When most people hear the word theology, they may first think of something reserved only for those in seminary. Though it can be highly technical, theology is simply the study of God. R.C. Sproul wrote a book titled, Everyone’s A Theologian. This is true, especially for Christians, and is crucially important for all Christians. Every Christian should be continually growing and progressing in their knowledge and understanding of who God is. The way we view God—the way we think of God—has a tremendous influence on the way we worship God and on the way we live our lives.
When most people hear the word doxology, their minds may again turn to seminarians and theologians. Simply put, doxology is worship—an expression of praise to God. When most Christians hear the word worship, they likely immediately think of the congregational singing that they participate in every Sunday at church. There is no question the Christian music industry has played a major part in this, particularly over the past twenty years at least. Worship has become synonymous with what is now called worship music. Congregational singing is most certainly an important part of the worship of God. Indeed it is mandated by Scripture. However, worship is much more than congregational singing. It involves every single aspect of life. The way we do everything we do, the way we think, speak, interact, the things we desire, the way we use our money, time and talents, is all worship. And, it all reflects the way we view God.
OUR THEOLOGY FUELS OUR DOXOLOGY
There are many good definitions of worship. One of the simplest ways of defining worship is to say that it is our response to the revelation of who God is. God has revealed Himself to mankind in His Word, The Bible and in His Creation. Our doxology—our worship—is our response to that revelation. Our view of God encapsulates all that He has revealed of Himself to us in Scripture and creation. It also includes all of His attributes and His mighty acts. It centers around His plan of redemption, the gospel. As we behold all of these truths about God, we respond in worship. We must understand that our worship of God—in the gathered church and in the way we live our lives for His glory—is the direct result of how we view God, or what we think of God. Our theology fuels our doxology.
Steven J. Lawson has said, “A high view of God leads to high worship and holy living, but a low view of God leads to trivial worship and low living.” We see evidence of this assertion in Scripture. In Exodus 32 we find a sad example of a low view of God. It is the story of the Israelites growing impatient with Moses being away on Mt. Sinai meeting with God and receiving the Ten Commandments from God. The people had begun to view God as just a supplier, not as the thrice Holy God that He is. As a result of their low view of God and their selfish desires, they asked Aaron to make gods for them. In short order, a golden calf was made and an altar before it by Aaron. The people then offered burnt offerings to this cast idol and had a great party. This is not even trivial worship for the people were no longer worshiping the one true God. They had sunk into idol worship. This is low living at its worst.
On the other hand, we read of the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 6 being granted a vision of the LORD seated upon His glorious throne. As soon as Isaiah gazed upon the holiness of God, he immediately understood his sinfulness in relation to a Holy God and cried out, “Woe is me!” After having his sins atoned for, Isaiah committed himself to the service of God saying, “Here I am! Send me.” This is high worship and holy living.
OUR GREATEST TREASURE
These are but two of many such examples in Scripture that reveal to us the immense importance of how we view God and how we respond in our worship of Him. If we have only a superficial, trivial view of God, our worship and our living will also be superficial and trivial. We will also spend our days living for ourselves and searching for other things to satisfy us thereby bringing glory to ourselves. If our view of God is one of awe and reverential fear, and if we honor Him as supreme above all, our worship will soar to greater heights in response. Our lives will grow increasingly in holiness and will bring greater glory and honor to the One we worship. God will be seen as our greatest treasure rather than things, circumstances, other people, and ourselves (Romans 1:25).
In order for us to worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:24) and to live our lives as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1), rising to a level beyond the trivial and superficial, we must have a high and proper view of God. For us to see God in this way, we must set our eyes upon God as revealed in Scripture constantly reflecting upon His attributes. We must remind ourselves of the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-8) and humble ourselves in gratitude for our salvation understanding that the gospel is the lavishing of God’s undeserved and unearned grace and mercy upon us. We must look upon all of these things and respond accordingly in high worship and holy living. This does not mean perfection for we are incapable of that this side of heaven. It does mean, however, that in “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6b) we realize the magnitude and the worth of the One we worship and our worship and our living will reflect that realization.