By Rev Dr Edward Goh
Question 1 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism teaches us “the chief end of Man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” But who is God? What is He like? Our answers will shape our response to Him, and our capacity to worship and delight in Him fittingly. In fact, the first two of the Ten Commandments suggest our failure to worship and love God rightly from the depths of our hearts is largely a function of our idolatrous and false images of Him (Ex. 20:1-4). So what shapes and informs our picture of God?
Rom. 1:20 says that from the things created, we can see God’s divine power and invisible attributes. The same passage also warns that in our fallen nature, we often suppress the truths about God. One way we do so today is to project our negative experiences in our dysfunctional relationships onto our relationship with God. For example, if we grew up under parents who were perpetually absent from our lives, we may imagine God as distant and indifferent, or we have experienced injustice and may see God as unfair.
How then can we correct our view of God? Heb. 1:1-2 tell us that in the past God revealed Himself to us in many ways through His prophets in the Old Testament. In these last days, God has revealed Himself to us in His Son. This does not mean the Old Testament has been replaced by the message of Christ in the New Testament. Rather, this calls us to read the Old Testament in the light of Christ.
Paul demonstrates this approach to us in the book of Romans. He begins in Rom. 1:1-4 by showing the Gospel is about Christ, the Son of God who became the son of David as promised by the prophets. He then moves on in Romans 1 to 11 to reveal the mercies of God for all men through this Gospel. This finally leads to his call in Rom. 12:1-2 for our reasonable response of worship.
Hence, brothers and sisters, to worship God rightly, we are called to behold Him through the Christ revealed to us in Scriptures. The Gospel in our whole Bible is God’s means of grace to transform our hearts and renew our minds in the true knowledge of God so that we may present to Him our entire being as our holy, delightful, and fitting response of worship.