In these bulletin articles, we’ve been going through a list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism, published in the 17th Century. We’ve been looking at God’s law as summarised in the ten commandments and started by examining the first commandment: ‘You shall have no other gods before me’ (Exodus 20:3). We’ve seen that the first commandment requires that you acknowledge and worship God by remembering, esteeming, honouring, loving, desiring, fearing, trusting, praising and obeying him; and by hoping, delighting and rejoicing in him; and by being zealous for him. But how else can you worship God?
It should go without saying that if God is your God than you should worship him by pleasing him. If someone is important to you, you wish to make them happy with you. And that should hold true for your Lord.
The apostle John mentions this essential part of worship of God: ‘Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him’ (1 John 3:21-22).
Ecclesiastes also reminds us of the importance of pleasing God: ‘To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God’ (Ecclesiastes 2:26),
Another strong encouragement to please God comes from the Apostle Paul: ‘Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more’ (1 Thessalonica 4:1). And again, Paul writes that he prays that the church in Colosse would please God: ‘For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way’ (Colossians 1:9-12)
But yet again, as we consider this aspect of our worship of God, we realise that far too often we have been displeasing to God rather than pleasing to him. We rightly deserve his wrath.
So what are you to do? Thankfully, one person was always pleasing to God: Jesus Christ. In John’s gospel we read: ‘So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him’ (John 8:28-30).
The Bible teaches that if you put your faith in Jesus, as those people did so long ago, then God sees you with pleasure. God no longer sees your sin when he looks at you, instead he sees Christ’s righteousness. And that righteousness always pleases him!
So have you listened to the words of Jesus and put your faith in him? Or are you still displeasing to God because you remain in your sins?