Through worship, God pardons sins, restores relationships, and changes lives. Jesus tells the story of the tax collector genuinely and humbly crying to God in the Temple and says, “I tell you, this man went down to his home justified” (Luke 18:14). Worship is the most likely setting for people to experience the renewed relationship with God that Christians call “justification,” in which a person realizes that she or he is pardoned, forgiven, loved, and accepted by God. Worship is the church’s optimum environment for conversion (the return to relationship with God) whether quick, dramatic, and memorable, or marked by gradual shaping and nuanced change over time. God expects lives to change in worship: attendees become disciples of Jesus Christ, and a crowd becomes the body of Christ.
Excerpted from Cultivating Fruitfulness, ©Abingdon Press, 2008.