In spirit - Highway 65 Church of Christ

“In spirit” – with one’s emotional commitment
and heart’s deepest sincerity (Romans 9:1).
 “In truth” – authorized in scripture (Colossians
 Please understand that these principles are in the
text, but I believe there is much more to the
Lord’s statements in this text.
It has been somewhat concerning to me that we may
be superficially proof-texting the passage to answer
biblical arguments rather than carefully interpreting
the immediate context of scripture.
 Can we really dissect as distinguishable concepts
“in truth” and “in spirit”?
 Is it not true that to worship God “in spirit” is to
worship him “in truth” and to worship him “in
truth” is to worship him “in spirit”?
 I believe this very point reveals there may be more to
the verses under consideration.
Can the two really be separated?
The once concept of the phrase emphasizes the
spiritual nature of true worship:
 The
Samaritan woman had been taught that
worship of God was dependent on an external, i.e.
physical location, namely, Mount Gerizim (John 4:56, 12, 20; Deuteronomy 27:11).
 She was mistaken, for Jerusalem was the center of
worship under the First Covenant (4:22).
 To her worship was absorbed and centered on the
externals – “Jerusalem” or “This Mountain,” etc.
The once concept of the phrase emphasizes the
spiritual nature of true worship:
 Externals
Under O.T. were physical manifestations
of the spiritual:
 Some
have made the mistake of defining religious
externals under the Old Covenant as an “empty ritual,”
yet nothing could be further from the truth.
 While even her religious externals were faulty in claiming
access to the spiritual, i.e. “Jacob’s well” and “Mount
Gerizim,” the externals under the O.T. were not faulty, i.e.
“salvation is of the Jews.”
 The once concept of the phrase emphasizes the
spiritual nature of true worship:
 Externals
Under O.T. were physical manifestations of
the spiritual:
 The
types and shadows of the Old Law appealed to the physical
senses in order to foreshadow and typify the spiritual reality.
 The heart of the Law was “spiritual” (Romans 7:14), but the
means of the Law pointing toward the spiritual was an appeal to
the physical senses (Hebrews 8:4-5; 9:1-14, 23-24; 10:1).
 It is in this sense that the Old Law served only as a “tutor” or
“schoolmaster” to bring us unto Christ (Galatians 3:25).
 Worship through externals is not the highest form of worship.
Worshipping God “in spirit” identifies the
nature of worship whereby we may commune
with God, who is a Spirit.
 God’s nature, i.e. “Spirit” dictates the
requirement of true worship through which we
may commune with Him (Acts 17:29).
 Worship through “externals,” i.e. through types
and shadows is not the highest form of worship,
however worship of the Father through the Son
(reality) would be “in spirit and in truth.”
Albert Barnes writes, “The word ‘spirit,’ here,
stands opposed to rites and ceremonies, and to
the pomp of external worship. It refers to the
“mind,” the “soul,” the “heart.” They shall
worship God with a sincere “mind;” with the
simple offering of gratitude and prayer; with a
desire to glorify him, and without external pomp
and splendor. Spiritual worship is that where the
heart is offered to God, and where we do not
depend on external forms for acceptance…”
“The Father seeketh ...” - “Jesus gives two
reasons why this kind of worship should take
place. One is that God sought it, or desired it. He
had appointed the old mode, but he did it
because he sought to lead the mind to himself
even by those forms, and to prepare the people
for the purer system of the gospel, and now he
sought or desired that those who worshipped
him should worship him in that manner. He
intimated his will by Jesus Christ.”
“But ‘spirit’ here does not refer to the Holy Spirit, but
the spirit of man – that part of man’s constitution
through which he bears the image of God…the worship
in spirit is worship contrasted with all mere
carnal…shadows of the good things to come, all mere
ritual, all specialties of place, or time…It need not be in
despite of a genuine reverence for days, or seasons or
postures or washings and they, without this, will be
eventually valueless…Only the spirit of man can really
touch or commune with the Spirit of spirits and the
history of the new dispensation is the history of a
progress from forms to realities, from the earthly to the
heavenly” (Pulpit Commentary, p. 169, 170).
Why would one who has such direct access to God without
the externals want to return to such (Galatians 4:9-10).
Therefore, Christ is trying to get the Samaritan woman to see
that there is a more intimate and higher form of worship
which God has in mind through Christ that removes the
physical limitations and prejudices she has in mind.
Circumcision in the O.T. was a type of the circumcision of the
heart (Acts 7:51) and a “sign of the covenant” (Romans
4:11). Yet under the New Covenant physical circumcision is
not a requirement, whereas, the circumcision of the heart is
mandatory (Romans 2:28-29; Galatians 6:15).
In contrast to animal sacrifices we offer “spiritual
sacrifices” in the “spiritual house” of God (I Peter 2:5).
Indeed we have come to a “mountain that cannot be
touched” (Hebrews 12:18), which is described as
“heavenly Jerusalem” (12:22) – the “Kingdom” which is
“not of this world” (John 18:36).
While the New Covenant presents physical expressions
of the spiritual it does not present external forms which
point toward the spiritual.
“Truth” references a direct approach
God through His Son Jesus Christ
(Ephesians 2:11-13, 18, 22), i.e. this
is the spiritual sphere where we
worship God.
Notice how the term “truth” is used
predominately to refer to Christ
Himself being the revelation of and
embodiment of truth (John 1:14, 17;
4:23, 24; 5:33; 6:14; 7:40; 8:32, 40,
45, 46-47; 14:6; 16:7-14; 18:36-38).
“In truth - Not through the
medium of shadows and
types, not by means of
sacrifices and bloody
offerings, but in the manner
represented or typified by
all these, Heb_9:9,
Heb_9:24. In the true way of
direct access to God
through Jesus Christ.”
“‘And in truth’ i.e. as dealing
with reality, the adequate and
veracious expression of
genuine desires…
Forms…ceremonies…are all
inefficacious…and they can all
be dispensed with if need be…”
(Pulpit Commentary).
 Christ
is Messiah and is
the Means to the Father,
as well as the Spiritual
Reality of all Prefigures.
 To Worship God in Spirit
and in Truth We Must
Worship Through Him!

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