Archive for the ‘Glorifying God’ Category

Glorifying God 9

September 9, 2016

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 pictures and the theology of Edwards in the paragraph above and how it agrees with the Scriptures gives us a breathtaking sight of the motives of God in creation and all things. It should remove from our minds any residual thoughts or ideas of legalism and moralism. God created all things for His own glory and has no need of our morals and our religion (as such). True Christianity flows from the throne of the living God and if we are to have anything of God in our souls it must be received from Him and received by grace alone. We have to have God Himself turn our hearts and our heads from self and pride and realize that He is the Creator of all things and that includes ourselves.

It is simply an exquisite thought that God’s love is primarily for Himself and He does all for His own glory. This is meat and rest for the soul. We do not have to give ourselves to work and always worry if we are doing it out of the right motive, but instead it is as we seek the Lord to communicate Himself to us and it is from Him that we receive the spiritual energy and strength to do what His wisdom dictates to us. Instead of being given to works outwardly and openly, many are deceived and say that we are to work and do it for His glory. However, that can be nothing but another system of works. Christ is our life and what we do should be and is supposed to be from life in the soul and that life expressed through the soul.

In order to get at the thought of Edwards (and more importantly, the Bible) we must not get trapped into thinking that what he wrote is a system of works and even a system of works that is harder because it involves another layer to it. It is not based on a legal system, it is based on a system of life that flows from the throne of God and is how God glorifies Himself in and through human beings. We are not to set out a system on how to glorify God as such, but instead we are to understand how God does this and seek Him to do this by grace. Until we understand that we are to share in the life of God and His love for Himself as triune and how He glorifies Himself and loves to behold His glory in and through us, we will not really understand true sanctification.

Our legalistic hearts, which come from our being born dead in sins and trespasses, want to make a legal system of eating and drinking and whatever we do being to the glory of God. However, this cannot be dragged down into law, but instead this is the life of the soul that God dwells in. The heart that loves God and seeks God for the grace of love in the soul that it may love Him will do what it does for His glory and seek Him for more that it may glorify Him more and more. The law can never give power to keep the law, but love for God comes from God and He works that strength and power in the souls that love Him. There is power in life and love, but there is no power in the law but the power of condemnation and death.

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Glorifying God 8

September 7, 2016

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.

Glorifying God 7

September 6, 2016

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 idea or doctrine of glorifying God is really at the heart of Christianity, though perhaps it is not recognized as such. There is nothing regarding the Gospel or of holiness that is not touched by this teaching. How God glorifies Himself in salvation and in sanctification is a vital teaching. When the Scriptures tell us that we are to glorify God in all we do, we should take some time and effort and prayer in seeking the Lord to teach us how we are to glorify Him. It is that important.

It might also be helpful to note that one of the Bible’s definitions of sin is that we have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). If it is sin to fall short of the glory of God, and yet it is holy to do all we do to the glory of God, then wisdom compels us to find out what it means to live to His glory. Glorifying God is not an option that is given to us, but it is part and parcel of what it means to live as a Christian. God saves sinners to the praise of His glory and sinners are to live for His glory after they are saved.

This means it is something worthy of our time, study, prayer, and seeking the Lord for a broken and humble heart. This should be a priority with us. It is, after all, a priority with God. It was God’s own primary motive in creating and it is still His primary motive in all He does. God created for His own glory, that is, to manifest His glory for His own pleasure. It is for the pleasure of God that we are to seek to glorify Him. It is not just some command that we must carry out (like the Pharisees thought of commands), but this is what we are to do out of love for Him. When people have a true love for each other, they want to see the other do what is best for them and they have joy in the pleasure and true good of the other person. As such we should be moved to joy at the pleasure of God in beholding His own glory that is manifested.

When God decides to glorify Himself, it is His own glory that He shines out from Himself. The King of Kings has chosen to glorify Himself through His people which means that He must communicate His glory to His people in order for that glory to shine through His people and then He can behold it. This, once again, is a vital point and needs to be stressed over and over. No human being can glorify God in his or her own strength and can do nothing to glorify God unless that human being has received the communication of the glory of God from God. It is God’s glory that must shine out from God and it is His glory that must be communicated to the person who has Christ and it is His glory that must shine through the person in order for Him to be glorified. We can do nothing unless we receive it. Since that is true, God Himself must communicate His glory to us if we are to glorify Him. Oh the beauty and glory of this great truth. We cannot glorify God unless He gives it to us and He only does it by grace alone. We don’t deserve to glorify Him, but it is by His grace that He communicates His glory to us that we can glorify Him.

Glorifying God 6

September 2, 2016

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

When God does all He does in order to manifest His own glories to Himself, to heavenly beings we don’t know about, and then to human beings; He does this (in and through human beings) by communicating Himself and His glories to the minds and hearts of human beings. He does not dwell in human beings because they are worthy for Him to do so, but He dwells in them because He has cleansed them and desires to glorify Himself in and through them. It is by a free and sovereign grace that He dwells in human beings. It is also be a free and sovereign grace that He glorifies Himself in and through human beings. This, once again, shows us the utter worthlessness of human works apart from what Christ works in the soul. When the human being does works apart from Christ, even if they are very religious works and very “Christian works” in a sense, the only thing to see is the glory of man. God does not behold His own glory in those works and as such He is not pleased. The glory of God will only shine forth in Christ and Christ only dwells in the humble.

What we can begin to see, then, is the beauty of true and biblical Christianity. The true Christian does not pursue holiness and good works out of a fear of hell and out of seeking to be holier than thou, but instead the true Christian pursues holiness in order that the glory of God would shine through Him or her. The true Christian does not see any problems with seeking the face of God out of a pure love and in order that God may be glorified. This is what the heart of one that loves God loves and seeks out of that love. Indeed no one (but Christ) can do this perfectly or even close to perfection while on earth, but the person that is seeking the Lord will seek Him knowing that God is glorified by Christ and the blood of Christ in forgiving that person’s sin. It is because of Christ purifying the person’s heart that He may dwell in it and because of His continuing life in the soul that a person is enabled to do good works and delight in the fact that those works are coming from God and are to His glory.

When a true Christian “hears” the command to glorify God, s/he can know that the command to glorify God has the ultimate motive of the glory of God. The believer is an instrument of the glory of God and thus has no ability to obtain righteousness in anything that the believer does. The believer delights to know that s/he is that instrument of glory and that what the believer needs to glorify God comes from God. The greatest love of the believer is God Himself and as such the true believer loves the glory of God and not self, though indeed this is far from perfect. However, the true believer longs to be free of self and of pride that s/he may glorify God more and more perfectly. How lovely and beautiful it is to be a partaker of the glory of God by having Christ as our life and how wonderful (beyond words to express) it is to glorify God and behold His glory shining out in others and in ourselves. The glory of God is His own ultimate motive and His glory becomes the ultimate motive of the believer as well. The believer wants to glorify God because the believer loves God and longs for God to be pleased with beholding His own glory. All things for to be for His glory and pleasure. He beholds His own glory and is pleased.

Glorifying God 5

September 1, 2016

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.

Glorifying God 4

August 31, 2016

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.

Glorifying God 3

August 30, 2016

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

If it is so vital to glorify God in terms of it being the chief end of man, then we should know what this means at the heart level and then what it means to do this in terms of the very essence of it. It is such an impressive statement about what it means to be human that we should not take this lightly, but perhaps it is as important as our daily food. The chief end of man is not to live, it is to glorify and enjoy God forever. The chief end of man is not to do all he can do to keep from dying, but instead it is to glorify and enjoy God forever. When I Corinthians tells us that whatever we do we are to do it to the glory of God, that is a universal statement. There is nothing that we do or don’t do that is free from the command and privilege of glorifying and enjoying God. We must, simply and absolutely must, know something of what it means to glorify God.

As we think of John 15:4 above, it should tell us very clearly and without any question regarding the matter that there is nothing spiritual that we can do in our own ability and power. We are completely and absolutely dependent upon Jesus Christ for any spiritual fruit that we are given the power and ability to bear. The command and privilege, then, to glorify God is something that is utterly beyond the power and ability of a human being to do. This throws us completely upon Christ and His grace to give us this. We don’t deserve to be instruments that God uses to glorify His name. We don’t deserve anything but His wrath on and in us. The glory of God is only shown to sinners by grace and we can only glorify Him by grace as well.

Glorifying God is no so much of a commandment that we are to keep as it is an aspect of eternal life. Yes, it is a part of the Great Commandment, but as with any and all commands of God we can only keep them if He gives us grace to keep them. If God gives us grace to keep them, we should view that as sharing in His life rather than our obeying commands. This may seem harsh to some, but to those who have spiritual taste buds this is a great part of life. We live totally upon Christ and we live in Christ and He lives in us. The commands of God should be viewed in the New Covenant as aspects of eternal life rather than do this or that or you will be punished. It is hard to imagine how a believer who has Christ as his or her life would view the Great Commandment as anything but the ache of his or her soul in wanting to be like God in love to God.

We simply must see that glorifying God is not something we can do in our own strength, but this is what we do when Christ lives in us by His Spirit and the Spirit of love works this love for God in us. This working the love for God and of God in us is really a sharing in the life of the God who loves Himself as triune. The Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father, and the Spirit is the Spirit of love. There is a perfect love within the Trinity and no one can share in that love but by His free-grace alone. Loving God is a sharing in the life of God (II Peter 1:4-5) or being made a partaker of the Divine nature. Strong words, yes, but they are straight from the Bible. However, we must know for certain that we are not divine, but God shares Himself with His people and in that way we share in the Divine nature. Behold the privileges of being a child of God! Behold the wonders of free-grace in that God makes His people partakers of His Divine nature! This is at the heart of what it means to glorify God.

Glorifying God 2

August 17, 2016

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 theology and concept of glorifying God is immensely important, perhaps vastly more important than anyone really realizes. If indeed this is the chief end of man and therefore is the reason that God created the world and all things in it which includes man, when we are dealing with this subject we are dealing with the very reasons for the existence of anything and the meaning of why human beings were created. Also, this gets at the meaning of life and purpose in life since if this is true (glorifying God as the chief end of man) then all things relate to that in terms of meaning and purpose. This is not just an addendum of some sort that we attach to our works in order to make us think we are doing them with the right motive; this is an essential for a work to be good. This is also an essential for the life of prayer. If we do not pray with the glory of God as our primary goal and motive in prayer, then we are not praying with the proper goal and motive. Our prayers, then, are not acceptable.

It is impossible to deal with the truth of human beings and religion apart from dealing with the truth of God. In much the same way, then, it is impossible to think of dealing with true religion or man’s relation to God without dealing with why man does them. However, as important as it is to know how man is to live in relation to God, we cannot just stop with knowing about it or knowing how. We must actually do it. We can understand this in terms of analogy again. I can know how to get from Kansas to Japan, but I cannot actually get there without getting on a plane or a boat. People can know that sinners are justified by grace alone through faith alone and yet knowing about it is not the point. We must actually be justified by grace alone through faith alone if we are going to be saved. This is to say that we cannot just know that we are to live to the glory of God. We cannot just know in some way truths of how we are to glorify God. Rather, we must (absolutely must) actually live to the glory of God.

We are told in II Corinthians 4:4 that the devil “has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” It would appear from this text that he does not fight as much to keep the information of the Gospel away from people as he does to keep them from seeing the glory of Christ. We can also argue that since the devil uses religion, and that includes the externals of Christianity, to deceive people, he will do whatever he can in an effort to use religion to keep the glory of God hidden from sinners.

Imagine what would happen if he hid the glory of the Gospel from sinners and yet left the basic message of it. Imagine what would happen if he hid the great truths of justification from sinners and deceived them into thinking they were converted if they knew and agreed with the truths of justification. Imagine what would happen if he could hide the truth of what it meant for sinners to live for the glory of God and people were satisfied with going to church and being moral in the externals. Christianity would be nothing more than another religion at that point. This is why it is so essential to deal with that it really means to glorify God and then how we must seek to do that. This is why this subject is not an option, it is an essential.

Glorifying God 1

August 12, 2016

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.’

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.