Why New Covenant Worship is Superior to Old Covenant Worship Part 1

Hebrews-8-7-Old-and-New-Covenants-beige-copy

There is much to be said about the two covenants or promises of God to man with regard to God’s own revelation of Himself and His works in the Old and New Testaments of Holy Scripture. Of crucial importance is worship to God. In this brief study we will look into how the New Covenant (NC) is superior or better to the Old Covenant (OC). We will define worship and look at some details of both covenants that will give us greater incite. Finally and most importantly we will look at some applications for us today that will inevitably affect how we worship the Lord in our New Covenant context.

INTRODUCTION

Worship of our Creator is infused in our DNA. It is placed in every fiber of our being. As beings made in the image of God, we have this innate sense that we are to worship. Daniel Block tells us, “To be human is to worship. This statement is supported in the Scriptures, declared in our creeds, and evident from history.” He then adds support to this claim in footnote form, pointing out that Psalm 150:6 declares: ‘Let all who have breath praise YHWH’ (his translation). Also in creed form with the first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647) answered the proposed: ‘What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.’”1 Therefore, we have come to understand that our purpose is to bring glory to God through worship of Him.

Worshipping-God

The apostle Paul tells us in his letter to the church in Rome,

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened (Rom 1:18-21).2

God has programed us to worship; we just worship the wrong things many times. Our tendency because of our depravity is to ascribe worth to things other than God. Now the passage just mentioned is referring to unregenerate people, so lack of true worship to God replaced with idolatry is always the case with them, but is it not also true that regenerate people can at times replace true worship with idolatry? Getting an understanding of what true worship to God is, particularly in the New Covenant context will help the people of God remain committed and focused on what matters to God and how its expression is different now in the church age than what it was before.

The subject of worship carries with it a wealth of information from the entirety of divine Holy Scripture. So as the title indicates, this study will but scratch the surface of the depth of such a doctrine. This brief exploration on the topic will briefly define Old and New Covenant worship and especially how the NC is superior to the OC. I also want to make some applications for the church today that can be useful in gaining a better understanding of NC worship. This will inform our hearts and minds and by the grace of the Holy Spirit we will worship God rightly.

In Part 2 we’ll define worship in both contexts.

Grace and Peace!

J.D.N.

Footnotes 1-2 of 32 (for entire article)

1 Daniel I. Block, For the Glory of God: Recovering a Biblical Theology of Worship (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014), 1.

2 All Scripture citations in this work are taken from The Holy Bible English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2001) unless otherwise noted.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Block, Daniel. For the Glory of God: Recovering a Biblical Theology of Worship. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004.

Begbie, Jeremy. “Worship.” In Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible. Edited by Kevin J. Vanhoozer. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2005.

Chapell, Bryan. Christ-Centered Worship. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2009.

Church, Chris. “High Priest” in Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Edited by C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, E. R. Clendenen, & T. C. Butler. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003.

Due, Noel. Created For Worship From Genesis to Revelation to You. Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 2005.

Elwell, Walter, and Barry Beitzel “Lord of Hosts” in Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible. Volume Two. Edited by Walter Elwell. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988.

Frame, John M. Worship in Spirit and Truth A Refreshing Study of the Principles and Practice of Biblical Worship. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1996.

Hauser, Alan J. and Kellet, Earl. “History of the Temple” in The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Edited by J.D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, and W. Widder. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015.

Lamey, Paul. “The Reading of Scripture” The Expositors Blog, April 12, 2016. Accessed April 12, 2016, http://www.expositors.org/blog/the-reading- of-scripture/.

Lawrence, Michael. Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church: A Guide for Ministry. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010.

Patzia, Arthur G, and Petrotta, Anthony J. Pocket Dictionary of Biblical Studies. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002.

Peterson, David G. “Worship.” In New Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Edited by T. Desmond Alexander, and Brian S. Rosner. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000.

_____ Engaging With God A Biblical Theology of Worship. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1995.

Rooker, Mark F., Merrill, Eugene H., and Grisanti, Michael A. The World and the Word An Introduction to the Old Testament. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2011.

Schnackenburg, Rudolph. The Epistle To The Ephesians. Edinburgh, Scotland: T&T Clark LTD, 1991.

Sproul, R.C. Everyone’s A Theologian An Introduction to Systematic Theology. Sanford, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2014.

Tripp, Tedd. Shepherding A Child’s Heart: Second Edition. Wapwallopen, PA: Shepherd Press, 2005.

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