PRACTICE FOR THE NEW HEAVEN AND EARTH

We do many activities in this life as Christians that we will not do in the new heaven and earth. For example, We will never evangelize anyone in the new heaven and earth. We will never share the gospel or hand out a tract. We will not pray for needs in the new heaven and earth; there will be no reason to.

However, there is one activity we will continue to do in the new heaven and earth: worship. We will worship God forever. Given this, we can look at worship in this life as a kind of “practice” for the new heaven and earth. Paul Engel wrote, “That’s how important it is to get it correct, here and now, in preparation for what’s coming. Our focus on worship in this life will reap eternal dividends (Paul Engle, When God Draws Near, 19).

The English word “worship” means “to ascribe worth to something.” We worship God for who He is and because He is worthy. “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME” (Revelation 4:8).

We worship God not only for His character, but also for His conduct (not only for His attributes, but also for His actions): “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed and were created” (Revelation 4:11). Thus, God is worthy of worship because He did what no one else could ever do: He created all things, and He continues to sustain all things.

But more than that, He also redeemed us through His Son, Jesus Christ. “Worthy are You . . . for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood” (Revelation 5:9). That’s what God did for us, and He deserves never-ending praise and worship because of it.

Worship involves the physical and emotional aspects of human personhood, which can be expressed through song. But fundamentally, worship is an acknowledgment of who God is and what He has done. Worship incorporates our bodily and emotional responses and has an intelligent expression that involves the mind. Jesus said we should love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). This means our worship should fully engage everything within us as we dwell on the greatness of God. Fundamentally, worship is “consciously drawing close God.” It is not something that one does all the time. It is not something that one does thoughtlessly. Worship is a person actively connecting to God in and through the avenues that God has prescribed. Since God is the one to be worshipped, we do not choose how to draw close to God. Thankfully, God has revealed to us in His word how He desires for us to worship Him.

God is worthy to be praised! As the psalmist wrote, “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God” (Ps. 95:6–7). Likewise, C. S. Lewis wrote: “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 106).

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