowledge is one facet of that greatness.

But the highest and most perfect motivation is love, as the psalmist expresses above. God’s knowledge, to the psalmist, means that God knows exactly what is going on with the psalmist and has heard the psalmist’s cry. He has total confidence that God hears his prayers and requests, and will always act with the psalmist’s good in mind. The perfect comprehensive knowledge of God is a source of great comfort for the writer and drives him to great love. That love prompts worship, expressions of that love, and he says he will call upon God as long as he lives.

We are weak and frail and often drawn aside in our minds. Worship often becomes a chore, a duty we fulfill out of the expectation of reward or the avoidance of punishment. God is gracious and forgiving, and covers our inadequacies with the blood of Christ. But this shows us an ideal to which we can aspire, that our worship be motivated by love of our Father in heaven who always sees perfectly what we need, what we desire, what we fear. He knows perfectly what is best for us and what could hurt and destroy us. He often does not give us what we think we need or want, just as a good parent does not give his child everything the child asks for. But He always acts for our perfect good. All things work together for good to those that love God, to those He has called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28).

How can we not worship Him, then? Basic manners tell us to thank someone for a gift that they have given us, and God has given us the very best gifts imaginable. Above all else, He has given us the gift of His own Son, Jesus Christ. In His perfect knowledge and wisdom He knew how best to reveal Himself to His children and to bless us with His fellowship and presence, through the sacrificial gift of His Son.

Such a perfect gift demands, as its rightful response, perfect worship and praise, a goal to which we can only aspire in this life. It is our joy and honor to strive to reach that goal through our worship and praise of the God we serve- not primarily out of duty or fear, but love.