Adam in his best condition was merely flesh and blood, an earthly man, as he is termed in distinction from Christ (1 Cor. 15:47). And as that earthly man was, such we should have been, since we are of him who was of earthly generation, and neither he nor we would have advanced higher (v. 48). But our Lord Christ is the Lord from heaven, a heavenly man (vv. 47–48). Therefore, as we are blessed in and together with Him, we are blessed in heavenly things or with heavenly blessings, and raised up to heavenly places with Him. Because Christ is the heavenly man, such is the condition of those in Him; we are heavenly as He Himself is. Heaven is His native country and He is the Lord of it. Since we are married to Him and He is our Lord in that respect, and since, as was said, the spouse must be where the husband is and partake of the same good things of which he partakes, therefore Christ takes us and carries us to His own home, to His Father’s house, which is heaven. We thereby come to be blessed in Christ with all heavenly blessings, not spiritual blessings only, with which Adam in his primitive condition was blessed.
Or by spirit may be meant such a worship as is kindled in the heart by the breath of the Holy Ghost. Since we are dead in sin, a spiritual light and flame in the heart, suitable to the nature of the object of our worship, cannot be raised in us without the operation of a supernatural grace. And though the fathers could not worship God without the Spirit, yet in the gospel times, there being a fuller effusion of the Spirit, the evangelical state is called ‘the administration of the Spirit,’ and the ‘newness of the Spirit,’ in opposition to the legal economy, entitled the ‘oldness of the letter,’ 2 Cor. 3:8, Rom. 7:6. The evangelical state is more suited to the nature of God than any other. Such a worship God must have, whereby he is acknowledged to be the true sanctifier and quickener of the soul. The nearer God doth approach to us, and the more full his manifestations are, the more spiritual is the worship we return to God. The gospel pares off the rugged parts of the law, and heaven shall remove what is material in the gospel, and change the ordinances of worship into that of a spiritual praise.
It is our duty to be “perfecting holiness in the fear of God,” 2 Cor. 7:1; to be “growing in grace” every day, 1 Pet. 2:2, 2 Pet. 3:18; to be “renewing our inward man day by day,” 2 Cor. 4:16. Now, this cannot be done without the daily mortifying of sin. Sin sets its strength against every act of holiness, and against every degree we grow to. Let not that man think he makes any progress in holiness who walks not over the bellies of his lusts. He who doth not kill sin in his way takes no steps towards his journey’s end. He who finds not opposition from it, and who sets not himself in every particular to its mortification, is at peace with it, not dying to it.
‘Must worship him.’ Not they may, or it would be more agreeable to God to have such a manner of worship, but they must. It is not exclusive of bodily worship, for this were to exclude all public worship in societies, which cannot be performed without reverential postures of the body.* The gestures of the body are helps to worship and declarations of spiritual acts. We can scarcely worship God with our spirits without some tincture upon the outward man. But he excludes all acts merely corporeal, all resting upon an external service and devotion, which was the crime of the Pharisees, and the general persuasion of the Jews as well as heathens, who used the outward ceremonies, not as signs of better things, but as if they did of themselves please God, and render the worshippers accepted with him, without any suitable frame of the inward man.† It is as if he had said, Now you must separate yourselves from all carnal modes to which the service of God is now tied, and render a worship chiefly consisting in the affectionate motions of the heart, and accommodated more exactly to the condition of the object, who is a Spirit.
But the nature of God is the foundation of worship, the will of God is the rule of worship; the matter and manner is to be performed according to the will of God. But is the nature of the object of worship to be excluded? No; as the object is, so ought our devotion to be, spiritual as he is spiritual. God in his commands for worship respected the discovery of his own nature; in the law, he respected the discovery of his mercy and justice, and therefore commanded a worship by sacrifices. A spiritual worship without those institutions would not have declared those attributes, which was God’s end to display to the world in Christ. And though the nature of God is to be respected in worship, yet the obligations of the creature are to be considered. God is a Spirit, therefore must have a spiritual worship. The creature hath a body as well as a soul, and both from God; and therefore ought to worship God with the one as well as the other, since one as well as the other is freely bestowed upon him.