From Luke, chapter 7
41 "Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?"
43 Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled."
"You have judged correctly," Jesus said.
44 Then he [Jesus] turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."
A definite correlation between love and forgiveness is evident in this passage. The woman pictured here loves Jesus more because of the great sin debt that has been forgiven. Yet, it would seem that the woman was forgiven because of her great love for her Lord. Is it possible that love and forgiveness take on a circular effect? Forgiveness magnifies love magnifies forgiveness... But that's not all!
In the midst of all the love and forgiveness is WORSHIP! This woman pour out everything she had in worship of her Lord - tears, kisses, and perfume. She had to assume a lowly position in order to wash the feet of her Lord (an act which our Lord would later implement in order to demonstrate his humble love for the disciples). So now add worship to the equation: forgiveness magnifies love magnifies worship magnifies forgiveness magnifies love...
But wait a minute, how is it that worship magnifies forgiveness? Maybe one more word should be thrown into the mix: humility. Forgiveness magnifies love magnifies worship magnifies humility magnifies forgiveness... Humility ultimately causes us to have a greater awareness of our sin. God does not cause us to have a remembrance of specific past sins (Phil. 3:13; Jer. 31:34; Ps. 103.12), but throughout the writings of Paul, to the saints in the churches, is a general remembrance of who we were apart from Christ - sinners without hope (see especially Ephesians 2:1-4 and then throughout the first 11 chapters of Romans). Of course, we should be confessing current sin as quickly as we are conviced.
As we dig deeper into the Word and learn more of who God is, we see more of who we are and who we were apart from Christ. Often times, we think of those who were saved from a life of overt sinfulness (drugs, alcohol, sexual sin) as those who have been forgiven much. But I submit to you that as we grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, our sin - past, present and future - becomes even more repulsive in our own eyes. Therefore, the forgiveness of our sin becomes even more appreciated and we become even smaller in our own eyes and God becomes even bigger in our worship.
Back to this beautiful woman's act of worship. We have never seen her but we know that she is beautiful because of what poured out from deep inside of her - an overflowing love for Jesus. Isn't that what worship is all about? Love for our Lord swelling up inside of us to a point it has to be released through glorifying God by enjoying him? Hopefully, our lives point more and more to the glory of God. Hopefully, as we see God at work all around us, we want to glorify him even more. Naturally, when we gather together with other believers in the presence of God Almighty and we combine the testimonies of God's glory as exhibited in the saints around us, the praise that swells up insides of us pours out in corporate worship! These testimonies should always be founded upon biblical doctrine so that the deeper the truth, the more exuberant the praise!
As we worshipped at Rockport yesterday, I was awestruck by moments of corporate exuberance. What brought me greatest joy is when those moments manifested themselves. It was not when the music was most driving or through manipulating leadership. It was not because of peer pressure to conform to those around us. No, spontaneous corporate exuberance climaxed as did the depth of doctrine in the words of the songs. Spontaneous corporate exuberance climaxed as did that of the one being baptised while giving testimony of God's forgiveness. Oh yes! Forgiveness magnified love magnified humility magnified worship!
May God be praised!