“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him” (John 4:23).
After pointing the Samaritan away from specific places of worship and then telling her of the superiority of the Jewish faith over hers, Jesus then tells the woman about “the true worshipers.” In verse 21, Jesus said that the hour “is coming” when people will not worship either in that mountain or in Jerusalem; now, though, in verse 23, He says that the hour “now is” that all true worshipers will worship in spirit and in truth. In other words, do not look to some past glory, and do not look to some future event. Rather, the time “now is” to give the Lord the worship He deserves, and through that worship experience the love, the grace, and the salvation that He offers.
Jesus said that all true worshipers will “worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” What do these two elements represent, and how are we to apply this to our worship experience today? See also Mark 7:6–9.
Jesus here is calling for a balanced form of worship: a worship that comes from the heart, that is sincere and deeply felt, that comes from the love and the fear of God. There is nothing wrong with emotions in worship; after all, our religion calls upon us to love God (1 John 5:2, Mark 12:30), and how can that be separated from emotions?
At the same time, God calls upon His true worshipers to worship Him “in truth.” God has revealed His will, His truth, His law—truth that we are expected to believe and obey. True worshipers will love God, and from that love seek to serve Him, obey Him, and do what is right. Yet, how can they know what is right without knowing the truth about faith, obedience, salvation, and so forth? The idea that beliefs do not matter, that only a sincere spirit matters, is misguided. It is only half of the equation. Correct beliefs do not save, but they will give us a great understanding of the character of God, and that should make us love and serve Him all the more.
Is your worship more spirit than truth, or more truth than spirit? How can you learn to incorporate and balance both these aspects of worship?