Draw Near to God Through Jesus Christ By Faith
The theology of worship from the book of Hebrews is that Christian worship is drawing near to God through Jesus Christ by faith, and therefore it cannot be touched; not that there will be no physical involvement in earthly worship, for there is no such thing as disembodied worship. But the physical involvement or feeling is not the essence of worship, and therefore Christians today must not define worship by some kind of physical expression or always expect a sense-experience in worship. Worship for the Christian is at its essence metaphysical, for as he worships he participates spiritually through Jesus Christ in the worship of the heavenly Mount. To borrow a phrase from Paul, Christians worship by faith, not by sight (2 Cor 5:7).
Yet the admonition for corporate worship in Hebrews is rooted in a hope that one day worship as a metaphysical reality will become a physical one: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (10:24-25). “The Day” (τὴν ἡμέραν) serves as “an anticipation of the ultimate, eschatological assembly of God’s people portrayed in 12:22-24. Put in another way, local congregations or house-groups may be viewed as earthly manifestations of that heavenly assembly already gathered around God and Christ.”1
On that Day the metaphysical and the physical will be one; when God the Judge shakes the earth (physical) and the heavens (metaphysical), only the “things that cannot be shaken [will] remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”
About Scott Aniol
Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is director of doctoral worship studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and four children. Views posted here are his own and not necessarily those of his employer.
- Peterson, Engaging with God, 247. [↩]