But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24, ESV)You may recognize these verses as Jesus’ words to the woman at the well. Jesus and the woman are discussing a question of location: Where is the right place to worship God?
“God,” Jesus explains, “is spirit.” This might seem like a non-answer, but it isn’t. If God, as spirit, does not have a physical location, then those who worship him are not required to be at any one physical location to do so. There is no one right place to worship our God who is not himself limited to space. He can be worshipped everywhere.
While there is not one required place to worship God, there are indeed “musts” for our worship. Real worship, Jesus goes on, must be done “in spirit and truth.”
True worship comes from the spirit. The source is inside us, from the part of us that makes us spiritual beings. Worship “in spirit,” then, requires spiritual life. Only those who have been born again—or born of the Spirit—can worship God. Or to put it another way, only true believers are true worshippers.
Genuine worship is “from the heart,” to use a phrase that is more familiar than “in spirit.” Postures of worship, like bowed head, closed eyes, and raised hands, are not what makes our worship real, nor are other worship rituals—although these may be sincere outward expressions of worship in spirit.
Kim touched on what this means in her post introducing the topic of worship. “Fundamental to worship,” she wrote, “is the revelation of God.” And again, “Worship is founded on the knowledge of God.” Worship "in truth" is worship of God as he has revealed himself—as he really is.
Someone who worships in truth gets God right because they know and believe what God says. Essential to worship then, is God's word. An "in truth" worshipper reads and studies the Bible to know what God tells us about himself.
It's in scripture, too, that we come to know the Son who became a human being and dwelt among us in a physical location so we could see God who is spirit. Worship "in truth" focuses on the Son as the ultimate revelation of God—as the ultimate Truth.