Terry R Baughman is Lead Pastor for LifeChurch in Gilbert, AZ. See his complete bio at trbaughman.com
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Victory! Our Hope in Christ
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
The declaration of the glory of God is the essence of praise. Throughout Scripture, but predominately in the Psalms there is exaltation of God’s majesty and glory, “O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens!” (Psalm 8:1). Even when David lived as a fugitive from the King and was hiding in a cave, he still sang, “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; Let Your glory be above all the earth” (Psalm 57:5, 11). Regardless of our personal difficulties or perilous situation we can always have a praise on our lips and a song in our heart that exalts the name of the Lord.
Praise is recognizing the wonderful works of God and understanding that He is always worthy. We praise Him because what He has done. Worship, on the other hand, is an acknowledgement of who He is. While they are sometimes seen as synonymous terms we actively participate in praise and worship. Jesus spoke of the quality of true worshipers when he met the woman by the well of Samaria. Jesus said, “True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.” He went on to declare, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24).
True followers of Christ have the privilege and the responsibility to be true worshipers. Only they have the ability to worship God in spirit and truth. Becoming a true worshiper is neither a duty nor drudgery, but a joyful opportunity to express gratitude to God for who He is and for what He has done in our lives. We cannot help but proclaim His praises when we have been the recipients of so much grace and so many blessings!
Peter compared our spiritual experience as being, “Called out of darkness and into His marvelous light” (See the text above.) We have all experienced the darkness of sin and the oppression of evil. We have stumbled through life without direction, hindered by the inability to focus, and crushed with the weight of despair, but when Jesus called our name all the darkness dissipated, direction became clear, and the oppression melted away in the light of His glorious truth.
The old path was leading to destruction. As the wise man observed, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 16:25). Jesus came with an assurance of hope and a promise, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). He declared,“I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
Our hope for a better life is found only in Jesus Christ, and He is our assurance of victory over sin, death, hell, and the grave. The message of the Gospel and the power of the resurrection guarantees the victory over darkness and the illumination of His presence in our lives. That is why we sing, we rejoice, and we celebrate Jesus throughout our lives. He is worthy!
We can celebrate with the psalmist, “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is the great God, And the great King above all gods” (Psalm 95:1-3).
Welcome to the victorious life!
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).