One very significant benefit for us is that all of us who believe are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. While the Spirit has been at work throughout all of history since His hovering over the face of the waters on day one of creation, since Pentecost, He lives in the hearts of all His new creations.
The advantage plays out everywhere, but we should see the application for our Lord’s day worship, for our weekly liturgy, and for our regular celebration of communion.
The Jews were no less responsible to worship wholeheartedly even though their worship was prescribed in detail, with God-appointed times and places and ceremonial procedures. As fun as an annual seven day camping trip to the capital city may sound (think: the Feast of Booths), the Israelites were obligated to do it, even when business was suffering and the kids were out of control and the weather was scorching.
We, too, have various distractions week to week. Things are often out of place and it seems that the last thing we want to do is gather for corporate worship, or to eat and drink in practice of this ancient ordinance.
But not only do we have the truth, not only do we have the freedom and opportunity to meet as well as the provisions to do so, we have God’s own Spirit filling us, strengthening us, transforming us, producing fruit in us, and blessing others through us. Our celebration of the Lord’s Table need not be dry, it is wet with God’s gracious presence in us.
Weekly worship on the Lord’s day isn’t only hard, it’s impossible for those who aren’t spiritual. In order to worship the true God who is spirit, we must worship in truth and in spirit. We too often assume that we can worship Him in truth and in flesh.
Take confession of sin for an example. We absolutely must acknowledge and confess our sin, as well as seek forgiveness and cleansing from our sin if we would draw near to the holy God. We need to confess and we need to want to confess, otherwise we’d merely be going through the motions. But we can’t comprehend our sin, let alone want to confess our sin without God’s help, namely without God’s Spirit.
We assume that we have the ability to repent whenever we want. We assume that we have access to forgiveness whenever we want. We act as if we can decide to flip a worship switch on Sunday and make it happen. We act as if we can do spiritual activities without the Spirit.
The assuming mindset is an unbelieving mindset. We do not believe God’s Word to us about the deceiving and enslaving power of our flesh. We do not believe God’s Word to us about the illuminating and delivering power of the Spirit. We do not believe God’s Word to us about the personhood of the Spirit, that He is a person that blows where He wishes, not a power outlet passively waiting for us to plug in whenever we wish.
We assume we get can ready and do this worship thing on our own. We need to confess our fleshly, unbelieving independence from Him who is our life and from the Spirit who gave it to us.