As we continue to explore the relationship between holiness and liturgy, I want us to remember why we’re doing it: we want to glorify God in everything, and we delight in things that help us glorify God better and more fully along the lines that He has laid out for us. We’re asking the question, “Why do we worship this way?” and trying to establish that the best answer is that this form of liturgy, this way of worshiping God, is the way that His Word reveals to us. If this is how God has instructed us to worship, then we can be confident that this is the kind of worship that brings God the most glory, and will bring us the most joy.
The way worship brings God glory is two-fold: first, obedience brings God glory, as we acknowledge Him to be our Lord, the Father whom we obey. Obedience is an act of worship wherever it occurs, but especially when it occurs in the context of the Church’s gathered worship. Second, worship brings God glory as we are transformed by worshiping in humble obedience into the image of Christ. God is most glorified in the obedience of His Son Jesus, and so our obedience becomes more glorious when it looks more like His. God is glorified when image-bearers reflect His glory, and worshiping God’s way renews the image of God in man that was shattered and broken when Adam fell. When image-bearers who reflect God’s glory fill the earth, then God’s glory fills the earth.
Because of sin, and because we are not yet what we will be, we bear the glory of God imperfectly. Having been transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light, Christians really do shine with God’s glory. We are the light of the world. But because of sin, we are flickering lights, matches, candles, and not yet stars or suns. But as we grow in holiness, we are changing from glory to glory, and the light of glory grows and spreads across the world.
This is why the way we worship is so important. The way we worship shapes us, and if our worship is juvenile, or casual, or simplistic, we will end up being marked by those characteristics, instead of being described as mature, deep, and holy. Only to the extent that our worship is mature and glorious will we actually see a mature and glorious holiness developing in our lives.