Glorifying God 5

1 Corinthians 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

The language of Edwards is so full and descriptive in this paragraph, but it must also be admitted that one has to read the context over and over to get at the issues involved. We should not get weary of hearing of the God we love and His pursuit of His own glory, as indeed that is what we were created for and that is what we are to do (seek His glory) in all things. We must love the thought or grow to love the idea that God loves to see Himself and His own perfections and glory being manifested in and through His works. The fact that God loves Himself and seeks His own glory is His holiness rather than being a failure on His part. There is no greater glory and no greater Being to seek the glory of and so if He is going to seek the glory of the greatest Being He must seek His own.

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 three sentences above are enormously important at understanding what Edwards meant regarding how God seeks His own glory and how that relates to us. It is because of that importance that I have set it apart and repeated it in this short post. God seeks His own glory and that is right and holy and good. It is the chief end of man as well. But how God seeks to glorify Himself and how man is to glorify God must meet at some point and that point is right here. It is not that God created trees and then leaned back to admire His glory in the trees, though indeed His glory shines in those as well. But God created human beings in His image and He did so that they would glorify Him, but not just glorify Him in any old way. They are to glorify Him by receiving from Him or by receiving Him.

It is another vital point to see and even savor that Edwards says that God “loves to see Himself communicated.” This is not the same thing as God loves to see something of Himself communicated, but God loves to see HIMSELF communicated. When a person communicates with another, we think of that as passing information from person A to person B. However, if the information passed along was not understood in the same way by person A and person B, communication did not happen. But again, God communicates HIMSELF. As a spiritual Being God can communicate Himself by giving Himself to others, though again in His communicating to others it must be the truth of Him (Christ) who is communicated and as a God of love He must communicate that love (the Spirit of love) so that it is the same truth and the same love.

Jesus the Christ is the very Word of God and as such He shines forth as the glory of God. Jesus Christ, as the Word of God, is the manifestation of the mind of God and the perfections of God. If we have seen Christ we have seen the Father. God communicates Himself to the soul by means of Christ and by the work of the Spirit of Christ. Jesus Christ dwells in the heart of the believer and it is His desires and His thoughts that are worked into the believer and it is His thoughts and His desires that are the very communications of God HIMSELF to the believer. We think His thoughts and love what He loves when He communicates Himself to our soul and overcomes the sinful loves and desires of our hearts by giving Himself and working Himself in us. When God has communicated Himself to us in and through and by Christ, He beholds His glory in us (the body of Christ, the Church).

In this we are getting at the heart of what it means to glorify God. We must receive from God what truly glorifies God. It is Christ who glorifies God in that He is the very shining forth of the glory of God. When the believer has Christ, who is the kingdom of God in the believer, the believer is now an instrument through which the glory of God will shine. The believer cannot shine forth the glory of God more than the believer receives the communications of God. Not only are we utterly and totally dependent upon Him for grace in justification, we are that dependent upon Him each moment for what it takes to glorify Him in what we do.

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