The Christian Latreia (Service of Worship)

Romans 12:1  •  23 min. read  •  grade level: 10
" I BESEECH you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." The word (λατεεία), translated service, means service-of-worship, in such a passage as Rom. 12:11I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1). It is a word that always points God-wards. There are other words in the New Testament translated worship, which are applied to men, devils, earthly powers, or even inanimate things; but latreia, without exception, is applied to the true God only, or to a supposed god (Acts 7:4242Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness? (Acts 7:42); Rom. 1:2525Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. (Romans 1:25)). One of the other words (the word,προσχυνεῖν) is frequently used to others-men, devils, beasts. But latreia being a temple word is not used for anything but divine service, let the, divinity be supposed or real; so even in Rev. 22:33And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: (Revelation 22:3), when it is said "His servants shall serve Him," the meaning is, with service-of-worship.
When work-service is intended, another word (60046) is used, as in this same chapter, verse 11th, "serving the Lord;" or as when Paul says, Acts 20:1919Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: (Acts 20:19), "serving the Lord with all humility;" or as Gal. 5:1313For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. (Galatians 5:13), " serve one another," " with good will doing service" (Eph. 6:77With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: (Ephesians 6:7)). There are also other words for serving, such as Luke 12:3737Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. (Luke 12:37), " Will come forth and serve them (διαχονςῶ).” The sacrifice and service of your faith (λειτουργία) (Phil. 2:1717Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. (Philippians 2:17)). Also, " After he had served (ὑπηρετέω)) his generation " (Acts 13:3636For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: (Acts 13:36)). There is " divine service " (Heb. 9:11Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. (Hebrews 9:1)); work-service (1 Tim. 6:22And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. (1 Timothy 6:2)); private service, as done in the household (Luke 10:4040But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. (Luke 10:40); John 12:22There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. (John 12:2)); and public or business service (2 Cor. 9:1212For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; (2 Corinthians 9:12); Phil. 2:1717Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. (Philippians 2:17)). But our word service, in Rom. 12: 1 (λατρεία), is always applied to the service of God (John 16:22They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. (John 16:2); Rom. 9:4;12. 1; Heb. 9:1-61Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. 2For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is called the sanctuary. 3And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; 4Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; 5And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. 6Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. (Hebrews 9:1‑6)). Even the verb (λατρεύω) is always divine service, or what was believed to be so; for "the hosts of heaven " (Acts 7:4242Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness? (Acts 7:42)) were regarded as divinities when worshipped. It occurs most frequently in Hebrews, where we should expect to find it, and where the other word homage (προσχυνέω) never occurs as to Christians (8: 5; 9: 1, 6, 9, 14; 10: 2; 12: 28; 9: 10), which is an additional proof that it is intended to describe our worship-service. And then we have it in Rev. 7:1515Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. (Revelation 7:15), and 22: 3, and there it ends.
I am thus minute and decided about the express meaning of the word, in order to show that with the sacred writers service man-ward is not the first thing the Spirit contemplates and enjoins, but consecration to God and worship-service God-ward. " I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
When the children of Israel were delivered out of Egypt it was worship that was the first thing spoken of, "Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, let My people go, that they may serve Me;" and we have only to read Ex. 5:3;10: 24-293And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the Lord our God; lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword. (Exodus 5:3), to see that this was worship-service. Moses and Aaron said to Pharaoh, "The God of the Hebrews hath met with us; let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the Lord our God;" and when he would not hear of them taking their flocks and their herds, they insisted on their having them. "Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind; for thereof must we take to serve the Lord our God, and we know not with what we must serve the Lord until we come thither." This decision broke off the conference; the Lord interposed; Israel was delivered out of the Egyptians' land; Egypt was judged, and the Egyptians were destroyed. " See my face no more," said Pharaoh; and Moses said, " Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face no more." The material for the sacrifice must go out of Egypt as well as the worshippers. God has come in in judgment of Satan and his world, has not only screened His people from His sword as a righteous judge in Egypt, but has also delivered them out of Egypt, annulling him that had the power of death, and by dying to sin has given all believers the privilege of being dead unto sin but alive unto God in Jesus Christ, and thus being redeemed out of the place by the. power of God, working in connection with the death and life again of Christ, they are rescued, emancipated, living saints of God in virtue of Christ, and in their own happy consciousness and joy of faith; the world and its slavery left behind, they can now serve the Lord as those who are brought to Himself, and they have themselves-.even their bodies, the former vessels of the slavery of sin-now blessedly made members of Christ and temples of the Holy Ghost, so that they can be exhorted as having power over their " mortal body," not to let sin reign in it, but also thus " yield (present) yourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead" (Rom. 6:11-1311Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. (Romans 6:11‑13)): in Rom. 12:11I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1), "present your bodies." Why bodies? Are we not "waiting for the redemption of our body?" True. But "because of His Spirit that dwelleth in you, He who raised up Christ from the dead shall also give life to your mortal bodies," and faith holds it as good as done, and acts accordingly. "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye. have of God, and ye are not your own? for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body " (1 Cor. 6:19,2019What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. (1 Corinthians 6:19‑20)): Ye are bought with a price; that is the whole man, body and soul and spirit. The whole of Satan's contest is not only about "the body of Moses" (Jude 99Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. (Jude 9)), but about the bodies of all the saints. As Pharaoh strove to keep the cattle in Egypt, so Satan would keep the bodies of believers in the world, and allow them to serve God and worship with their souls. It is a striking parallel we have here to Moses' decision with Pharaoh. "There shall not an hoof be left behind." The cattle must go, all of them: so our bodies also go out of Egypt, for they are the very substance of the sacrifice to be presented. "Present your bodies a living sacrifice." Call it consecration if you will, our bodies are not to be left out in our " service," but we, in our bodies, are to present ourselves " a living sacrifice, holy." This is so, for we are made masters of our bodies now in Christ through the power of God's Holy Spirit, just as when we were in the flesh Satan and sin mastered us through our bodies: and, being in the power of the Spirit, it is spiritual work, and "an intelligent service."
And with regard to our " divine service" (latreia), there is great importance in insisting on the consecration and sacrifice of the whole man, and that we present our bodies, for you will find the most of God's saints presenting themselves every Lord's day in places where they cannot but know there is no worship on a divine basis or in accordance with Scriptural principles. There was one city in Israel where God had placed His name, and in which His worship was duly performed, and to that center all the males repaired thrice a year to present themselves before the Lord and worship. They said rightly, then, "At Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." And is there no prescribed worship of God in Christianity? and is it all one whether we in our bodies are found in connection with a worship-service where Christ is served divinely and scripturally, or where the so-called worship is a direct denial of Christianity? Where the service is according to a pre-arranged and established form, conducted by religious officials, appointed and salaried for that purpose, or where a liturgy is used, there believers are not at liberty to be present at all, for that is not God's way of worship. Christ is all in God's church. He is the center for the worship (Matt. 18:2020For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20)); He and His sacrifice glorifying God and perfecting worshippers as-to the conscience are the basis of worship (Heb. 9) The only power for worship is the Spirit, who dwells not only in each individual, but is with the saints collectively, regulating all and guiding each, so that one and another may be employed in the service as He may see good to use them; and the worship being that of the Father (John 4), none but the children of God can join in it; and none are acceptable worshippers but those "who have received the Spirit of adoption, crying, Abba, Father" (Rom. 8); and as all believers are members of Christ, true worship embraces all saints; and as all are baptized into one body, we dare not take our place where the principle of religious " bodies " of man's invention is owned, whether unblushingly connected with this " present evil world," or framed according to some other contrivance of man's will; for the worship of Christianity is on the principle of a complete break with man in the flesh and man's world, and on the principle of being members of Christ, and one with Him, where He is at God's right hand, and all the distance between earth and heaven placed between the worshippers and the world. " Having, therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus," tells us that our place of worship 'is outside the world; and we can no more worship in Egypt than could Jehovah's Israel. Just as Moses said to Pharaoh, " I will see thy face no more," so when the bodies of the saints, the persons of the saved, are presented, there is decision as to having no more conference with the world-" Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds to your proving what is that good and perfect and acceptable thing-the will of God." The not having your fashioning like that of the world which likes something visible, and with a fair show in the flesh-some golden calf-but being transfigured by the renewing of your mind, as Christ's inward glory shone out on the transfiguration hill, then will you have capacity and power to experimentally prove that God has a " will " about " your service," as well as about everything;- " good, acceptable, and perfect." "Present your bodies.... your intelligent service."
How many there are in these days who, when the saints have been visited by the Holy Ghost revealing Christ to His people's minds, have grown so in the knowledge of Him and of the riches of the grace of God and of Christianity, that they have at length become transfigured, their whole body full of light, with no part dark; they have ceased to be conformed to the world, and have presented their bodies as God would have them; have worshipped by God's Spirit, and have no confidence in the flesh. Paul had renounced the whole system for the excellency of Christ Jesus his Lord, and there came such power with the call that reached him from the glory, the light that shone around him revealing the glorious Man, that he was from the first completely outside the world to the Christ who had called him, and he found himself a worshipper where he had intended to be a ravener. And to this he refers repeatedly in the most touching terms: " Who was before a blasphemer and a persecutor, and injurious. But I obtained mercy. I obtained mercy that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering for a pattern to them who should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting." And in Rom. 12:11I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1) he beseeches " by the mercies of God," of which he has just given such a witness to Jew and Gentile in the body of this Epistle, " to present your bodies a sacrifice living and holy, acceptable to God, an intelligent service."
chapter 15: 30, he writes: "I beseech you, brethren, through our Lord. Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me." In 1 Cor. 1:1010Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (1 Corinthians 1:10), "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you." In 2 Cor. 10:11Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: (2 Corinthians 10:1), " Now I, Paul, beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ.") "Present (παρεστῆσαι) your bodies," as those who once for all are sanctified by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ." This word present is "selected as the set expression for presenting of sacrificial animals at the altar." As the worshipper presented his living victim, so we present our bodies " a living sacrifice." For in this " service" we are by grace allowed to be oblivious of the fact that " the body is dead because of sin." We must regard our former existence in the flesh as non-existent, and we are in the spirit in Christ and Christ in us. Faith places us in the presence of God in Christ, body as well as soul, and so in our " service " we can look for the Holy Ghost enabling us to present our bodies filled with His power. In faith we who believe draw near our very selves in our bodies, which, as indwelt of the Spirit, the Lord's, and not our own, we present a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God. We can never say as to fact and walk there is nothing in our bodies but the Holy Ghost, for we are to mortify the deeds of the body by the Spirit. But as to our place in Christ and to faith, we reckon ourselves dead indeed unto sin, and alive unto God in Jesus Christ; and we in our bodies are free to be used in " the service of God."
" Mercies" are here (διὰ τῶν οἰχτιρμῶν τοῦ θεοῦ) the feelings of compassion in God's heart, which have become embodied in the " mercy " which saves the lost (Titus 3:55Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (Titus 3:5)), quickens the dead (Eph. 2:44But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, (Ephesians 2:4)), and cares for the saints of God (Heb. 4:1616Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)). Paul speaks of mercy to him in 2 Cor.4: 1; 1 Tim. 1:13-1613Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 15This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 16Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. (1 Timothy 1:13‑16). Peter speaks of " abundant mercy," (1 Peter 1:33Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (1 Peter 1:3)), and about obtaining mercy (1 Peter 2:1010Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2:10)). Paul, in Romans does not speak of "mercy "until chapter 9: 15. Then we have it about twelve times, ten of which are in that portion of the epistle from chapter 9. to 11., in which he shows that the salvation of the Gentiles now does not argue that God has cast away His people, or that He will not make good in sovereign mercy. His promises of special place, blessing, and glory to Israel by and by. In the 11th chapter, at verses 31, 32, he shows that both come under sovereign mercy: "That he might have mercy upon all." This word (ἔλεος) looks to the outward act; "mercies" (οἰχτιρμοι) to the inward feeling. Man's misery is met by God's mercy, whether he be Jew or Gentile. On account of the rejection of Christ the Jew is no better than the Gentile, all being dead in sins, as in Ephesians, and God, rich in mercy, for His great love quickening together with Christ, saves by grace through faith, the entire thing being God's gift; and if man is looked at in his living sin and misery, as in the Epistle to the Romans, then God's
inward feelings of compassion have been so stirred for him in his guilt, condemnation, bondage to sin, law, and death, that He has not spared His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, and with
Him has freely given us all things, such as free justification by grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom He has set forth a propitiatory through faith in His blood. "The mercies of God" moved Him to deliver Him up for our offenses, and raise Him up for our justification, so that, being justified by faith, we might have peace with God, access through Him into a gracious standing before Him, so that the glory of God is made our boast, and God Himself our joy, by whom we have now received the reconciliation. But " the mercies of God " have not left us under the mastership of sin any more than in our sins, but giving us, in virtue of Christ's death and resurrection, to hold ourselves as, non-existent, and the whole bondage to sin terminated, we are to Him who is risen from the dead, and bring forth fruit to God. Instead of raising the cry, "0 wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me?" the "mercies of God" have flowed forth in such wise as to relieve this misery, and put in the place of that cry of misery the " I thank God, through Jesus Christ; "... for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death; "-for God has condemned sin in the flesh-and we are not in the flesh but in the Spirit-a new state altogether, with the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, and Christ in us- the spirit of adoption given us, we are heirs of God, and joint- heirs with Christ, to be glorified together-the body to be redeemed; but meantime we groaning in it according to God, and waiting for the liberty of the glory, when creation itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption. Meantime, exulting in the prospect of coming glory, when we shall be conformed to the image of God's Son in glory, being glorified together, God is for us. His compassions have been embodied and expressed in the gift of His Son, who has died, risen, and gone into heaven, and through whom we have God's own love so commended in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, and so we feel secure, God being for us in love and righteousness, and as we know there is now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, so we exult in the culminating grace of " the mercies of God," that none can separate us from the love of Christ, from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Such are the outflowings of His mercies to the Gentiles, who may well " glorify God for His mercy;" and chapters 9.-11. show also His mercies to Israel, for "so all Israel shall be saved, as it is written, "There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and turn away ungodliness from Jacob." " As regards the glad tidings, they are enemies on your account; but as regards election, beloved on account of the fathers; for the gifts and calling of God are not subject to repentance. For, as indeed ye also once have not believed in God, but now have been objects of mercy through the unbelief of these, so these also have not believed in your mercy, in order that they also may be the objects of mercy. For God hath shut up all in unbelief in order that He might show mercy to all " (Rom. 11)
Such are the " mercies of God." Is He not " the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies?" These mercies have found their objects in us, and now, having experienced them, what a motive to induce us to a whole-hearted presentation of our bodies-" our intelligent service." As God-taught saints we yield it. It is an intelligent service we render. Salvation is no longer a dark saying and a dim parable, but a revealed and embodied fact and reality. We have the Holy Ghost as the unction, and the risen Lord in the presence of God, and by Him heavenly realities are revealed, and we ourselves are in living fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit- having the enjoyment of the mutual thoughts and affections of the Father and the Son. There is nothing else " reasonable," or in strict accordance with spiritual logic (λογιχὴν), or exactly as it should be, or at all answerable as a spontaneous response to the reception of "the mercies of God," save the presenting of our bodies a living sacrifice-holy, well-pleasing unto God. As the redeemed nation of Israel were supplied with motives for absolute giving up of themselves to God as His worshipping nation, solely in the mercy of God, manifested in their redemption and blessing, so "the mercies of God" to us should lead spontaneously to our presenting ourselves as His worshipping saints, and moving spiritually, as those under the entire control of the Holy Ghost, in the "intelligent service" of this New Testament house of God.
When David sat in his house and mused on all God's mercies, his mind got upon the ark of God, and he thought of building a house for it. The Lord did not allow it, but told him it was well that it was in his heart. Instead of thinking on God's mercies to this effect that we are to be used to establish God's worship or secure that the truth shall be perpetuated by our prudence or devotedness towards such an object, let our aim be to hold ourselves in ever fresh presentation before the Lord, that He may establish our hearts in grace, our souls in devotedness, and our minds in the knowledge of His will. Our intelligent worship-service is entirely dependent on God's sustainment, Christ's grace, and the Holy. Ghost's presence in power and blessing. But when things are according to the mind of God, as when David caused the Levites to bear the ark, and there was worshipping gladness, and the permanent settlement of the ministry of song, it pertained not to the law, but to "the sure mercies of David." The one who had known first rejection and then exaltation began the settled ministry of song in Israel; so ours began with the Lord Jesus. The song in Christianity begins with the seating of the earth-rejected Jesus, crowned with glory and honor, on the throne of the Father in the heavens, and "Thou art worthy" shall be sung in the heavenly sanctuary forever and ever. There is always light, love, communion, joy in the Lord, and song where God's mind is sought and enjoyed as to His worship, and when praise and thanksgiving are rendered to God from fully consecrated and devoted worshippers, for we joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, and our full cup running over, we offer by Him the sacrifice of praise to God continually, confessing His name.
The basis of our worship is Christ and His' perfect sacrifice of Himself-the Lord's supper being the center of it, as it keeps Him in His death for the glory of God and our redemption visibly before us; our only power of worship the Holy Spirit; the object of worship the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. "For through Him (Christ Jesus) we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father" (Eph. 2:1818For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. (Ephesians 2:18)). " The FATHER seek eth worshippers;" and " GOD is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth." Then " let us have grace whereby we may worship GOD acceptably with reverence and with godly fear, for our God is a consuming fire" (Heb. 12:2828Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: (Hebrews 12:28)); "Worship GOD" (Rev. 22:99Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. (Revelation 22:9)).
It would be edifying to inquire into the character of our worship, and ascertain the difference between worshipping God, the Father, the Lord Jesus, and " by the Spirit of God." A Christian who knows only Hebrews' truth will worship God with reverence and godly fear; not with a childlike sense of relationship, " crying, Abba, Father." In " Hebrews " we never have the Father in our relationship or worship, and it never rises to the height or measure of the full worship of Christianity, for it is official not filial; of consecrated "priests unto God," not of children and the Father. We do not find either "joy " or " love"
in our relationship with God in the epistle. Fear, not love, characterizes it (4: 1,12; 12: 29), " for our God is a consuming fire;" and in it we are on our way through the wilderness, and having liberty to enter into the holiest we draw near habitually and Worship; the epistle does not look at us as always there, as does Ephesians, which regards us as being before the Father in love, who hath "predestinated us to the adoption of' children to himself," and in the happy enjoyment of the " Spirit of Sonship," ever in our Father's presence as the loved ones of His own family. " For by Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father," and we are as children of God, ever enjoying our fellowship with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. The worship of the " holy priesthood " is the worship of God, and it is " with reverence and godly fear;" but as children we "worship the Father," and our joy is full. A most desirable state of mind it is to have "godly fear" (the same word [εὐλαβεία] is used of our blessed Lord, Heb. 5:77Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; (Hebrews 5:7)); we cannot "serve God acceptably" otherwise; but the Spirit-given cry of " Abba" is essential to the worship of the Father, as offered by His " dear children "-His " loved children" (Eph. 5:11Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; (Ephesians 5:1)). There is no priesthood with the Father, and our place as priests is never spoken of where our relationship to the Father is contemplated. Priestly place and worship of God are connected with a pilgrimage condition and the home in prospect; worship of the Father by His dear children and the loving consciousness of a filial relationship are connected with the Father's presence. Worshipping God, on the level of the truth in Hebrews, 1st Peter, and Revelation, has an entirely different feeling to our souls from worshipping the Father on the basis of the manifestation of His purpose in Christ Jesus, in Ephesians. And if we are true worshippers, and not hollow pretenders, we will not venture to worship out of keeping with our state. The Spirit will guide us into that frame of mind and form of expression which accord with our present condition. There is great danger in leaving off worshipping God-where lie the deepest moral glories connected with the adorable Person and atoning death of our Lord Jesus Christ-and only worshipping the Father. No reason is there why both should not be observed in due scriptural proportion, as the state of worshippers may permit: but less harm will be done to souls from having the worship of God in excess than from the all but exclusive worship of the Father-although, as has been said, there cannot be the full and proper worship of Christianity unless there be, besides the worship of God, also the worship of the Father. Our Lord has joined both in St. John 4:23,2423But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23‑24). Here we have the Father in relationship, and God in his nature; and it is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. we now worship "in spirit and in truth."