Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Glory, part 2

I've been mulling this over ever since I wrote the original "Glory" note back on April 3. At the time I said I didn't understand how His glory is part of Christian theology and I hadn't had time to even begin figuring it out.

Over the last couple of weeks I have come to believe that it was the voice of God I "heard" (in my head, not audibly), or at the very least, the Holy Spirit was bringing to mind what I have already read (John 14:26).

God is not seeking greater glory. There is no greater glory than that which He already possesses. He seeks to show that glory through everything created to everyone looking on - angels and demons and humans. And for those of us who are saved, we see the greatest revelation of that glory through Jesus Christ. Eventually every single person who has ever lived will see it, too, and bow the knee and confess that Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11). And what is the reason given there for this bowing of the knee and confession with the tongue? "To the glory of God the Father"!

Every time I have turned around recently, I have been confronted with this topic again and again. After I wrote the original note, I remembered part of a verse in Romans 9, and went to look it up. "What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory" (Romans 9:22-23, NASB). There is "glory" again, twice in v. 23. After I posted these verses, someone directed me to two John Piper sermons on this passage. As of the time of this writing, I have not listened to them yet, but I look forward to them.

God has been asking me to show His glory in me by making certain changes, specifically what I wear and what I listen to. Then yesterday a Facebook friend posted that he felt convicted to unfriend all his single female friends. That is hard for me to hear, but I respect him for following the call of God, that God would be better glorified in his life.

This has felt like a series of little deaths - giving up my choice of clothes, giving up my choice of music, losing my friend. And why? For the glory of God.

And all this is percolating in my mind during Holy Week, when God's greatest show of glory ever is remembered - God dying in our place for our salvation. I feel a bit overwhelmed at all God has done and is doing - and it's all for His glory!

I have been catching up on "Dividing Line" podcasts this week, and one of the programs I listened to had a reference to glory:

"The heart of Christianity is the self-glorification of the Triune God: the demonstration of His glory, His power, His majesty, His holiness, His justice, and in light of all that, His mercy and His love." ~James White, April 12, 2011 "Dividing Line" program

Dr. White is saying that God's glory is the very heart of Christianity!

And then just last night my Facebook friend Andrew posted the following, and it's given me lots to think about:

"Before I became a Calvinist and before I began listening to Piper, I thought Christianity was about guilt, sin, forgiveness, and living right. Now I realize Christianity is only about one thing: God's Glory. Everything else is there to lead us to this and help us enjoy it."

Leaving the Calvinism aside for the moment, Andrew is saying much the same thing Dr. White did in the quote above, and much the same as I have heard John Piper say: God's glory is the most important thing. He will be glorified in everything and every person, whether that person is saved or not.

Just today my Lenten devotional also mentioned glory, in the New Testament reading for the day:

"Therefore when he had gone out, Jesus said, 'Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him; if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately'" (John 13:31-32, NASB).

Lastly, guess what the "Share Day" theme is this month at Family Radio? " all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31, NASB).

There have been too many coincidences that have occurred since God first spoke to me on April 3 for me to ignore this. God is trying to make a point to me, and He's driving it home strongly.

I have long believed that God's glory is above all. But it has never gone beyond an intellectual accent. Perhaps what is happening now is the outworking of that - putting theory into practice.

Some people have sought to invalidate my experiences. I guess that comes with the territory when I open myself up like this. What has surprised me is that all the attacks come from fellow Christians. The inevitable result is that it just drives me all the more to seek out people who will validate me.

I am not crazy. I am not manhandling Scripture. I am not seeking attention. I am seeking to share what I am learning with others, and the lesson I am learning right now seems to be that God's show of His glory is His highest purpose, and the reason everything exists. What could be more glorious than the most glorious Being creating all things - both visible and invisible - to bear witness to His glory?

If I choose to participate, He will also be glorified in me. And if what I am learning is correct, then my whole purpose for existing is to glorify God. As the Westminster Shorter Catechism states:

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

Back on April 3 (in the comments section of the note I wrote: "I'm not going to say that's the be-all and end-all answer to everything. I'm sure it's not." Now I'm not so sure. Maybe His glory really IS the be-all and end-all of everything.

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