The Worship Quote of the Week for (02/10/2009):

Worship in Freedom, Not Bondage
Nearly every morning, usually around 5:05 A.M., I read a short excerpt from John Stott's commentary on the New Testament. (It is an e-mail that comes from Today's WORSHIP QUOTE is an excerpt from Stott's study of Galatians 4 and reminds us that, because of Christ's completed work on the cross, you and I can worship as sons and daughters of God, not as slaves. Please read on about John Wesley's dramatic conversion—the realization that a right relationship with God is accomplished through faith alone, not through religious observance.

The Christian life is the life of sons and daughters; it is not the life of slaves. It is freedom, not bondage. Of course, we are slaves of God, of Christ, and one another. (See, e.g., Rom. 6:22; 1 Cor. 7:22, 23; 2 Cor. 4:5). We belong to God, to Christ, to one another, and we love to serve those to whom we belong. But this kind of service is freedom. What the Christian life is not, is a bondage to the law, as if our salvation hung in the balance and depended on our meticulous and slavish obedience to the letter of the law. As it is, our salvation rests upon the finished work of Christ, on His sin-bearing, curse-bearing death, embraced by faith.

Yet so many religious people are in bondage to their religion! They are like John Wesley in his post-graduate Oxford days in the Holy Club. He was the son of a clergyman and already a clergyman himself. He was orthodox in belief, religious in practice, upright in conduct and full of good works. He and his friends visited the inmates of the prisons and work-houses of Oxford, They took pity on the slum children of the city, providing them with food, clothing and education. They observed Saturday as the Sabbath as well as Sunday. They went to church and to Holy Communion. They gave alms, searched the Scriptures, fasted and prayed. But they were bound in the fetters of their own religion, for they were trusting in themselves that they were righteous, instead of putting their trust in Jesus Christ and Him crucified. A few years later, John Wesley (in this own words) came to "trust in Christ, in Christ only for salvation" and was given an inward assurance that his sins had been taken away. After this, looking back to his pre-conversion experience, he wrote: "I had even then the faith of a SERVANT, though not that of a son."

--John Stott, GALATIANS: A COMMENTARY BY JOHN STOTT (accessed February 2009 at For many other worship quotations by John Stott, please see .

Have a great week,

Chip Stam
School of Church Music and Worship
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky

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