24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
No Jew or Samaritan – in fact, no one at all – is a true worshipper if wrong notions about God are conceived in his heart. True worship of God is built on the truth about God. How could anyone worship God when he has an erroneous concept of God? Without the truth concerning God, no heart can render honour and praise to Him.
One of the great truths about God which Jesus declared in our text is that “God is a Spirit”. God is not flesh and blood. He is not confined by a corporeal body. He is an invisible, intelligent, immortal, infinite, independent Spirit. This is one of the cardinal truths of God that is foundational for true worship. Every true worshipper must fully concur with this truth about God.
It is abject and abominable conduct to bow before any idol in worship. God, who is a Spirit, has prohibited man from worshipping any image or idol. God, who is an infinite Spirit, cannot be compared with anyone or anything. The Holy Scriptures repeatedly ask us: “To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One” (Isaiah 40:25). “To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like” (Isaiah 46:5)? “For who in the heaven can be compared unto the LORD? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD” (Psalm 89:6)? So the LORD declares in Isaiah 42:8 – “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” In Acts 17:29, we read: “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.” True worshippers should never bow before any image or idol, realising that it is God who has created all things and redeemed His people. Rendering worship before an image or an idol is a spurious worship that controverts the truth that God is a Spirit.
Those who genuinely worship God, believing that He is a Spirit, must worship Him in spirit and in truth. True worship occurs only when our souls abandon all false thinking about God and sincerely acknowledge the truth about God that His Spirit has revealed in His Word. Only then can genuine, sincere and appropriate worship be rendered unto God.