Obedience must be in and through Christ. He hath made us accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:6). Not our obedience, but Christ’s merits procure acceptance. In every part of worship we must present Christ to God in the arms of our faith. Unless we serve God thus, in hope and confidence of Christ’s merits, we rather provoke Him than please Him. As, when king Uzziah would offer incense without a priest, God was angry with him, and struck him with leprosy (see II Chronicles 26:20); so, when we do not come to God in and through Christ, we offer up incense to Him without a priest; and what can we expect but severe rebukes?
Via: Of First Importance