Glorifying God 8

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.

God created all things in order to glorify Himself, that is, He planned to communicate Himself to sinful human beings. This should shock our minds and our hearts into wondering if Edwards was right and if we have missed what it means to glorify God. If so, our sin is far greater than we have imagined. We have made the idea of glorifying God into a work of the flesh rather than a spiritual fruit. Instead of living by grace and receiving what we do by God’s communicating Himself to us, we have thought and even tried to glorify God by the strength of the flesh and perhaps from a proud heart thinking that we are glorifying God simply by being religious. If we are not receiving communications of God to our souls, then it is utterly impossible to glorify God as He has given us to do. If we do not receive the communications of God by His free-grace to our souls, then our proud hearts have been deceived into thinking we have the ability to glorify God even if we deny that with our lips.

Edwards points out that the very word “glory” seems to point to this. The idea of glory is a shining forth as we can see in Hebrews 1:3—“And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.” The word “radiance” has the idea of shining forth. The sun is said to radiate, that is, to shine forth its light. Christ is the shining forth of the glory of God and as such what we see is that the glory of God is the shining forth of His perfections. As light shines forth from the sun, so the perfections of God shine forth in Christ. This is His glory and it is His shining forth of His glory in Christ.

This is simply a wonderful and beautiful teaching that Edwards brings us face to face with. We have no ability to glorify God in ourselves, but instead we must have His perfections communicated to us so that the very perfections of God would shine through us. We should know that we must behold the glory of God shining in and through Christ and it is in beholding Christ in that way that we are changed from one degree of glory to another. In this beholding Christ the Lord Himself is communicating Himself to our souls and is changing us to be like His Beloved Son.

We should also realize that the fruit of the Spirit is really the soul partaking of the Spirit of God who is changing us to be like God. The fruit of the Spirit is really the Spirit communicating the perfections of God to our souls and bringing us to partake in those. God is a God of love, but love is a fruit of the Spirit. As John 15 teaches us, apart from Christ we can do nothing (spiritual or bear fruit). But we are also told that if we as the branches are in Christ who is the vine we can bear fruit that glorifies God. This should teach us with great clarity that true spiritual fruit comes from Christ by His Spirit and whatever fruit we bear must come from Him. In this we see the great picture. God communicates Himself and His perfections to us in Christ and by the Spirit. With Christ as our life, the fruit of the Spirit is worked in and through us and then the very glory of God is expressed and manifested through us.

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