True worship involves the face of God, as it were, and also the facts of God.
"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. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23-24).
Genuine response to the Lord must be personal, that is, we look into His face (speaking figuratively, of course). We also seek to know the facts about Him, as provided in the Bible. The Holy Spirit supplies the former by revealing the Lord Jesus Christ to believers as not merely a figure of history, but as a living, personal Savior who is actually and actively involved in our lives. "The Spirit beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God" (Romans 8:16). Moreover, the Spirit also leads and enables us in our reading and study of Scripture to rightly gather, understand, and apply the truths written by the prophets and apostles. "The Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things" (John 14:26). Believers are thereby enabled to walk with God "in spirit and in truth" as we seek to be devotional and doctrinal, personal and principled, and facial and factual in our response to Him.
By suggesting that we look into God's face (a physical impossibility in our present existence), we simply mean that we expect our Heavenly Father's aforementioned personal involvement to be revealed in our hearts and lives. Indeed, the believers mentioned in both Old Testament and New all experienced God in terms of living reality. He revealed Himself to them, and they knew Him. The characteristics of such illumination differed in both degree and nature, but the saints of Scripture all knew God. They spiritually looked upon His face, in response to His grace. God was there with them, in more than merely terms of fact and principle. And, He is here with us if we have believed, existing and consisting as the greatest reality of our lives. "I am with you… I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5).
Such a blessed gift of grace, personal as it is, must be also known in terms of fact. Thus, our Heavenly Father gives to us the blessed gift of the Bible. "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (Psalm 119:105). Merely looking into God's face (again, speaking in spiritual terms of personally relating to God by faith), is not enough to keep us on the straight and narrow path of life. God made us as minds, as well as hearts. We must increasingly understand the doctrines of Scripture if we are walk in the devotion of the Spirit. "Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee" (Psalm 119:11). Attempting to walk with the Lord of the Word apart from the Word of the Lord leads to a false worship that deceives us into believing that we know God when we actually don't. We rightly recognize His face in the light of His facts. "In Thy light shall we see light" (Psalm 36:9).
We must seek to be both personal and principled in our worship of God - "in spirit and in truth". The train of our devotion rolls on these two tracks. Remove either and we derail. We know God in the light of His truth, and we know His truth in the light of His Person. Let us build an altar in our hearts to this reality of true worship, or revisit it often if we have already done so. Only thereby do we walk with our Lord as the "true worshippers" in the living and factual reality we must both experience and understand.
"Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened."
Weekly Memory Verse
"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. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth."