People worship God in pretense or Spirit and truth. God wants people to worship Him in Spirit and truth because it is a sign of reverence. Rituals are a part of reverence but not part and parcel of it. Consequently, the Spirit and truth are crucial to any ritual.
My name will be great among the nations…Malachi 1:11
The Gentiles [non-Jewish people] reverence God with spiritual worship. Unlike ancient Israel, Gentiles offer sacrifices without hypocrisy. To be sure, Gentile worship is not hypocrisy-free automatically. But Malachi prophesies that Gentile worship will be more sincere than the Jewish people of his time (Malachi 1:11). But why is Gentile worship more sincere? The Gentiles want to offer acceptable sacrifices and this proves their reverence for God.
This sincere sacrifice takes the form of prayers, service, and praise. As Justin Martyr says, “prayers and giving of thanks, offered by worthy worshippers, are the only sacrifices which are perfect and acceptable to God.” Likewise, Jesus says “people will worship God in Spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24). Accordingly, a Gentile sacrifice to God is not a ritual experience but a spiritual one.
When is worship fake
Such sacrifice was rare during Malachi’s time. Why was it rare? People could not offer spiritual sacrifice to God if they were not sincere.
Ritual vs. Spiritual
But are not rituals and the Eucharist important? Truly, Jesus tells believers to take communion to remember him as often as they desire (Luke 22:19-20).
Nevertheless, Scriptures also says, “Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord and can die” (1 Corinthians 11:27-30).
A ritual minus Spirit is lethal. Yet people have to judge themselves to decide if their rituals are sincere.
The right kind of worship
Rituals and the Eucharist can be reverent. But this sacrifice should adhere to God’s word and not lack Spirit and truth. Rituals and the Eucharist can be important. But the purity of rituals and Eucharist depends on the Spirit and truth behind them. Today, people can still offer insincere sacrifices with ulterior motives.