What is Worship in Spirit and in Truth?

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him  (John 4:23 KJV)

What does it mean to worship in spirit and truth

True worship is in spirit and in truth: it is the worship by true worshippers and in the true sanctuary. Deshen Daily for yesterday discussed the meaning of “true” as it applies to the worship and the tabernacle—true means the real, as opposed to the shadow or copy. 

Let us begin by reviewing what “in spirit and in truth” does not mean. First, it does not mean sincere worship. Our worship should be genuine, but sincerity is not the issue here. Second, to worship in spirit and truth is not to worship using our spirit and not our mind or body. It is not an out-of-body experience. 

Worship in spirit and in truth is a kind of worship that corresponds to God’s nature and occurs in the sphere in which He lives. It is the real kind of worship God seeks after. The two words—spirit and truth — describe the same thing from two perspectives. Truth or the real thing is spirit instead of the shadows, copies, or formalities of empty outward ceremonial activities. Though spirit is God’s nature as in John 4:24, it is also the innermost part of our nature that communes with God. God connects with man spirit-to-spirit. Worship in spirit and truth is the kind of worship from those whose spirits commune with God and whose worship activities carry the spirit dimension that not only reaches God but brings the real offerings that please Him. 

In Christ, you are a true worshipper by default. You do not need to do something to begin worshipping in spirit and truth. You are already worshipping in spirit and truth. Your life, body, worship, praise, thanksgiving, etc., are all worship activities that are a sweet aroma to God: because you have a new spirit, filled with the Holy Spirit and able to give to God what He is looking for!

Read more: True Worship in the True Tabernacle.

Watch this Deshen Live Bible Study: What is Worship in Spirit and in Truth?

What is the meaning of “in spirit and in truth” as used in John 4:23 above?

You worship in spirit and truth by what you do with your body and soul here on earth. Your daily life and words of praise, thanksgiving, etc., are all spiritual worship that brings great delight to the Father. Continue worshipping the Father in spirit and in truth—this time with an understanding of what it means! 

Bless the Lord for the blessing of worshipping Him in spirit and in truth.

Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the Lord your God. And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the Lord which sanctify you. (Leviticus 20:7–8, KJV)

Jehovah Mekaddishkem showing washing gloves, cleaning fluid and sponge

As the Great I AM that I AM, God revealed Himself as the Lord who sanctifies His people in the Old Covenant—Jehovah Mekaddishkem. But this was only a shadow of something greater that was coming in the New Testament.

Jehovah Mekaddishkem is the English transliteration of the Hebrew words for “I am the Lord which sanctify you” ( “mekaddish” = sanctify, “kem” = you). Divine names and titles in the Old Testament often reveal an aspect of God in relation to His people.

There are three keywords that underlie the meaning of sanctification: “wash,” “consecrate,” and “separate.” Sanctification essentially means to make something holy. Sinlessness is a core aspect of holiness, but there is more to holiness than sinlessness. It is the very nature of God. However, when used in reference to us humans, it means to be cleaned from sin, set apart for God, and consecrated to Him.

In the passage above, God tells the people first to sanctify themselves and then reveals He is the One who sanctifies them. Thus, He gives us the two sides of sanctification—the God side and the human side. There’s something God does and something His people do for their sanctification.

This truth was only a shadow in the Old Testament. It is in Christ that we see God fully revealed as Jehovah Mekaddishkem to His people through the sanctifying work on the cross. In speaking to the Corinthians, Paul revealed,

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11, KJV)

This is Jehovah Mekaddishkem fulfilled in Christ: We were washed and sanctified. Note that these are in past tense, describing something God has already done. The day you received Christ, you received the bath of your life, a heavenly bath by the Spirit of God that removed every stain of sin through the precious blood of Christ. And as you continue to live on earth, the Spirit continues to sanctify you daily.

Following the sanctifying work He has already done in us, He commands us,

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:” (1 Thessalonians 4:3, KJV)

Now that you are clean, washed, and sanctified, He tells us to put that sanctification to work outwardly. Paul explicit states it is what God wants—His will. He gives us a very specific example of sanctification here: abstain from sexual immorality. Few things defile us, like sexual impurity. But sanctification certainly includes more than abstaining from fornication or adultery. As above, it includes living a consecrated and separated life to God daily in the way we talk, act, think, feel, and handle our bodies.

He is Jehovah Mekaddishkem, the God who has Sanctified you in Christ and continues to sanctify you every day.


Is our sanctification completed, ongoing, or both?

Apply the Word

This is the crucial part of this devotional. Until you receive the truth that God has already sanctified you by His Spirit, you will not be empowered to be sanctified practically. Put God’s sanctification power to work in your life daily by faith in the finished work of Christ.


Ask the Lord to help you in your daily walk of sanctification.

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