Worship Him forever?

twenty-four-elders-before-god

I doubt there is a Biblical concept more misconstrued in the mind of the believer than the idea of heaven. Because their view of worship is askew, the notion of endless worship in heaven is an unpleasant concept to so many, though they are not likely to verbalize it. For them, the thought of worshiping God forever paints a mental image of a metrosexual worship leader singing the same seven words of a chorus in repetition for all eternity. Therefore, they dread an eternity of worshipping because they assume we will spend it singing.

NEWSFLASH: worship does not equate to singing.

Astoundingly, many Christians incorrectly assume a direct correlation between making musical sounds with the mouth and expressing reverence and adoration to Jesus Christ. My fear is that those who operate under this false assumption miss the joys of a true life of worship here on earth. Worship is not a specific act so much as it is a lifestyle. Through the lens of worship, the trivial and mundane are transformed into beautiful acts of veneration and homage to the one true God.

The apostle Paul sums up his case for the liberty to eat (or not eat) meat sacrificed to idols by saying this to the church in Corinth, “so, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31, emphasis mine). This is clearly not an exhaustive list. Paul paints broadly with this principle to teach us that any and every act, when done to and for the glory of God, becomes a glorious act of worship. All that we do becomes worship when we practice the principle stated by the Puritan Pastor, Matthew Henry, “in all we do, we should aim at the glory of God, at pleasing and honouring him. This is the fundamental principle of practical godliness.”[1]

WHATEVER WE DO: Seriously, whatever? (Cue the series of “what about ___?" questions)

  • What about eating? yes.
  • What about drinking? yes.
  • What about dancing? yes.
  • What about physical intimacy? yes.
  • What about working? yes.

"And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (Col. 3:17).

We are called to seek first the kingdom of God, but how can we do that when we dread His kingdom? This may seem like a strange tangent, but do you want to hear something weird? Listen to this verse:

“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows” (2 Cor. 12:2).

Here, Paul is boasting about this revelation he had where he was granted a vision of the concealed realm where God dwells (heaven). I think it was Paul’s brief glimpse into the eternal that empowered him to see past the temporal and fight the good fight, finish his race, and ultimately keep the faith.

Paul wrote that while we dwell here on earth we see all things in a “mirror dimly,” (1 Cor. 13) because sin has pervaded every fiber of our being and conscience, “but then,”at the second coming of Christ, we will see fully,“face to face.” You see, as long as “we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:6). That’s why Paul considered it gain if he were to die.

I guess I still haven’t answered the question: what will worship look like in heaven?

I believe that the same two commandments that were greatest on this earth will survive to the next: love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. But what does that look like? Peter Kreeft said, “Freud, who occasionally comes up with nuggets of wisdom sandwiched between mountains of nonsense, says that everyone needs two things to make life worth living: love and work.”2

If all truth is indeed God’s truth, then I think ol’ Freud got this one right. When we leave these earthly tents, we will go home to our Lord, to a place where the streets are paved with gold. This means that, what is most precious to us here on earth, we will gladly tread on in His kingdom. For He, Christ, is our greatest treasure, and we will joyfully work for Him without “painful toil” (remember that God is the author of vocation, see Genesis 2:15) and without the shroud of sin clouding our sight to see our true boss, the King. Essentially, heaven will be a functioning city with Jesus as the King over all.

More than our vocation,

“Our greatest joy will be that we “will see his face” (Rev. 22:4). The sight of God’s face will be the fulfillment of everything we know to be good, right, and desirable in the universe. In God’s face, we will see and experience the fulfillment of all the longing we have ever had — the longing to know perfect love, peace, and joy, to know truth and justice, holiness and wisdom, goodness and power, glory and beauty. We will discover that in God’s presence “there is fullness of joy” and at his right hand “pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16:11).”3

To sum it up: in heaven, we will worship God for all eternity; not only with our voices, but by living, breathing, moving, eating, and working, with thankfulness in our hearts to our Lord and Savior, to whom we belong.

If you can, I encourage you to memorize the first question and answer in the Westminster Catechism:

Q. What is the chief end of man? A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. ___________ 1 Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), 1 Co 10:23–33. 2 Peter Kreeft. “What Will Heaven Be Like?”, http://www.christianitytoday.com/biblestudies/articles/theology/090128.html (accessed October 24, 2012). 3 Grudem, Wayne; Grudem, Elliot (2009-03-10). Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know (Kindle Locations 2057-2060). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.