As contemporary Christians have become increasingly detached from both the drama of Scripture and its doctrinal significance, our praise has shifted from a focus on God and his glory to our individual worship experiences. Yet we are not only called to gather once a week to sing God’s praises and to receive his good gifts, but also throughout the rest of the week to be loving, generous, and hospitable to others in grateful response to all that God has done for us.
The hosts will discuss issues related to worship and doxology as they continue their series, Finding Yourself in God’s Story, on this episode of the White Horse Inn.
Term to Learn:
“What is justification?” Forgiveness of sins and declared righteous. You need the sacrifice on the cross, the penal substitutionary sacrifice, and Jesus’ obedience. What you start seeing throughout the entire Old Testament, not just Psalm 51 and Hebrews, is Jesus is the true Israel who fulfilled what Israel was supposed to be. So, he is the true vine who doesn’t need to get chopped off and thrown away. He is the fruitful one.
“This is important for people to see because many people think, okay, Jesus died on the cross. I’m forgiven of my sins. I’m back to zero. Now, it’s up to me to add to that account and what we’re saying, what this text is saying is, no, he is the obedient son and we are co-inheritors of this inheritance now. We’re in Christ. Because we’re in Christ, all of his benefits and all of his obedience, all that he has done is given to us. This is really helpful for people to see, is that Jesus doesn’t just get us back to zero but he deposits into our account his righteousness.” – Justin Holcomb
While some of our habits are acquired by choosing to engage in certain practices (e.g., signing up for drivers’ ed or registering for piano lessons), many are acquired without out our knowing it. And this might happen especially when we are unaware of it. If we are inattentive to the formative role of practices, or if we treat some practices as thin when they are thick, then we will be inattentive to all the ways that such practices unwittingly and unintentionally become automated. We will fail to recognize that they are forming in us habits and desires, oriented to particular ends that function to draw us toward those ends at an affective, unconscious level such that we become certain kinds of people without even being aware of it.
Liturgies are rituals of ultimate concern: rituals that are formative for identity, that inculcate particular visions of the good life, and do so in a way that means to trump other ritual formations. Our thickest practices – which are not necessarily linked to institutional religion – have a liturgical function insofar as they are a certain species of ritual practice that aim to do nothing less than shape our identity by shaping our desire for what we envision as the kingdom – the ideal of human flourishing. (James K.A. Smith, “Love Takes Practice” in Desiring the Kingdom, pp. 85-87)