If you’ve been in the Christian culture, then you have probably heard the expression of being “worshipers of spirit and truth”. But if you are like me, perhaps you have yet to hear a clear explanation as to what Jesus, or Yeshua in His original Hebrew name, meant in John 4 when He says to the Samaritan woman that God is looking for “worshipers of spirit and truth”.
“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24 (NKJV)
Such a statement seems to elude most believers as a mystery. In order to properly interpret anything recorded in the New Testament, one has to understand the only “Scriptures” Yeshua or His Apostles had access to was the Tanakh, or Old Testament; hence, why they often referred to “the law and the prophets” in their teachings. Keep in mind, the Apostle Paul tells us the Tanakh, the only Scripture he and others had at that time, is useful for reproof, correcting, and instruction in righteous and makes us complete.
“But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by the Inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:14-17 (NKJV)
In other words, the Apostle Paul was writing to Timothy saying what many refer to as the Old Testament, which includes the law of God, the books written by various prophets, the psalms, etc., are an excellent resource if we want to understand the spiritual matters of Abba (‘Abba’ is Hebrew for Father God). So when we seek to interpret the meaning of various things spoken of by Yeshua or matters penned by His followers, all of whom were Jewish, we need to let the Old Testament interpret the New Testament. In other words, let Scripture interpret Scripture. Just as the Holy Spirit will not approve or lead you to that which is UNholy, the New Testament cannot contradict the Old Testament for if truth is truth, then it is absolute and cannot change; otherwise, it wasn’t truth.
With that said, let’s see what Scripture says about spirit and truth.
What Is Spirit?
According to Scripture, the Spirit that Yeshua referred to in that passage, is God’s Spirit (John 4:24 ; Romans 8:9), the Spirit of Holiness, also known as the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-6; Acts 2; 8:14-17; 19:2-6; Romans 1:4), and if you’re willing to go deeper, the Spirit of life (Romans 8:2), the Spirit of adoption (Romans 8:15-17), the Spirit of Jesus/Yeshua (1 Peter 1:11), the Spirit of grace (Hebrews 10:29; Zechariah 12:10), the Spirit of truth (John 14:15-18; 15:26), all of which are the same eternal Spirit (Hebrews 9:14; Romans 8:1-17). In various records of the Tanakh (Old Testament), we learn that God’s Spirit came upon a select few people (Here are a few examples: Numbers 24:2; Judges 6:34; I Samuel 10:6,10; 2 Chronicles 15:1; Ezekiel 11:5) and the Holy Spirit used His prophet, Moses, and signs like a cloud by day and fire by night to lead the Israelites through their wilderness journey (see Isaiah 63:10-14). In the days of the Apostles and today, the Holy Spirit still leads us(Romans 8:14). Interestingly enough, the Holy Spirit also filled Elizabeth, John the Baptist’ mother (see Luke 1:39-45), before it was poured out during the Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost) in Acts 2. As we can see from Scripture, the Holy Spirit has been influencing and communicating the will of God to people and through people for thousands of years. In fact, THAT is the Holy Spirit’s purpose: To influence people to live a lifestyle of holiness for we are called to “Be holy as He is holy” (Leviticus 11:45; 20:26; 1 Peter 1:13-19) and moreover, to do the will of God. Part of the ‘better promises’ (Hebrews 8) prescribed in the New Covenant is that after Jesus’ / Yeshua’s death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven though, the Holy Spirit became prevalent and available to receive that is to anyone (not just a select few) who believes Yeshua is the Messiah, according to Acts 2:38-39, which reads:
During the Feast of Shavuot or Pentecost, which celebrates the giving of God’s laws, the Holy Spirit was poured out on that same day in Acts 2. [As a side note, if the laws of God are irrelevant or done away with since the cross, as many teach today, then why were the disciples celebrating the Feast of Pentecost (Shavuot), a command found in the law (Leviticus 23)? Because God’s commands are still for us today even after the cross.] So both the law of God AND the Holy Spirit were poured out on the same day just thousands of years later! How fascinating!
To those who believe Yeshua / Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah predicted by prophets of old, the perfect Passover sacrificial lamb of God, who died to pay the debt of our sin, our lawlessness, once and for all, they will at some point receive the Holy Spirit, a promised gift (John 16:5-15; Acts 1:1-8; 2:38-39). Receiving the Holy Spirit is a noticeable and distinct event in a believer’s life (Acts 2; 8:14-17; 9; 19:2-6 as a few examples). Just as the law and Holy Spirit were given quite noticeably, I assure you, you will know when you’ve been baptized in the Spirit, which is the same as receiving the Holy Spirit!
Unfortunately, many have been taught that not only is the Holy Spirit given as if in secret once you believe, but “to believe” means just believe that a guy named Jesus walked the earth, died and rose again and go on living your life like usual. In reality, according to the Bible, to believe is to repent, to turn from your sin, to turn from your lifestyle of being without God and His ways. In other words, in the Hebraic mentality, which is inspired by God, to believe is to do. And yet, we can do nothing lasting apart from God’s Spirit of Holiness! God is tired of a people that only profess Him with their lips but their hearts, their lifestyle is far from Him and His will (Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 15:8), which is why in the New Covenant, He promised to put a Spirit of Holiness within us all the time which will help us know truth and that which is holy (Romans 7:12) causing us to do them! Check out these promises of the New Covenant found in the Tanakh (Old Testament) describing the purpose of God giving us this Spirit of Holiness dwelling inside us.
- “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Jeremiah 31:31-33 (NKJV)
- “Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God. 21 But as for those whose hearts follow the desire for their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord God.” Ezekiel 11:19-21 (NKJV)
- “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” Ezekiel 36:27 (NKJV)
Now that we know that being a worshiper of Spirit is receiving the Spirit of Holiness within our hearts so that we may lead an empowering lifestyle of holiness, which is obeying the commands of God, let’s see what the Scripture reveals truth is.
What Is Truth?
Truth is God’s word, all of it, including the parts some modern day preachers say is “done away with” or “not relevant” or “barbaric”. Quite specifically, the Tanakh reveals the law of God, His commandments, statutes, or judgments are truth!
- “I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgments I have laid before me.” Psalm 119:30 (NKJV)
- “Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, And Your law is truth.” Psalm 119:142 (NKJV)
- “You are near, O Lord, And all Your commandments are truth.” Psalm 119:151 (NKJV)
- “The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.” Psalm 119:160 (NKJV)
Additionally, truth is Yeshua! In the same chapter where Jesus / Yeshua describes the purpose of the Holy Spirit (see John 14:15-18), He described Himself as The Way, The Truth, and The Life.
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’ ” John 14:6 NKJV
But did you know upon using those phrases, He essentially was saying He IS the perfect Torah (the law of God, the law of liberty- Psalm 19:7;-9; 119:45; James 1:25)…the Living Torah in the flesh for all the world to read (John 1)? How cool is that?! Here are verses about the way reference:
- “He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.” Psalm 103:7 NKJV
- “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, Who walk in the law of the Lord!” Psalm 119:1 NKJV
- “Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, And I shall keep it to the end.” Psalm 119:33 NKJV
- “And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:24 NKJV
So we’ve seen what truth is as well as what the way is, but what is life?
- “I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have given me life.” Psalm 119:93 NKJV
- “and he said to them: ‘Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which you shall command your children to be careful to observe—all the words of this law. 47 For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life, and by this word you shall prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to possess.’ ” Deuteronomy 32:46-27 NKJV
It’s been my experience and something I have witnessed in other believers that first the Holy Spirit woos you unto the Father through the Son and even often goes through great lengths to prove to you God is real and personally knows you and your circumstances. Once you accept such factual, spiritual truths, you then begin to trust and obey Him. At some point, the Holy Spirit is given to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32), which is why Peter preached REPENTANCE because to repent is to obey. In His time, as you submit to truth (Luke 8:18), the Spirit of Holiness reveals to you more and more truth through God’s word as well as through your experiences. The Spirit of Holiness guides you into that which is holy and true, cautioning you, correcting you, and causing you to obey all of God’s word. Out of a grateful, circumcised heart, you will want to follow Yeshua’s example, the Living Torah, so that those around you can also read and understand God’s love language pouring out from the pages of your life!
In summary, we have discovered and decoded to be a worshiper of spirit and truth means to be one who has not only received the Spirit of Holiness (Holy Spirit), but who also is led by the Spirit to live an empowering lifestyle of holiness as defined and described by the truth of God’s written voice, His word. In doing so, we will have lived and loved like Yeshua, like sons and daughters should!