One for the glory of God

There is a myriad of lessons and sermons about Christians unity. There are explanations of what unity is and isn’t and what the boundaries are and aren’t. And I think in most cases the goal of seeking the unity of believers is misplaced and wrong.

God wants us to be unified, to speak the same things, to be one in purpose, but not for us! Not for your church or our “churches”. God wants us to know unity, true unity for His own purposes.

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
(Romans 15:5-7)

The unfolding of God’s revelation, the manifestation of his grace and mercy toward us is not about us, it is about Him. The pages of our Bibles are packed with passages about the glory of God and yet we hear precious little about it.

Before there was time, before there was a world, God planned that Christ would come here and be like us in kind but unlike us in holiness and purity. He planned that Jesus would take the sins of mankind and die for us, and then to rise from death and give eternal life to those who would come to him in faith. But it still was not and is not about us! We are not the story of the Bible, God is the story!

even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory

These passages from Ephesians 1 are examples of God’s emphasis on His own praise, His own glory. We are not the end of God’s purpose but rather a means to the end, His greatness and glory!

May our worship, our giving, our living, be to glorify our Father in heaven. May our missions, our budgets, our buildings, move us to glorify God for His greatness. May our marriages, our children, our jobs, our recreation, move us toward giving glory to our God who alone is worthy.

May this be the banner we march under.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31)

May we see our purpose as God does.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

“Father, help me to not be so near sighted that I focus on me and us and ours but on you and yours. Help me to make myself small that you can be large. Teach me over and over again to not love the praise of men but your glory alone. For your beautiful name. Amen.”

Not So Obvious Lessons From John 17 #2

As I began reading and thinking my way through this great chapter again I wrote a post “Not So Obvious Lessons From John 17” focusing on Jesus words as he was praying “I do not pray for the world” and the implications of why he said that and what it means to us today as believers.

This lesson comes from the part of Jesus prayer in John 17 verse 24.

“Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”

Jesus’ request for those first followers and for you and I who believed because of their witness (John 17:20) is that we see his glory. His glory is the infinite appreciation of all that he is. His grace, mercy, faithfulness, love, compassion, truthfulness, justice, holiness, and every other eternal attribute are summed up in a word, Glory! So to see his glory is to see him as he is, to understand and acknowledge, and appreciate and bask in, and be fully satisfied in who he his.

Jesus’ glory is a love gift (John 17:24) from the Father. No stronger case can be made for the deity of Jesus than that God the Father in eternity before creation shared every attribute, every facet of deity with the Son, and thus his glory, all born of love. God is love and the manifestation of that love in creation, in salvation, in justification, in sanctification, and in glorification is glorious, all of his works display his glory.

This brings me to the second aspect of this simple but spectacular portion of Jesus’ prayer. Jesus intends to share his glory with us!

“The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:22-23)

This declaration corresponds to Paul’s words in Romans

“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” (Romans:29-30)

How can it be that the Creator God would share his glory with you and me who are flawed to the core? This is why. The redemptive work of God in Christ is so perfect, so complete, that sinners can be counted righteous, and in God’s sight be so infused with the whole of who he is that they are able to share in his glory, the full manifestation of all that he is. And this too is a love gift. Jesus has given us his glory

“so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me” (John 17:23b)

When I begin to get my mind around this truth, (God loves me as much as he loves Jesus!) I can begin to comprehend the glory of God and the expression of his glory in the saints, you and me.

I’ll end with this.

“Declare his glory among the nations,his marvelous works among all the peoples!” (1 Chronicles 16:24)

To God be the glory..