My wife and I do joke with this question; can sinners worship God? She would smile at me and say, ‘who worships God the most, sinners of course’. The bible clearly makes us understand the fact that we have all sinned and the Glory of God almighty is now beyond the reach of us all. I have read a lot online and offline about this particular question and, can sinners worship God. There is a little confusion in the use of some terminologies which I will love to disambiguate here, a sinner, the wicked, the unrighteous, and an unbeliever. These words are as confusing as they can get in the bible.
To start with, I will try not to use definitions from any wiki or dictionary here because the definitions may not necessarily reflect the meaning of these words. A sinner is a person that has offended God and or man, either once or perpetually. This simply means that one can sin against God and a fellow man (or and woman so to speak). A sinner in the Greek language is simply amartolós. This word means sinner, sinful, peccable, peccant, and trespasser. The Catholic Church teaches that whenever we disobey God in any way or form, we have sinned (check the Catechism of the Catholic Church here). The laws of God include the laws that affect God and more of those that affect other men. Most Christians talk about being a sinner in a manner that only reflects a sin against God without taking into account the reality that you can be a sinner when and if you sin against your fellow men (John 15:12). So if you believe and love and trust in God and Jesus Christ or not, but have faltered in a way the commands of God and moral codes, you belong to this category.
Anyone who doubts or does not trust is an unbeliever. That is the shortest express answer. Therefore I trust in Buddha, I am an unbeliever to a Jew because I don’t believe in his god. Lots of Christians take non-Christians as an unbeliever in this same way and I believe the notion may be quite wrong. Other people’s belief in something or someone as unfortunately turned them into an unbeliever in another thing or another person. The Greek word for an unbeliever is ápistos which means unbeliever, unfaithful, faithless, infidel, disloyal, ungodly, recreant, and perfidious. I would rather say that you are an unbeliever if you have ever been or still faithless, disloyal to anyone, unfaithful to men or God, ungodly, recreant, and even perfidious.
A wicked man is énas kakós ánthropos in the Greek language which means a bad person. The word means different things to different sets of people. Some of us believe a wicked man is a cruel person to the core. Some others believe differently, any man who is able to do wrong without feeling guilty is a wicked man. In plain terms, a wicked man is anyone who is cruel enough to hurt others without feeling guilty for what he/she has done to someone or even to a group of people, a society, or a country.
An unrighteous man, however, can be said to be someone who is not virtuous, moral or upright. The Greeks used the word for an unrighteous man is énas ádikos ántras. énas ádikos ántras means an unjust man in the English language. If you are unrighteous, it simply means you are not holy, not Godly. One can say it has a deeper meaning. The meaning is as deep as a man who is unworthy of God and His presence.
Thus, these words may be close, they have their separate meanings and although they are used like twins in the bible, they do not imply the same thing. Can sinners worship God?
If you must worship God at all, you must be in the spiritual realm and with utmost truth. The worship of God is a context that one must cautiously scrutinize in answering the question, can sinners worship God. One must contemplate what worship is and how is God worshiped? Can humans worship God and also the big questions of does God needs our worship or does God need to be worshiped?
I said I will not be giving a wiki or dictionary meanings, but then, I have to break my promise now. According to Wikipedia.com, worship is Worship is an act of religious devotion usually directed towards a deity. The Oxford Dictionary online defines worship as the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.
I Googled “how is God worshipped”, and I got 19.1million results. The Jehovah witness site came up with 20 points of how to worship God but then, I did not get how to worship God from the whole article. The first result on Google as of today, 10th of May, 2020 offers something more relevant to the topic. The lifeloveandjesus.com site has 10 major points that truly show the ways we can worship God. But the subject is how we can worship God and not the ways in which we can worship Him. One can quickly say God can only be worshiped spiritually and truthfully (John 4:24). The bible also says in Psalm 95:6 come let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our maker. St. Paul makes us understand the fact that offering our body to God as an acceptable sacrifice by keeping it holy is a form of spiritual worship of God in Romans 12:1. No matter how many times I reference the bible, one thing is assured; the worship of God is done by bodily connecting to the spirit. God is spirit, and, even though we have God’s spirit in us, we are still earthly and physical men, so in order to worship God; we must do everything possible to connect to the spiritual realm to do so. How is God worshiped? God is worshiped anytime you spiritually connect to divine God (Divine God here is the Father, Son, and the Spirit) truthfully and you wholeheartedly show reverence and adoration in total devotion. So whether you are standing, sitting, in the bathroom, in front of your computer writing, in your class, at the hospital or anywhere at all, God can be worshipped, the important thing is the connection.
Can Humans worship God? The answer is yes; in as much as humans can bond with the divine spiritually, yes, humans can worship God almighty.
Does God require to be worshipped? Does He even want our worship at all? The Eucharistic prayer said at Mass has a part that says our worship adds nothing to God’s glory. This basically means that whether or not we worship God, He remains God. In fact, when Jesus said, while entering Jerusalem on a donkey, if they are quiet, the stones will cry out (Luke 19:40). Although God commanded us as His creation to worship Him and worship Him alone (Exodus 34:14), our devotion to Him does not add to His magnificence and so, he, in reality, does not need our worship. Our worship of God is advantageous to us and not actually to Him. God is more of a necessity to us than we are to Him. The truth here is that lots of people still assume they are doing God a great good deed by worshiping Him. God does want nothing because He is all in all and He owns everything (Psalm 24:1, Hebrews 3:4, 1 Corinthians 10:26, Psalm 104:24).
If God requires our worship to remain, God, then He is not God at all, and in the end, He will not be more than any of the small Greek gods that we have read about. If God owns all, and He is all in all, then our reverence to Him serves only one line of function; help the worshiper stay linked. If you worship God often, you stay connected on the divine link which when cut, can lead you away from the thread of God. It is just like going down a well with your friend on the surface holding the line to which you are strapped so as to mark out your way back up from the bottom. When you hit the floor of the well, sadly, you found out that there a number of other lines reaching from the top. Because of the similarity, you may end up picking the wrong line if you do not hold tightly to the line by which you were let down into the well by your friend. That rope that links you to your friend up above can be likened to your worship of God. Your friend has nothing to lose if he drops the line, but for the reason that he loves and cares for you, he will cleave to the line even if you have left the line for another line. Worshipping God helps us to remain linked to Him and this will, in turn, lead us back to Him after our life on earth.
It is rather sad a thing to learn that we are all sinners, whether we like it or not (Romans 3:23, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 3:10, Psalm 143:2, Galatians 3:22, Matthew 7:11). Does this then mean that God does not pay attention to any of us? Does this amount to the reality that no human can worship God? If this is what reality is, then we can without a doubt say that the devil has won the battle against Light and Good. The book of John 9:31 further complicates the matter by telling us that we know that God does not hear sinners but that if we change our ways, turn to God and worship Him in the right way, God will hear us. So the bible often appears to be complicated and confusing but I would rather not call the bible such names. It is true that God does not listen to sinners, and it is also a truth that every single one of us is a sinner (Our sins here is in two parts. First is the original sin of Adam and Eve that is upon all flesh, and the second part is the sin we each commit ourselves) but there is a meeting point to these two opposing truths; forgiveness and mercy. Because Jesus Christ came into the world to die for sinners (which means everybody), Jesus’ death bought mercy for sinners and so, we all can go to God for forgiveness and obtain mercy.
This is the logic. We are all sinners and God does not pay attention to nor even heed sinners but we can escape the pangs of sin every time we want through Jesus Christ. This means that sinners can run to Jesus Christ and hide under him with the guarantee of obtaining compassion from God and then can instantly connect back to God in worship. I see this as a type of cheat (like those you get in video games). This cheat, unlike the video game cheat though, is not something to be taken lightly, but rather to be cherished and be thankful for. This cheat is bought with a great price, the death of an innocent, powerful, and blameless son of God. Click here to read and know who Jesus is here.
I can now stand up and stand tall and say, yes God does not listen to sinners, and yes, sinners cannot worship God but if you are a sinner, just like myself, we can worship God by hiding under Jesus Christ, covering ourselves with his death on the cross of Calvary and authentically seek God’s mercy for every sin we have committed. The most significant word here is true remorse (Act 11:18, Act 5:31). The mercy of God is always there. The death of Jesus Christ has been established, creating a link between earth and heaven, humanity and God but you need to join this link (Just like joining a hotspot) with a password. That password is genuine repentance. Therefore, any sinner that wants to worship God can worship God by first genuinely repenting of his or her sins, asking for forgiveness, and then connecting to the divine in spirit and in truth.
So now every sinner, just like it is written in Romans 6:23 can benefit from the free gift of God which is everlasting life through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So now, your race, color, knowledge, diversity does not matter anymore. What matters now is the fact that you must strive, on a daily basis to repent and ask God for the pardon of all your sins using Jesus Christ as your cover (Acts 5:31), after which you worship God. By so doing, even if you took the stand in a position of sin, you will end up worshiping God as a sinless sinner.
Lastly, do not forget that you can as well sin against your brother and sister. Even if you are reconciled to God (Which I doubt) without reconciling with your brothers and sisters, you will still owe the debt of sin (Matthew 5:38-48, Psalm 34:14, Ephesians 4:26, Galatians 5:14, Romans 13:1-7, Romans 12:18-19). Jesus Christ himself goes further to assure us that we cannot be prepared to accept God we do not see or claim to love Him when we are not prepared to accept the men and women we see and we do not love them. He made it clear furthermore, that for our worship to be satisfactory to God; we need to first be reconciled with our brothers and sisters that we can see as written in the gospel of St. Mathew 5: 23-24.
As a sinner, always bear in mind that your sin is not bigger than the mercy of God. You have a unique place in God’s divine heart and He wants you to be connected to Him. Start the relationship again today and now!