Lord's Day Liturgy

Not Your Modern’s Therapy

Worship is not therapy, at least not as moderns define therapy. Worship includes treatment to relieve or heal a disorder, the dictionary definition of therapy, but worship heals us so that we can die.

I don’t remember the last time I heard someone talk about it, but I’ve read about what some preachers lament as our modern religious predilection for “therapeutic moralistic deism.” Deism means that people believe in a God, moralistic means that there is some sense of right and wrong, and therapeutic means that there is some sort of topical remedy or way to deal with the bad feelings that we have because we probably haven’t done everything right according to this God.

The weekly exhortation to confession, and prayer of confession, and reminder of forgiveness from a different Scripture text, is the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Lamb slain in order to pay for our sins, in order that we might come and die with Him as living sacrifices.

God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three Persons, one God and Lord. Sin is personal. God is holy, holy, holy. He has given His Word, His law, and every mouth is shut before it (Romans 3:19). We have all sinned and fallen short of His glory. And again, He heals us, by His wounds. He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24), “that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.”

And this makes us sacrifices of worship. Remember the work of His living and active Word, sharper than any two-edged sort, discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. We are “naked and exposed” before Him, we are “laid bear,” which is from the Greek word trachelizo, to twist and expose the neck of a sacrifice.

Being cut by the Word so that we can offer ourselves before the throne of grace is a kind of therapy, and it starts with confessing our sins.