This passage points to a major shift that is beginning to emerge in redemptive history—the visible reign of Christ on the earth. It represents the culmination of the work of God and the sacrifice and faithfulness of the stewards of God. It is a call to worship. It is a call to walk now in the way of Christ. Says theologian Lee C. Camp:
Worship leads us to become a particular kind of people, a people who reflect the ways of the God we worship. Worship develops, forms, and shapes a particular kind of people. The important question then, who or what are we truly worshiping? The New Testament points us, consistently, to recount the story of a God who has delivered through a crucified Messiah. That storytelling, that recounting of God’s redemptive work in human history, becomes our story, our identity, and our profession of allegiance. In biblically informed worship, we become a part of the people of God who celebrate this way of victory, this way of conquering, this way of defeating enemies. The New Testament celebrates not merely that God has won in Christ, but that God has won in the crucified Christ.
The description of worship given in the book of Revelation illuminates this relation between worship and ethics. The assembly of God’s people, gathered around the throne, giving honor and glory to a slaughtered Lamb, leads to a community of people willing to walk in the way of Christ themselves, trusting that just as God raised a slaughtered Lamb, so shall he raise those who lose their lives in obedience. To ascribe honor to a slaughtered Lamb—unless it be mere lip service—necessarily leads us to obedience to the way of the Lamb. God has conquered, and we praise him. And because he is worthy of our praise, he is worthy—and authoritative—to reveal how faithful followers are to participate in the triumph of God’s purposes in human history.
Worship is an all-encompassing activity. It is being on our face at Christ’s feet, but it is also an attitude, an attention to God that we pay as we do other things. Author Randy Alcorn says that in heaven we will worship in this way:
Scripture says we’ll being doing many other things—living in dwelling places, eating and drinking, reigning with Christ, and working for him. Scripture depicts people standing, walking, traveling in and out of the city, and gathering at feasts. When doing these things, we won’t be on our faces before Christ. Nevertheless, all that we do will be an act of worship … Have you ever spent a day or several hours when you sensed the presence of God as you hiked, worked, gardened, drove, read, or did the dishes? Those are foretastes of Heaven—not because we are doing nothing but worshiping, but because we are worshiping God as we do everything else.
Think About It
In what ways does Scripture inform your worship?
Why is God worthy of your praise and worship?
What do you think heaven will be like?
Act on It
Determine a time when you can focus on sensing the presence of God while you go about a task. Then spend time reflecting on the experience.