For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
I. WHAT IT IS TO WORSHIP GOD IN THE SPIRIT.
1. Christ has respect to the whole of our service and obedience to God. The parts of it are two: holiness, or our duty to God; righteousness, or our duty to man (Luke 1:74-75). The Christian life is, as it were, one continued act of worship, where all our actions, natural, civil, and religious, meet in God (Acts 26:7; Revelation 7:15).
2. It has respect to those duties which are properly parts of worship. The Christian(1) worships God with his heart, soul, and spirit, and not with his body only (Romans 1:9; John 4:24). This implies(a) internal worship, called for by the first commandment. The true Christian's soul is a temple of God.
(b) Outward joined to inward (1 Corinthians 6:20).
(c) Spirituality — faith; love; goodwill; sincerity.
(2) By assistance from and influence of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 6:18; Jude 1:20).
(a) The Spirit gives habitual grace to make men capable of spiritual worship (John 3:6).
(b) He gives actual grace, influences to stir up grace (Romans 7:26).
II. THIS WORSHIP IS A DISTINGUISHING MARK OF THE TRUE CHRISTIAN.
1. All true Christians have it, for —
(1) All of them are spiritual (John 3:6). Everything that brings forth, brings forth its like.
(2) All of them have the Spirit of God dwelling in them (Romans 8:9).
(3) That worship which is merely outward is but the carcase of duties, unacceptable to God; and they who never perform more are hypocrites (Matthew 15:7-8).
(4) External worship is properly but the means of worship. Prayer, hearing, etc., tend to the promotion of love, trust, etc., and the enjoyment of God can never be found but in worshipping Him in the Spirit.
2. That none but true Christians have this privilege is plain from this, that all others are in the flesh (Jude 1:19).
(T. Boston, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.