Glorifying God 4

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

Matthew 22:37 And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’

“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).

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

There are some basic and foundational truths that we must never back away from. God does not seek to glorify Himself because it makes Him happy. God does not seek His own glory in order for frail and sinful human beings to honor Him and for Him to be highly thought of by them. God seeks His own glory because He loves to see Himself manifested. In other words, the fruit that the believer bears comes from Christ first and foremost and it adds nothing to God. The spiritual fruit of the true believer is so that God can behold Himself and His glory in Christ by working it in and through the believer. When the fruit of the vine comes from the branch, which is true of all spiritual fruit, it is not of the works of the flesh of men that God is pleased with, but it is His own work manifested that He is pleased with. This is why we must work in His strength and for His glory.

When we think of the point of the works of men is not for men to make God look good before others and it is not something God needs, but this is a great blessing of grace that God brings men and shines Himself through them. God loves to see Himself, that is, His own excellencies and glories, and this is why men are to seek the glory of God. In being those who love God and being used by Him to bear spiritual fruit, the glory of God shines out of men because of the life of Christ in them and God beholds Himself and His own glory in the spiritual fruit of men. The image of something should look like the reality of that something. Man, being made in the image of God, should shine forth the glory of God in a way that God can behold Himself in those works.

If it is correct to say (with Edwards) that God seeks His own glory because He loves to see Himself and His glory shining out and appearing in the world He created, then we see that men are to eat and drink and all other things that they do so that God may behold His glory shining from them and through them. In this is love that we receive from God and it is toward God as well. We want God to behold Himself and His own glory in our works and lives and in doing that our reward is to be in communication with God and enjoy His glory. There is no merit in this but it is love for God and we receive all from Him. In this there is no righteousness earned and there is nothing (if we were perfect in attitude and intent) we want but God Himself. If we seek to glorify God as if it is a work, then we miserably fail in many ways and as such we sin in that we are really seeking ourselves rather than God.

It is a foundational thought in the theology of Jonathan Edwards, which I cannot imagine that anyone would disagree with other than (perhaps) some particulars, that the glory of God cannot be added to in any way. No man can add to the glory of God, but by the grace of God (in which He beholds His glory) He works His glory in (shares with man, makes man a partaker of) man and it is His own glory that He beholds in man. Oh how men should seek humility and a broken heart before God. How this teaching should break men of pride and self in that they cannot please God by anything they do unless that receive it from Him first. True Christians should give up all hope of doing things for God and seek Him to do things through them. The greatest reward of the Christian is to behold the glory of God and delight himself or herself in him with the delight in Him being from God Himself. This delight is also His own delight worked in the soul and as such the pure delight of the believer in God is itself a shining forth of His glory.

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