The Glory of God 4

Acts 17:22 So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 “For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.

True Christianity is really the manifestation of the true and living God. True Christianity is all about the living God and how He in His sovereign love and grace shines forth His glory in and through His people. True Christianity is not about being radical, or about being given to good works, nor is it about morality and academic theology. It is about knowing God and shining forth the glory of the true God back to Himself, to angelic beings, to other believers, and then to the world. True Christianity is not about being rich in this world or being healthy in this world, but instead it is about knowing God and doing all to the glory of His great name. True Christianity is not so much being saved from sin and then going to heaven as it is about knowing God and doing all for His glory. Sinners are saved to the glory of His grace and they go to heaven to glorify Him forever.

While those without Christ, the perfect image and shining forth of God, worship in ignorance, the heart of the true believer wants God Himself and wants more of Him in truth. The heart that longs to know God does not just want to study in an academic way so that it may know more information about God, but instead that heart wants to know God by being in fellowship with Him and sharing in His eternal and infinite love for Himself in the Trinity. We must understand that perverted ideas of God inevitably lead to idolatry and false worship (John 4:24). Ignorance of God is not okay and it is because of this ignorance of God that many are deceived and are given to idolatry and false worship. Ignorance is not a virtue in any sense, but instead ignorance of the true God is what the devil uses to deceive people and lead them to hell.

It should also be said that doctrine can be studied as historical doctrine or gained from the fathers or many things like that and one can still be ignorant of the true God. Is this saying that studying historical doctrine or the old writers should not be done? Oh no, I would argue that those things are very important. But again, the study of those things do not teach us how to fellowship with God or to know Him in that way. We cannot know God in truth and love by our own wisdom and intellects no matter how brilliant we are, yet God will teach and fellowship with the most humble. We must study historical doctrine and read the older writers in a way where we search for the biblical truth and in a way where we fellowship with God rather than just in a way where we learn facts about God and so pump up our pride.

Exodus 33:15 Then he said to Him, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. 16 “For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?” 17 The LORD said to Moses, “I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight and I have known you by name.” 18 Then Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!”

The person and the church that truly desires to know God can learn a lot from Moses. He did not want to go forth and do anything without the presence of God. Today people make their plans, ask God to bless their plans, and then go out and carry out their plans. Seemingly, the important part is for Him to bless their plans as opposed to asking Him for His plan and presence. Moses was not like that, not like that at all. Moses did not want to go one step without the presence of God. Moses wanted to know and to see the glory of God. Moses was concerned about the name of God before all the peoples upon the earth. Where are the churches in our day who will not undertake anything until the presence of God is with them? Where are the churches in our day who are truly concerned about the name of God enough that they are unwilling to do anything unless He is present with them? Where are the pastors and elders in our day who have a single heart for seeing the glory of God and having that shown to them by grace? Moses did not set out in academic study to see the glory of God after he prayed, but instead He asked God to show him His glory. Where are the leaders or the people or the churches who want God, His presence, and His glory first and above all other things including building programs, their own salaries, and growing numbers?

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