Gospel For Life

Training and building disciples for Christ

The Glory of God in the Face of Christ (2 Cor 4:3-6)

            Two hundred plus years of humanistic philosophy in the Western world have deepened the collective pride of sinners.  In this age of philosophic naturalism, implicit trust of one’s own mind is treated as a ‘given’.  

 

            As a consequence, without God’s revelation as one’s fixed point of reference for truth, reality, right, and wrong; the individual is left with self-interest as the sole shaper of personal values.  (In light of this; it’s easy to see how divine moral truth has been lost; and immorality has rushed into the vacuum.)

 

            Biblical Christianity is being marginalized as irrelevant; it is slowly being pushed to the edge of a precipice.  The sign on the brink of this cliff reads, “Warning, Christianity is implausible. Stand back! Dangerous intellectual drop off.” 

 

            An evolutionary world view dominates the academy; the sensate (pertaining to the five senses) is treated as ‘real’, and the ideational (immaterial reality) is treated as unreal (J. P. Moreland, Love God with all your Mind, p. 91). 

 

            Students who attend a secular university find themselves in an academic environment in which the autonomy of the intellect is assumed at every turn.  ‘Rational’ conclusions drawn from methods of reasoning based on human autonomy from God are questioned less and less. 

 

            The need for believing students to be taught Apologetics and Christian

World View is vital if they are to effectively engage the futile thinking of those in the academy.  (At times, this war between worldviews that is often below the surface emerges in a violent clash of ethics—i.e. abortion; euthanasia; same sex marriage, etc.)

 

            When the Christian Gospel confronts the unbeliever (especially when one is witnessing in an academic setting); the unbeliever is often insulted by the exclusivity of the Gospel message.  Wherenaturalism and pluralism are presupposed as core commitments; Christianity will be increasingly relegated to the category of the implausible.

 

            Christians need to know the ethical reason for this intellectual rebellion; the Word of life condemns the cherished autonomy, and the self-centered opinions the natural man holds dear.  Unbelieving college students and professors have chosen a world view that allows their love of sin and self to remain in place. 

 

            God’s Word exposes the intellectual rebellion, and spiritual darkness of the natural man.  In response to the faithful witness of believers; impenitent sinners may look briefly within; and then claim to see none of the revolt and hostility toward God that is housed in their souls. 

 

            We know why; the natural man uses his erroneous world view to lock out the Gospel; his love of darkness (Jn 3:18-21) manifests itself in the intellectual realm.  As Romans one attests; the unsaved man willingly commits intellectual suicide (they became fools) in order to cling to his independence from God.

 

            Now more than ever, the value of a working knowledge of Christian world view is vital if we are to be salt and light. 

 

            We saw last time in our message, The Edenic Lie, and the ‘Eve Theory of Knowledge,” that Satan’s original lie drove a wedge into the mind of man.  A dichotomy within man’s mind was formed in the process.  Our first parents, having acted upon the devil’s lie, saw God’s glory, and man’s highest good as mutually exclusive. 

 

            Satan’s lie created a breach, or wedge, in man’s thinking between the will of God and the good of man.  In effect, Satan told a lie about God’s goodness; a lie that once believed would ‘logically’ justify human self-determination, and autonomy of human reason.

 

            Satan’s lie was nothing short of murder (Jn 8:44).  For when the lie was believed and acted upon; it cut off man from the life of God, and the knowledge of God.

 

            Lucifer’s lie about God’s goodness scribes the very outline, or shape, if you will, of the spiritual darkness that rules every unregenerate soul.

 

            Adrian Rogers breaks down the Edenic lie into four parts: 1.) “God is not good and loving.”  God is withholding your highest good.  He is even threatened by your human potential.  He is severe and unloving. This became an excuse to think negatively about God.  2.) “God is not truthful.”  “You shall not die.” Doubt leads to denial.  The lie cast doubt upon the authority; authenticity; reliability; and truthfulness of God’s Word.  This became an excuse to think skeptically about God.  3.) “God is not righteous.”  God is not going to comprehensively punish sin.  His threats are idle.  God is not to be feared.  His dictates are not really commands; only advice.  This became an excuse to think irreverently about God.  4.) “God is not gracious.”  Since God is not good, truthful, and righteous; you need to be your own god.  Experiment a bit; liberate yourself; determine truth; reality; right and wrong for yourself.  This became an excuse to thinkindependently from God.

 

            SERMON PROPOSITION: We’ve established that the Edenic lie plunged man into spiritual darkness by separating (in the mind of man) God’s glory from man’s highest good.  

 

            Our purpose is in this message is to seek to comprehend the matchless grace of God—for in causing the glory of God to shine in our hearts in the face of Christ; God has effectually rejoined, in the mind and heart the redeemed, the glory of God with the good of the creature. 

 

            This rejoining is accomplished in Christ.  To see God’s glory in the face of Christ is to be saved. Once we are saved; our beholding of God’s glory in the face of Christ has just begun.  Now as ‘unveiled ones’, we continue to behold the glory of the Lord and are thereby transformed (2 Cor 3:18).   

 

            Spiritual Darkness

            4:3, 4 -- The Gospel is glorious; but its glory is hidden from the lost.  The Gospel’s true character and excellence as the revelation of God is not apprehended.  Unbelievers cannot perceive or rejoice in the splendor of the Gospel.  The reason is because of the character of those who reject the Gospel; Scripture says that they are foolish (1 Cor 1:18).  Rejection of the Gospel is a damnable immoral act. 

 

            God testifies to the fact that man is born dead to the things of God (Eph 2:1-3)  Though sinners are still aware of God; they are blind to His glory; thus the things of God are not viewed as precious; as life; as wisdom; as the highest good; as infinitely desirable; as the rule of life.             

 

            Satan is behind this concealment of God’s glory. The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving.  The gospel is veiled to those who are perishing (4:4).  Satan is the blinder; the destroyer; themurderer of souls (Jn 8:44).  Blinding the minds of unbelievers is Satan’s business.  He seeks to prevent men from seeing the glory of Christ. 

 

            The glory of Christ is the sum of all His divine and human excellence.  These perfections, centered in His Person, make Him the radiant point of the universe—the clearest manifestation of God to the creature—the object of supreme adoration, admiration, and love.  To see His glory is to be saved; for we are thereby transformed from glory to glory (3:18). 

 

            Satan tries his best to block the illumination men’s minds.  The Gospel, as the revelation of the glory of Christ, is the source of the illumination.  Through the evil one’s lies; the unbeliever is incapacitated from gazing upon the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ.

 

            The darkness began when our first parents sinned in the Garden of Eden.  Original sin extinguished the knowledge of God.  Spiritual darkness is characterized by ignorance, fear, enslavement, corrupted affections, estrangement, and rebellion.

 

            Spiritual darkness is also characterized by suspicion and hatred toward God; enmity if you will, wherein God’s foundational attribute; holiness, is a cause for hostility, and distance; not closeness, and adoration.

 

            Man’s spiritual blindness is so great that when he attempts to contemplate God, he winds up: a.)making a god like himself (Ps 50); b.) exchanging the glory of God for the image of a creature(worshipping and serving the creature—Romans 1); c.) choosing alienation and estrangement from God(he does not seek God); d.) seeking to protect himself from God by religion and philosophy; e.) studiouslysuppressing what he does know about God (see Romans 1:18-23). 

 

            Our text alludes to the original darkness of creation week (4:6).  The primordial  darkness could not make its own light—it had no properties which could be developed into light.  If there were to be light; there must be an external source to shine upon the newly created world; God, by a fiat act (fiat – by divine order of decree), said, “Let there be light.” 

 

            The darkened soul of man also has no properties that can be developed into light.  The sinner needs an external source of light; God alone can provide that light.

 

            The Glory of God 

            God’s glory is the outshining of His perfections and excellence.  The creature was made for the glory of God.  God made the world in order to manifest His glory; as a stage for His glory.  God’s glory is Hismoral majesty.  God shall most certainly realize the end and goal for which He created all things.  Neither angelic, nor human rebellion will thwart His purposes. 

 

            God’s moral majesty is His burning holiness and purity.  God dwells in unapproachable light (1 Tim 6:16).  God’s holiness is like a burning furnace that consumes everything that is not like Himself in righteousness; all that is unholy (Heb 10:27; 12:29).   How can unholy men love the holiness of a holy God who threatens to consume all that is not holy?  (The sight of God to the unregenerate soul will be unbearable – Revelation 6:15-17).

 

            The only way that sinful man can love a holy God is to be justified in the sight of our holy Creator. Apart from redemption in Christ; God’s holiness justly argues for our eternal punishment.  Man’s response to threatened damnation is enmity. 

 

            Reconciliation through Christ is the all-sufficient means of purging the heart of hostility toward God (Col 1:20-22).  Only then is the believing sinner ‘rightly adjusted’ to God’s holiness so that he loves, adores, and seeks to emulate God’s holiness.

 

            Just as man cannot look up at the noon day sun with unaided eyes; so also, man cannot behold the glory of God’s moral majesty unless it is reflected in the face of our merciful Redeemer.   The glory of Christ, who is the image of God, is the light of the Gospel.  When we are confronted with the Christ’s glory; we are confronted with the true likeness of God (Heb 1:1-3). 

 

            Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9).  Christ our Redeemer is the image of God; and of man at the same time.  This is God’s mystery; that the second Person of the Godhead should be man in His true essence and stature according to the purposes of the Creator.  Christ as logos emanates the brightness of the Father’s glory.  Christ is equal with God; yet clothed in our nature (Phil 2:6).

 

            In Christ’s theonthropic Person; the divine and the human meet, and are reconciled.  Christ is an exalted man; He takes the redeemed from dust to glory.  He is our man in glory.  The world to come shall be ruled by glorified men above angels (Heb 2:5-8).  It has not yet appeared what we shall become (1 Jn3:2). 

 

            We can only ‘see’ and behold God’s attributes from the vantage point of safety; from the vantage point of the new covenant inaugurated by Christ’s blood.   While subject to wrath due to the guilt of our sin; we cannot know God (we will retain our enmity; and we will hide from our Creator).

 

            God, who spoke light into existence; spoke through the O.T. Prophets.  In these last days; He has spoken with finality in the incarnation of Christ (Heb 1:1-3).  One cannot know the God of glory independent of God’s redemptive design in Christ.  How does a sinner gain the knowledge of God?  He must know himself to be the object of God’s redemptive work in Christ; he must receive pardon for sins in order to know God.

 

            God is infinite.  Our minds can hardly conceive of a structure like the Sombrero Galaxy which has 50 billion suns; how much more difficult to contemplate God. Galaxies are but the finger work of God (Ps 8:3). 

 

            Man’s Spiritual Blindness is Satanically Energized

            The devil works upon the mind; the reasoning powers of man.  Satan design is to prevent men from seeing the glory of Christ.  Satan is the god of this world; unbelieving men serve him by default; to not serve God is to serve the god of this world (2 Tim 2:26; Matt 4:8, 9; Eph 2:2; 6:12).  The evil one works to keep the original lie in place (God is not good and loving; God is not truthful; God is not gracious; God is not righteous).

 

            Man’s darkened reasoning is futile; it does not create a new ‘reality’ in which man is ‘free’ from God’s moral government.  Futile thinking only makes a man a fool who dwells in spiritual darkness (Rom 1:21).  Men are taken captive by philosophy, deception, the traditions of men, and the elementary principles of this world (Col 2:8).

 

            We Preach--knowing that no one can say “Jesus is Lord,” but by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:3).

            4:5 – Paul declares states that the apostles do not preach to attract the admiration of men; to attempt to do so is to ‘make the cross of Christ void” (1 Cor 1:17).  A work of the Holy Spirit is required to cause a man to recognize Christ as Messiah; as supreme Lord of heaven and earth.  When a man is brought to recognize Christ; he will love and worship Him; and in so doing, he will be made like Him (3:18).

 

            To fall at the feet of Christ as Lord (kurios – equality with God) is only attainable by the work of the Holy Spirit.  Knowledge of God in Christ is not a mere matter of intellectual apprehension; it is a matter of spiritual discernment; to be derived from the Spirit of God only.  God must shine in the heart to give the knowledge (Matt 16:17; Gal 1:17; 1 Cor 2:10; 14).  The glory of God is spiritual; it is spiritually discerned. 

 

            Can you see why the Scriptures make the knowledge of Christ consist of true religion?  Christ is God; to know Him is to know God (to deny Him is to not know God; it is to deny God).  

 

            Is salvation a decision to accept a body of truth?  Is salvation mental assent to a body of facts concerning the life of Christ?  Does my decision to accept that body of truth have the power to regenerate me; causing me to be born again?  Our text informs us that salvation is by revelation; it is not simply the acceptance of the recorded facts of Jesus’ life, and work, and message.

 

Men of God of two centuries past saw the ‘religious’ unsaved as those who had converted to Christianity but not to Christ.  Though outwardly moral and verbally orthodox, the false professor is without personal knowledge of Christ.  This subject of being a stranger to Christ was the touchstone that permeated the messages of our predecessors when they addressed nominal Christianity. 

 

(Therefore as ministers of the Gospel; it behooves us to know the defenses and machinations of soul that keep the door barred from faith and repentance.  How can we preach over, under, and around the door if we do not know the reasons the false professor has so securely bolted the door against the Lamb of God?)

 

Regarding the need for the work of grace in the conscience, Philpot observes; pulling down of all man’s false refuges, stripping him of every lying hope, and thrusting him down into self-abasement and self-abhorrence, is indispensable to a true reception of Christ.  No matter how informed his judgment is he will never receive Christ spiritually into his heart and affections, until he has been broken down by the hand of God in his soul to be a ruined wretch (J. C. Philpot, The Heavenly Birth and its Earthly Counterfeit, Chapel Library, p. 4).

 

          The need for revelation: faith in the historical Jesus, or in “Christ the Son of the living God?”

In Matthew 16:17 the Lord told Peter that his response, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” did not find its source in flesh and blood but was the result of the Father’s revelation.

 

Peter had not arrived at his belief by mere reason: flesh and blood had not worked out the problem; there had been a revelation to him from the Father who is in heaven.  To know the Lord in mere doctrinal statement, no such divine teaching is required; but Peter’s full assurance of his Lord’s nature and mission was no theory in the head: the truth had been written on his heart by the heavenly Spirit.  This is the only knowledge worth having as to the Person of our Lord (Charles H. Spurgeon, The Gospel of Matthew,Revell, p. 224).

 

The Apostle Paul’s own testimony of personal salvation also includes the revelation of Christ.  “But when it pleased Him, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, in order that I might preach His Gospel among the Gentiles. . .” (Gal 1:15-16a).

 

The outward and the physical would have never sufficed to convert Paul.  The Apostle’s testimony was in “His good pleasure He revealed His Son in me.”  It changed a man who was breathing murderous threats against Christ’s church into one who breathed doxologies whenever he reflected on God’s marvelous redeeming love to one so undeserving as himself. 

 

The immediate purpose if this separation and calling is here said to have been “to reveal His Son in me.”  To reveal is to remove the scales from the eyes of the heart.  Paul had been persecuting God’s only begotten Son.  God wanted Paul to see that the Jesus, whom in His disciples Paul had been persecuting, was indeed partaker of God’s very essence, Himself God (William Hendrickson, NTC, pp. 52-53).

 

Many today believe in the historical Jesus who are ignorant of the character of God.  The power of the Gospel is to give the knowledge of the glory of God (His true character) in the face of Christ (2 Cor 4:6). Many trust in Christ precisely as the Jews did in Moses.  This is another gospel; an historic Jesus, not the glory of God in the face of Christ.  Those who hold to this gospel are strangers to the truth and are still in love with the world (James HaldaneRevelation of God’s Righteousness, Chapel Library, p. 27).

 

As a consequence of this reductionist gospel, many have devalued knowledge; as if we might become acquainted with God without having the heart affected by the truth.  No, the knowledge of God produces the radical change; the entire change of the sinner’s heart.  “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee” (Jn 17:3).

 

Nature may have a superficial knowledge and illumination of the Savior.  The natural man may be active and do something for Him.  But to love the cross, to suffer with Him, to follow Him through the streets of Jerusalem to Golgotha as He stoops dumb before His shearers so that your spirit feeds on His flesh and blood and humiliation is a work of God’s Spirit in you.  The natural man may have His emotions stirred by Christ’s passion, but only the true saint is acquainted with Christ in his spirit so as to feed upon his Substitute (Morgan, The Life and Times of Howell Harris, p. 239).

 

The most important question that could ever be asked is: Do you know in reality the living Christ? Do you know Christ by personal revelation?  The question is not: Do you read the Bible?  Are you religious?  The question is: Have you ever seen yourself a lost, vile sinner before a holy God?  Have you ever been stripped of your self-righteousness and laid low in the dust of humility?  Have you ever viewed by faith the glorious Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, all because of a direct and personal revelation to you of God the Holy Spirit?  (W. F. Bell, Do you know Christ by personal revelation? -- Chapel Library).

 

If you only know Jesus by no more than the world knows, than the learned among men know, you have not the real blessing.  If you only know the Lord of Glory by what you have found out yourself, in reading or in talking to others, unaided by the Father’s drawing power, you are not blessed with true salvation.  The true children of God have been made humble.  They confess their total dependence upon the grace and mercy of Christ, and place their entire confidence and faith in His meritorious righteousness and shed blood (ibid.).

 

Is Christ your Surety, your Substitute, your Sacrifice, and your Savior?  Do you believe in Jesus by an inward discernment of Him? Do you clearly see Him as the Son of man and the Son of God?  Do you see Him as your propitiation before God?  If you know Him in this way, it has not been learned from the instruction of men; you have had a direct revelation made to you by the Father concerning who Jesus Christ really is (Gal 1:16) (ibid.).

 

The saved have had their eyes enlightened to understand the full and complete satisfaction made by the Son of God; that He has satisfied divine justice for all who believe.  They are enabled to apply this to their own hearts.  They have the testimony of the blood and the washing of the Holy Spirit (Morgan, p. 78).

 

The true saint never ceases to marvel that God has made an infinite difference between us and our fellow creatures by causing us to behold (by revelation) Christ’s death, humiliation, passion (ibid.).

 

 God’s ‘shining into the heart’ is an act of  Sovereign Mercy

            4:6 – All things are of God! (5:18).  Only the intervening grace of God can penetrate the darkness of the human heart (left to himself; the sinner stumbles in darkness).  The Creator in the O.T. is the ‘Re-Creator’ in the N.T. 

 

            By divine fiat He spoke light into existence (fiat – by order or decree).  When God shines into the heart of a man; it is by means of the Gospel that He does so (James 1:18). 

 

            God’s activity of shining dispels the darkness in the heart and removes the sinner’s enmity and hostility (Col 1:20-22).  In the O.T., God said, “Let there be light.”  In the N.T., God became light for us (the Living Word was made flesh on earth – Heb 1:2). 

 

            At the moment of conversion; God floods the heart with light.  The heart is the center of a man’s whole being (moral, intellectual, and spiritual).   The reality of the shining guarantees man is nothing less than a new creature (5:17).

 

            The result of the light shining is gnosis—the saving knowledge of God; the revelation of the Father in the Son; the image of the invisible transcendent God—in whom are hidden all the treasures of God’s wisdom and knowledge (Col 2:3). 

 

            The light of God shining into the heart and mind lifts the veil; removes the satanically induced blindness; and brings the knowledge of God to the sinner (knowledge of the ultimate truth; knowledge that is advancing form glory to glory; complete at the appearance of  Christ (1 Jn 3:2). 

 

            Salvation is a matter of revelation (Matt 11:25-30).  God’s shining into our hearts at the moment of salvation is the exercise of divine power (Rom 1:16; 1 Cor 1:18; 2:5; Eph 1:19; 2 Pet 1:3).

 

            Your salvation is a sovereign act of God (‘No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him – Jn 6:44).  Jesus said, “Every plant which my heavenly Father did not plant shall be rooted up” (Matt 15:13).  One divine used to ask the following question when he preached, “Who started religion in you; was it you, or was it God?  If it was you; I wouldn’t give a penny for your religion.”

 

            Christ is God’s ‘Light’; the Redeemed have seen the Glory of God in the Face of Christ

            The Gospel is hidden from one class of men; God opens the eyes of the others to see His glory. God’s glory is divine majesty and excellence (the proper object of our admiration and adoration).  It is only seen by faith; in the face of Jesus by the illumination of the Spirit. 

 

            God becomes in Christ the object of knowledge—the clearest revelation of God.  Those who refuse to see God in Christ have lost all true knowledge of God (Jn 1:18; Matt 11:27; 1 Jn 2:23; 2 Jn 9; Jn 15:23). Salvation comes by the revelation of Christ (Gal 1:15, 16).  Christ came to ‘explain the Father’—Jesus brought truth and grace in so doing (Jn 1:17, 18).     

 

            To come to know God is to know Him personally—by His covenant name; ‘Father’.  Only the Holy Spirit can produce the spirit of sonshipthe pervading consciousness that the redeemed sinner is truly the child of his Heavenly Father (Rom 8:15; Gal 4:5, 6). 

 

            This knowledge of God comes only in the face of Christ.  For in the face of Christ; we see God’s merciful plan to redeem sinners; we see His infinite love; His eternal plan to share Himself (that the creature may find God to be his true home; his highest good; and his greatest treasure and delight).

 

            In Christ God provides a place for us to be washed; hidden; accepted; adopted.  It is a place of favor; status; sonship; and right-standing—all graciously given. 

 

            In Christ we see God’s mighty attributes exercised in order to bring us to glory.  We see Christ in all His offices; Prophet; Priest; and King (all these offices are necessary in order to bring us to heaven). 

 

            In the Person of Christ, we see God’s perfect attributes in our own human nature.  We see Christ as Mediator; we see His perfect suitability to be our Savior. 

 

            The revelation of God’s glory is bound up in His plan to manifest Himself in the Son (Heb 1:1-3). The Gospel is the message of God’s plan.  The message of the cross reveals the character of God; the heart disposition of God toward sinners; and also the character of the sinner. 

 

            As said before; mortal man cannot contemplate the infinite moral majesty of God. God’s glory is spiritual; it is transcendent; man cannot grasp it.  Men have no immediate knowledge, or point of contact with the glory of God. 

 

            Yes, a form of reflected glory can be seen in the wonders of God’s creation (Ps 19).  But God’s essential glory must be reflected in the face of Christ in order for us to know, and behold God as He truly is.

 

            God’s glory is revealed within the specifics of God’s plan; a plan referred to as God’s mystery; or, the mystery Christ (the plan that Christ should become incarnate in human history in order to redeem sinners – Eph Eph 1:9; 3:3; Col 1:26, 27; 2:2). 

 

            Christ turned God’s wrath away from believing sinners.  Christ took upon Himself all our unfitness; our demerit; our curse; our separation from God; our guilt, and liability to judgment.  To see Christ as our suffering Substitute has the net effect of purging the soul of enmity, hostility, fear, and suspicion. 

 

            Like a prism bending light so that we see each of its beautiful spectral colors; Christ was bent in the crucifixion so that the light of the glory of God might be seen in all of its variegated colors (all the perfections of God).  For in the Person and work of Christ; all of the attributes of God were put on display for the first time in human history. 

 

            In Christ we see that God’s attributes are cast into Gospel promises for the safety; welfare; and security of the believing sinner (2 Pet 1:1-3).  To look upon Christ; God in our nature, doing His vicarious work; bleeding, dying, receiving the penalty for our sins in His own Person—pours light into the soul.  One believing look and that man is saved for all eternity.

 

            To see Christ as your Redeemer; is to see God in His glory.  For there is but one safe place; but one vantage point from which to see clearly so as to behold God’s glory—it is only found in the cleft of the Rock (Ex 33:12-23).  God’s plan to show you His glory is bound up in His purpose of hiding you in Christ (Jn17:1-5, 24).

 

            God communicates Himself to you in Christ; to know God in Christ is to be a saved person (Jn17:3).  We were created to run on God; to find our treasure; our purpose; our existence; our happiness; our very life in Him. 

 

            Christ came to bring us back to God.  As we keep looking to Christ and contemplating all that God is toward us in Christ; we are transformed; we are liberated from the residual effects of the Edenic lie (the lie is always attempting to refasten itself to us; the evil one is constantly seeking to sow doubt about God’s goodness toward us in particular).

 

            To see Christ as your Redeemer is to see God’s attributes in right relation; it is to see holiness, love, justice, power, mercy, wisdom, sovereignty--all active in the work of redemption.  It is the living Word of God manifesting and commending the truth of God to the conscience (4:2).

 

            Christ changes our Relationship to God’s Glory

            The natural man has no sentiment to live for God’s glory.  Concerning God’s glory; the natural man is without passion; he has no sentiment whatsoever to live for God’s glory.  The reason is that the darkness of the Edenic lie still reigns in the heart of the unbeliever. 

 

            The ancient lie sent the message that God’s glory was antithetical to man’s highest good—no wonder those controlled by the lie have not one bit of interest in living for God’s glory.

 

            When the light of God’s glory shines into the heart in the face of Christ; the sinner is awakened to God.  The saved man becomes an “unveiled one” (3:14-18).  That awakening embodies a divinely imparted understanding that in Christ, God has made our cause (by ‘our cause’ is meant our greatest need; i.e. restoration from Adam’s ruin); God has made our cause His cause. 

 

            By Christ’s work of propitiation, God’s wrath against our sins was placated; satisfied; pacified.  The finished work of Christ has forever changed our relation to God’s holiness.  Because of the cross; our holy God is free to send an unending cascade of grace and mercy upon us. 

 

            Christ brings us near to God (Eph 2:13).  By faith in Christ the believing sinner understands that God’s glory is inseparably joined to our highest good.  For God has made the rescue of sinners to be the chief instrument for the display of His glory.

 

            One ravishing look at Christ; and the believing sinner is reconciled to God so that God’s cause (His glory) becomes the passion of the saved man.  God’s sovereign mercy in Christ is the rationale for abandoning ourselves to God as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1, 2).  To see the glory of God in the face of Christ brings us into total sympathy with God’s plan to glorify Himself.  God’s cause becomes our cause; we are animated by a passion for His glory.

 

            How can we know if God’s cause is our cause?  When God’s cause is our cause; we want what God wants; namely to see God glorified in the calling and sanctifying of sinners as they are converted and prepared to live with God forever in glory. 

 

            A passion for God’s glory means that we will pant after God; we will feed upon His Word; and proclaim His Word; we will make it our practice to behold His glory in Christ.  We will invest in souls.  We will long to do our part in the Great Commission.  We will serve our Savior by edifying the body; we will use our gifts to assist in preparing God’s people for eternity (Col 1:27-29).  

 

Select Bibliography:

John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentary

Jonathan Edwards, “The End for which God Created the World,” Works of Edwards

James HaldaneCommentary on Romans

James Haldane, “The Wisdom of God Displayed in the Mystery of Redemption,”

                         Works of James Haldane

James HaldaneCommentary on Romans

James HaldaneRevelation of God’s Righteousness

Murray H. Harris, Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary

William Hendrickson, NTC

Charles Hodge, I & II Corinthians

Philip E. Hughes, ITC

J. P. Moreland, Love your God with all your Mind

Edward Morgan, The Life and Times of Howell Harris

Charles H. Spurgeon, The Gospel of Matthew