Worship of Christ and the Biblical Covenant -- By: Richard C. Leonard
RAR 2:2 (Spring 1993) p. 101
Worship of Christ and the Biblical Covenant
Some things are so obvious we tend to overlook them. Suppose I ask you, “What is the first thing you need to do in order to stay alive?” You might give several different answers, but there is only about a 50 percent chance you would give the obvious answer: “Keep breathing.” The act of breathing is so automatic, and the air so invisible, that we forget about them until some respiratory crisis brings them to our attention.
It can be the same with our understanding of biblical teaching. Especially with evangelical Christians, whose high view of biblical authority can lead to prooftexting, it is easy to get caught up in the details and lose sight of the larger picture—what John Wesley called “the whole scope and tenor of Scripture.” Thus Christians often focus on specific issues in a way which fails to integrate these issues into the central theme of Scripture. This loss of perspective can result in serious distortion of biblical doctrine, and in the failure to understand what the scriptural authorities are really driving at.
What, then, is this “central theme” of the Bible? The answer lies in asking why the Bible was given in the first place. When you stop to think about it, Scripture came into being as the expression of the relationship between God and His people. To use the formula that occurs repeatedly in Scripture, “I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Lev. 26:12; Jer. 31:33; Ezek. 37:27, etc.). The Bible typically portrays this relationship in terms of the covenant or its theological equivalents: the kingdom of God, the family of God, new life through union with the Son of God. All issues and concerns raised in Scripture have their place within the ebb and flow of the covenant relationship between the Lord and those who have pledged their loyalty to Him in worship and obedience. In this sense, covenant is the air we breathe in Scripture. Even where the concept of the covenant recedes into the background, it still supplies the framework
RAR 2:2 (Spring 1993) p. 102
and the thematic material for understanding all parts of the Old and New Testaments. In particular, it has profound implications for our worship of Christ as Lord and King.
Worship As Covenant
Worship has been defined in many ways, but at heart it is the expression of our relationship with the Lord. Whatever happens in genuine worship (and much passes for worship which is not really worship), some statement is being made about the fact that the Lord is our...
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