Glorifying God 1

1 Cor 10:31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.


God does not seek His own glory because it makes Him happy, to be honored and highly thought of, but because He loves to see Himself, His own excellencies and glories appearing in His works. He loves to see Himself communicated and it was His intention to communicate Himself that was a prime motive of His creating the world. His own glory was the ultimate motive. He Himself was His end, that is, Himself communicated. The very phrase “the glory” seems naturally to signify this. Glory is a shining forth, an effulgence. So the glory of God is the shining forth or effulgence of His perfections, as effulgence is the communication of light. For this reason, that brightness whereby God was wont to manifest Himself in the wilderness, and in the tabernacle and temple, was called God’s glory. As the brightness of the sun, moon, and stars is called their glory, so the glory of God is the shining forth of His perfections. The world was created that they [His perfections] might shine forth, that is, that they [His perfections] might be communicated.    Jonathan Edwards

The chief end of man (primary purpose of man) is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. If this is the chief end of man, then this is not something men are to be ignorant about. In fact, however, it seems that the vast majority of people (who even know that we are to glorify God) think that by living an outwardly moral life and attending church is how God is glorified. While the Greatest Commandment is to love God with all of our being, that is simply an aspect of how we are to glorify God. There is no glorifying of God apart from love to Him and for Him, yet there is no love for God if we do not seek His glory as He has taught us to seek His glory.

In thinking through what it means to glorify God, we must know that we cannot add to the glory of God and we cannot make God happier when we are being used to glorify Him. By analogy, we cannot add to the love of God when we love God or love others. It is not that we are adding to God because we cannot add to God. We cannot increase His happiness or joy or anything else. Glorifying God is not some higher order of good works that we are able to do in our own strength, but it must come from God or it will come from our flesh. We should always keep in mind the words of Jesus in John 15 when we are told that apart from Him we can do nothing. In that context we can do nothing spiritual or good apart from what we receive from Christ since we are the branches and He is the vine. The fruit from us must come from Him first as all we can do is totally dependant on Him. The fruit that we bear comes from Him first. We can only bear true fruit if we receive it from Him first. “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4).

The glory of God is a fruit that we bear when Christ dwells in us as our life and He works that glory in and through us. The glory of God is an aspect of the Great Commandment as there is nothing we do or can do that is not for the glory of God or the glory of self. If we seek the glory of God in a religious sense and yet our thinking of what it means to glorify God is really nothing but a work of the flesh, then we are not doing what we do to the glory of God. This is to turn a beautiful part of Christianity into a work just like the Pharisees turned all things into a work. Living and doing all to the glory of God must come from the inward man or it is simply an external work. This cannot be stressed too highly. As holiness is a grace so doing all for the glory of God is an aspect of holiness and must be by grace as well.

If it is true as Edwards sets out in the quote above that God seeks His own glory because He loves to see His own excellencies and glories set out in His works, then this should shock our minds to understanding that if we are to live for the glory of God then it is far more than just another work that we do. Glorifying God is not just something that we think may honor God, but it is doing what we do out of love for God and the result is that the excellencies and glories of God shine forth through us. We are but instruments through which His glory shines in and through. We do not do what we want and in our own strength and thus God is glorified, but God is glorified when it is His glory that shines through His people. This means that we must seek humility in order to be empty and broken people with empty and broken hearts in order that HIS glory shines through us and not our own. The glory of God is a subject which should make us focus on God and His glory, yet which should humble us deeply in the dust.

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