Morality As Worship

And while we’re on the subject of acting rightly…!

“Why should Christians act morally? Because if they do they will go to Heaven and if they don’t they will go to Hell? Surely that can’t be the answer. For as the New Atheists rightly point out, a morality based on self-interest is no morality at all.

It seems to me that the Biblical answer is that God demands worship and that acting morally is a form of worship… We are all baptized as priests, and I believe this is the key thing: we are called to give God right worship through our entire lives, including through right living.”

Source: Morality As Worship

I agree, and I think one of the keys, here, is the word “worship” itself. Originally stemming from “worth-ship,” it was something you gave another who deserved it: to “give worthship,” later contracted to “worship,” meant that you gave them the honour, and the behaviour, which was their due. You accorded them worth, and behaved accordingly.

Nor was it originally limited solely to the Deity: knights swore fealty to their lords “of life, and limb, and earthly worship,” and the old Prayer Book marriage service had the husband-to-be pledging to his new wife, “with this ring, I thee wed; with my body, I thee worship; with all my earthly goods, I thee endow.”

But God, of course, is uniquely deserving of worship, since He is the Source of all that is, and even when we give (whether it be worship or other forms of offering), “of Thine own have we given Thee.” So it makes sense that, as part of our “worth-ship” given to God, we include living and behaving in those ways which we are told in the Scriptures are pleasing to Him, and to refrain from those things that are un-pleasing.

If you truly love and give worth-ship to your wife, you would intentionally do things you knew were displeasing to her, would you? And if you were a knight, you certainly wouldn’t intentionally do things you knew were displeasing to your lord! The same holds true, or should – and if anything, even moreso – when it comes to God, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and also the Bridegroom of His Bride, the Church.

Of course, this is an ideal which we, as humans, are incapable of perfectly living up to. That’s where penitence comes in! But we can certainly make the effort.

Author: The Anglophilic Anglican

I am an ordained Anglican clergyman, published writer, former op-ed columnist, and experienced outdoor and informal educator. I am also a traditionalist: religiously, philosophically, politically, and socially. I seek to do my bit to promote and restore the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, in a world which has too-often lost touch with all three, and to help re-weave the connections between God, Nature, and humankind which our techno-industrial civilization has strained and broken.

2 thoughts on “Morality As Worship”

  1. “Christians are “God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works” (Ephesians 2:10). And these last four words “to do good works” epitomize the behavior that glorifies God and makes Christ real to others. Granted, there are obstacles in our daily lives that can encumber our minds and hinder our spiritual progress, but only if we let them. Nonetheless, Christians are called to live lives that are “holy and pleasing to God” (Romans 12:1), and exemplary Christian behavior that allows us to fully commit ourselves to serving the Lord is made possible as we are empowered by the Holy Spirit who enables us to do the Father’s will (Romans 8:9). Indeed, “the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).” This is taken from, but I thought it eloquently expressed a very good answer to the question. 🙂


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