The Regulative Principle says that only that which is specified by God is allowed. This applies to worship and matters of salvation. God regulates who is saved and how one is saved. Therefore salvation falls under the Regulative Principle. God regulates what worship pleases Him. “God is Spirit and those who worship Him MUST worship Him in spirit and truth.” Jn 4:23-24. Since worship is vain when teaching the doctrines and precepts of men, God shows that He regulates what is true and vain worship. Therefore Christian worship falls under the Regulative Principle.
The Regulative Principle does not apply to everything in life though. Attempting to apply the Regulative Principle to everything in life you end up as an Amish approach to life forbidding electricity, buttons, and song books.
Certainly, everything we do in life is to be moral and according to God’s Law. Work and play must conform to God’s moral law. But there is wide latitude on what is allowed. The exact job and the exact play is not specified, yet it is allowed as long as it does not contradict God’s moral law.
People are turning worship into entertainment by suggesting there is no Regulative Principle guiding worship. The tactic is to argue that everything we do in life is worship and no Regulative Principle applies to all of life. Therefore the Principle doesn’t apply to specific acts of worship.
Clearly a regulative principle is laid out in Scripture which must be adhered to. The only worship that has ever been allowed is that which God specified. If God did not command it, don’t offer it to Him.
In the 2nd Commandment God said, “4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 5 “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” Ex. 20
Therein is the regulative principle. God doesn’t need to specify every false deity and form of worship. When it comes to the worship of God, venturing outside of what God commanded is a serious sin. When Nadab and Abihu offered “strange fire” in Leviticus 10:1 while they worship serving at the tabernacle, the fire was that which God had not commanded. And God killed them both because venturing outside of God’s commandment (Leviticus 16 tells what fire God wanted) is disrespect to God. God said, “By those who come near to Me I will be treated as Holy.” Lev 10:3.
The same is true today. Paul refers to “self-made religion” or “will worship” (KJV) which is worship that is determined by what I want, according to my will, Col. 2:23. This “will worship” is where the religious world has gone by rebelliously ignoring the Regulative Principle.
Let me conclude. All of life is to glorify God. But everything in life is not worship. God will reject most worship that man offers to Him because He regulates what worship is acceptable. Many denominations are storing up God’s wrath against themselves because they err as much as Nadab and Abihu. When it comes to worship, we must worship God with the right spirit and according to what God has specified. Sing spiritual songs. Pray through Christ. Partake of the Lord’s Supper. Contribute to the church. Preach and teach the Word of God. Venturing outside of these breaks the Regulative Principle. God bless.