The Church Praises God
In our last entry we explored what a local church does as an outpost of God’s final restoration of the world. The first characteristic was this: The local church is a place where the redeemed people of God worship him.
Worship is our response to God’s glory and grace. And we find that we praise him both for who he is and for what he has done.
We Praise God for Who He Is
In the words of one classic confession of faith God is, “infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions; immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will.”
We praise God because he is praiseworthy. In the same way that the Grand Canyon’s immensity and beauty drive us to celebrate it, the Lord is worthy of praise for his grandeur apart from all his marvelous deeds.
We Praise God for What He’s Done
And we come to see that grandeur in two ways. First, he has communicated it to us. In making us in his own image, he has written a knowledge of himself on every human heart. He has also revealed himself explicitly in the pages of Scripture where he clearly instructs us who he is.
We also see God’s grandeur through his works. We see God’s, “attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature…in the things that have been made.” (Rom 1:20) The incomprehensibly giant universe he spoke into being gives us a hint of how immense and powerful he is. The beauty of creation tells us of his goodness.
We see a lot about God in his work of creation, but we see even more in his work of redemption. At the cross we see that God is perfectly holy – he hates sin so much that death is the only solution. At the same time we see that God is perfectly loving – he loves his people so much that, rather than allowing them to perish, he takes the just penalty for their sin upon himself.
We Praise Him as the Church and in Our Lives
So we praise the Lord for who he is – he is infinite, wise, and holy – and what he has done – he is loving, merciful, and kind. The church is where all of this comes together in a symphony of praise. As each of us walks through life and brings new praises from our lives – seeing new facets of God’s glory in the Bible, in our growth in him, and in his provision for us – we encourage each other into more and more praise.
This praise takes the form of musical worship, attending to his word privately and as it is preached, and through spurring each other onward to the love and good works through which we make him known in the world.