Without question, the most neglected piece of furniture in most churches today is the altar. In fact it saddens me to tell you that many churches have completely done away with them. You have to wonder why. Could it be that we are not seeing enough “lost” souls coming in and being saved to make the altars worthwhile? Yes, I certainly think there is some truth in this. But if we only focus on the altars being for the lost who need salvation, we miss at least two other vital truths about the altars.
The church altars are for sinners—all sinners. And I for one am in that category. Yes, I am redeemed, blood bought, and Heaven bound. But I am also a sinner saved by grace. And even though I try to live 100% for God, I fail and often fall short of His perfect holiness. And every time I do, I thank God for those altars! Because those altars are where this sinner repents and receives forgiveness and mercy from Jesus Christ (1 John 1:9).
If we ever forget that all of us need Christ’s mercies new everyday, we will become as the Pharisee in Luke 18:10-14, proud of our “righteousness” and relying on religious ceremonies for assurance. May the Holy Spirit forbid it! Without question you and I still need the altars, but not just for forgiveness.
The next reason we still need the altars dovetails with the most important confirmation of Christ’s Gospel; because all of our hope rests on our risen Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ!
Just like you can pray for forgiveness anywhere, you can—and should—worship and praise the Triune God anywhere at anytime and all the time. But there is something undeniably special about gathering with the church family to worship and praise God together. And there is a wonderful enhancement to worship and praise that comes with humbling yourself at the altars before your Savior and Lord.
Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.
Psalm 95:6-7 NKJV
If you would like a PDF copy of this article, please click here: PDF Copy