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Liturgy and Holiness

What is the relationship between liturgy (how we
worship) and holiness? The answer I want to
propose is that a God-honoring liturgy produces
holiness. We end up looking like Jesus because of
how we worship Him. Over the next few weeks, I
hope to explore how our particular way of
worshiping is meant to further that work of grace in
our lives. But before we begin, I want to explain
why holiness is not the goal of liturgy, the supreme
goal, the only goal.
Holiness is not the goal of liturgy, because the
worshipers aren’t the goal of worship. Worship isn’t
about us. Adoration of the Triune God is the
ultimate goal of the liturgy, and it would be a
worthy goal even it didn’t result in any benefits for
us as worshipers. The true God deserves worship
because of who He is, and what He has done in
creating everything, not just because of what He
has done for you lately. When we think that the
main point of worship is winning God’s favor, or
attracting His attention, or even making us more
holy, we miss the deepest reason for worship. Even
if we didn’t look any more like Jesus after a life of
worshiping Him, He remains worthy of all
worship, honor, and praise because of who He is.
Even if we never experienced any change in our
lives, any emotions, any joy or awe in God’s
presence, even if we were never glad when they
said unto us “Let us go into the house of the Lord”,
our God would still be worthy of worship. Job
understood this, and provides a great example: In
Job 13:15, Job says this about God: “Though he
slay me, I will hope in him.” It sure didn’t seem
like Job was getting anything but misery out of
serving God, but he still worshiped Him.
So adoration is the ultimate purpose of worship.
Thankfully, that doesn’t rule out lesser purposes
like our sanctification. In fact, the secondary goal
serves the primary goal. When the liturgy produces
greater holiness in people, their worship gets
richer, fuller, and deeper. So we want our worship
to make us holier, so that we can fulfill the
supreme end of worship better.
—CJ

Posted on Sunday, May 13, 2012 by CJ Bowen