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Discuss the tough questions relating to the Christian Faith. Present the Scripture in an interdenominational fashion demonstrating those things we hold in common and provoking thought whenever possible. Hopefully you will find things here that will encourage you to study more deeply that all of Scripture will be at home in your heart.


Romans 1:8 - Famous Faith

Roman 1:8

"First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world" (NASB)

"First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world." (KJV)

"Let me say first that I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith in Him is being talked about all over the world." (NLT)

Compare: "And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don't need to tell them about it," (1 Thessalonians 1:8 NLT)

"Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation." Hebrew 11:2

Is proclaimed (kataggelletai). Present passive indicative of kataggellō, to announce (aggellō) up and down (kata). See also anaggellō, to bring back news (Joh_5:15), apaggellō, to announce from one as the source (Mat_2:8), prokataggellō, to announce far and wide beforehand (Act 3:18).

"Give me the love that leads the way, The faith that nothing can dismay, The hope no disappointments tire, The passion that will burn like fire, Let me not sink to be a clod: Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God." Amy Carmichael

"Much of it hinges on your view of scripture. Are you playing a proof text poker with Genesis plus the Gospels and Paul's epistles, with everything else just short of a big mystery in between--except maybe psalms and proverbs, which you use devotionally? Or do you see scripture as being a cosmic drama--creation, fall, redemption, future hope--dramatic narratives that you can apply to all areas of life?" (Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, Prism Interview)


All that The Father Gives The Son

Jesus said to them (the Jewish audience), “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:35-40 ESV)

We have nestled in the above passage from John, Chapter 6 two declarations by Jesus concerning a group of people 'given' to the Son by the Father; those given to the Son by the Father will come, and having come, they will never be cast out.

Note that the passage does not say "When those the Father gives me come to me, I will receive them," it merely says that "all those the Father gives me will come." The certainty of that coming is amplified by Jesus saying in v. 40 that those who believe (come) will be raised up on the last day.

In researching a lot of different study Bibles and commentaries, I discovered that there seems to be very strong consensus by theologians through the centuries that there is indeed a group of people given to the Son by the Father, who will be saved. I won't cite all of those references here, but leave it up to the reader to discover them. All that research really only means that the passages mean exactly what they say.

What that passage presents the reader are some very interesting and important questions:

Who make up this group of people the Father gives the Son? If all of them come to Christ and are saved, it can't mean that God gives everyone to the Son (universal salvation) because we know from the scriptures that some folks don't receive eternal life, but they receive everlasting punishment (Matt 25:46).

Are there any who receive eternal life who are not given by the Father to the Son, that some come all on their own? If that's the case, why would the Father 'give' anyone to the Son?

If only those that the Father 'gives' the Son are saved, what about those not given?

What all is involved in the 'giving' by God and the 'coming' of those given?

What does it mean that those who come will never be cast out?

I'm not offering answers in this post, just the questions. Do I have answers? Yes, and some might even be the right answers, but that's not the point. I think we need to wrestle with the questions on our own and let the Bible speak.

They are not simple 'fill in the blank' questions, but some of the answers can 'rock your theology'.

Be blessed!  


Guard Your Heart With Prayer

Guard Your Heart With Prayer?

We have considered various cases, both of individuals and corporate companies, who missed God’s best, and saw how ill it fared with them.  We pointed out how that if we judge ourselves for our sins we shall escape God’s chastening rod.  We now turn to the question, Is it possible for a Christian who has missed God’s best to be recovered to full communion with Him and restored to His providential smile?  Possible, yes; easy, no.  Before we show how that possibility may be realized, let us solemnly ponder what brought that poor soul into such a sorry plight a plight into which both writer and reader will certainly fall unless we are ever on our prayerful guard.  The grand but simple secret of a healthy and prosperous spiritual life is to continue as we began (Colossians 2:6): by daily trusting in the sufficiency of Christ’s blood and yielding ourselves to His lordship, seeking to please and honor Him in all things.  As the believer walks with Christ in the path of obedience, following the example which He has left him, peace will possess his soul and joy will fill his heart, and the smile of God will be upon him.  But unless he, by grace, fulfill those conditions, such will not be his happy portion.  Arthur W. Pink, Pracical Christianity

One can regard the act of praying in many ways.  We can see that prayer is a conversation, a duty, a ministry, an act of worship, a weapon of warfare, etc.  However, how often do we think of prayer in terms of self-preservation?

I suppose one of the first Bible verses that comes to mind that may encapsulate this thought is from Philippians 4:6-7:

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.  Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT)

Consider the phrase, "guard your hearts."  It did not appear here by chance or random act.  This is a law not unlike the "law of gravity" that requires our careful attention.  If the "Peace" guards our hearts, it would then follow that there is a necessity for our hearts to be guarded.  It further follows that we alone cannot accomplish this task because all that we are is in Christ Jesus!  Our part is to pray and in its consideration be concerned for our heart knowing that in our flesh the heart is desperately wicked.  We must not deceive ourselves into thinking that on any day that we are something when we are nothing.  But in Christ we have been called saints.

When we have missed God's best for our lives, which for most of us mere mortals is more often than we would like to think, there is only one way back into fellowship! It is the way of the Cross!  As Roy Hession put it in his book, Calvary Road, it is that place where the haughty self-centered I is made to bow low and be made into a "C" (paraphrase mine).  Our propensity is to ignore the problem and hope that is disappears into history unnoticed.  But unconfessed sin becomes judgment.  We then take the path of Israel around Mount Sinai for however many laps is required for our tears to become real.  Then the Lord of Glory, who is might to forgive, will give us the opportunity to "repent" and be restored.

The Epistle of First John used to mightily confuse me.  How could there be so many jumps of logic from statement to statement?  But if one considers that it was written from left to right and not top to bottom then it begins to yield the expanse of its mighty truth.  John writes so that we will not sin. We are no longer obligated to do so because in Christ we have been set free (Romans 6).  If we deceive ourselves into thinking we have not sinned we call God a liar.  If we live a life that is in the shade rather that in the light the truth is not in us.  When we admit our sin we have an advocate who is might to forgive and cleans us from all our unrighteousness.  How do we do this?  By engaging in the battle through prayer! Perhaps as the Lord Jesus illuminates our hearts with the Light of His Glory, we will come to that place where we pray like C. S. Lewis once proclaimed, "I pray because I cannot help myself."  To acknowledge that my desire to pray is an act of the Holy Spirit.  The fact that I understand my need in praying is His work of Grace in my heart.

How to begin?  Drop to your knees and confess that you know nothing about prayer and are ignorant of your sin and rebellious of heart.  This is standing in the light!  That place of honesty where the work of Grace begins!

We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy. (1 John 1:4 NLT)


Question: "What are the essentials of the gospel message?"

Question: "What are the essentials of the gospel message?"

Answer: The word “gospel” means good news, and it is best defined as the message of forgiveness for sin through the atoning work of Jesus Christ. It is essentially God’s rescue plan of redemption for those who will trust in His divine Son in order to be reconciled to a just and holy God. The essential content of this saving message is clearly laid out for us in the Bible.

In the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he lays out the content of the gospel message, “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (
1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

In this passage, we see three essential elements of the gospel message. First, the phrase “died for our sins” is very important. As
Romans 3:23 tells us, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The reality of sin needs to be acknowledged by all who approach the throne of God for salvation. A sinner must acknowledge the hopelessness of his guilt before God in order for forgiveness to take place, and he must understand that the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Without this foundational truth, no gospel presentation is complete.

Second, the person and work of Christ are indispensable components of the gospel. Jesus is both God (
Colossians 2:9) and man (John 1:14). Jesus lived the sinless life that we could never live (1 Peter 2:22) and, as such, He is the only one who could die a substitutionary death for the sinner. Sin against an infinite God requires an infinite sacrifice. Therefore, either man, who is finite, must pay the penalty for an infinite length of time in hell, or the infinite Christ must pay for it once. Jesus went to the cross to pay the debt we owe to God for our sin and those who are covered by His sacrifice will inherit the kingdom of God as sons of the king (John 1:12).

Third, the resurrection of Christ is an essential element of the gospel. The resurrection is the proof of the power of God. Only He who created life can resurrect it after death, only He can reverse the hideousness that is death itself, and only He can remove the sting that is death and the victory that is the grave’s (
1 Corinthians 15:54-55). Further, unlike all other religions, Christianity alone possesses a Founder who transcends death and who promises that His followers will do the same. All other religions were founded by men and prophets whose end was the grave.

Finally, Christ offers His salvation as a free gift (
Romans 5:15; 6:23), that can only be received by faith, apart from any works or merit on our part (Ephesians 2:8-9). As the Apostle Paul tells us, the gospel is "...the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile" (Romans 1:16). The same inspired author tells us, "If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9).

These, then, are the essential elements of the gospel: the sin of all men, the death of Christ on the cross to pay for those sins, the resurrection of Christ to provide life everlasting for those who follow Him, and the offer of the free gift of salvation to all.

Recommended Resource:
Faith Alone: The Evangelical Doctrine of Justification by R.C. Sproul.


Romans 1:7 - Called as Saints

Romans 1:7

"to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." (NASB)

"To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ." (KJV)

"am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be His own holy people. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace." (NLT)

G2822
klētos
Thayer Definition:
1) called, invited (to a banquet)
1a) invited (by God in the proclamation of the Gospel) to obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom through Christ
1b) called to (the discharge of) some office
1b1) divinely selected and appointed

G40
hagios
Thayer Definition:
1) most holy thing, a saint
Part of Speech: adjective
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from hagos (an awful thing) [compare G53, G2282]

Strong Definition:
From hagos (an awful thing) compare G53, [H2282]; sacred (physically pure, morally blameless or religious, ceremonially consecrated): - (most) holy (one, thing), saint.

Key repeated phrases:

Verse 1: called as an apostle; called to be an apostle; chosen by God to be an apostle

Verse 6: called of Jesus Christ; called to belong to Jesus Christ

Verse 7: called as saints; called to be saints; called to be His own holy people

The same way Paul is a "called apostle," and we are "called of Christ," we are also "called as saints." Because I belong to Christ, I am a most holy thing. A mind boggling statement certainly not reflective of the face I shave every morning.

Heavenly Father, let the light of your holiness shine upon my heart in that place where the visage is not marred because of your providential preservation that I may in some small way reflect the light of your Son, Jesus, to someone today! Thank you for this magnificent salvation purchased with the blood of the Messiah.


The Gospel Message That Has 'Power to Save'

I’ll be the first to admit that there are ‘levels’, of the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I tend to place them into two overall categories; the message needed for the salvation of lost sinners, and the ‘larger’ message(s) that encompasses the entirety of the gospel of the Kingdom in terms of all of the blessings promised to God’s people.

Having said that, I believe it is always important, when discussing the gospel, to define our terms. Especially important is the definition of the gospel message that has the power to save; the message the Apostle Paul speaks of in Romans 1:16:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Emphasis mine)

Obvious is that there exists a gospel that in itself has the ‘power to save’. Given that the gospel, the ‘good news’ can include quite a lot, what exactly is the gospel that includes ‘power to save’? Since t is Paul who tells us there is one, does he also define it? What did Paul focus on in his preaching and teaching? What does Paul himself have to say?

”For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles.” - 1 Cor 1:22-23

“When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” – 1 Cor 2:1-2

We can conclude that the crucified Christ was central to Paul’s preaching, but does he define the gospel with ‘power to save’ more precisely? I believe he does. Speaking to the Corinthian church near the end of one of his letters, in his prelude to the importance of the resurrection to our faith, Paul states:

“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you— unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” – ! Cor 15:1-4  

We can readily see that the death and resurrection of Christ “for ‘our’ sins” was central to Paul’s preaching, and the central issue addressed in the gospel he preached. It is also logical to assume that the gospel we share with those whom God places in our paths for that purpose should be the same as Paul’s message. For many of you it is, but for many others in today’s evangelical climate, sadly it is not.

The gospel Paul preached as having ‘power to save’ has been widely supplanted with a gospel message that focuses on ’abundant living’. It takes several forms, and at times even addresses the issue of sin, but often in a secondary ‘back burner’ manner. What’s wrong with that, if we see sinners ‘accepting’ Christ as Savior? Isn’t abundant living part of the “good news? Yes it is, but is it the primary message we share with those who need a Savior?

Please hear me out.

First of all, remember that our gospel ‘invitation’ is intended for those living lives far away from God and his Son, the Christ. They are ‘by nature’ in rebellion against their Creator, cannot please God and unable to understand Spiritual truth, don't seek him (See Rom 8:7,1 Cor 2:14, Rom 3:11, Ps 14), and have as their primary interest in this life, self-gratification, or self-actualization (if you want a ‘softer’ term). They behave with those goals foremost in their minds. Not only do the scriptures confirm that, but so do the behavioral sciences (Think Maslow).

Given all that accurately describes those who are apart from Christ, what are we doing if the primary focus of our gospel message is ‘abundant life’, which is actually a valid truth claim? (I hope that question is somewhat rhetorical.) We are feeding their ‘nature’; in effect telling them that the principal message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is their personal welfare and happiness, which is exactly what they want, but not abundant life on God's terms.

Assume they like it, and make a 'decision' for Christ. Sooner or later, especially when their abundant doesn't work out according to their wishes and desires, we have more explaining to do. What do you say?

"I know I said Jesus promised abundant life, but God's definition in that John 10:10 passage really means a different kind of 'abundant' life." (Bait & switch alert!)

Or,

"Jesus did promise the abundant life you want, but maybe you haven't given up a sinful habit or something."

Now you get to discuss the very real issue of sin you didn't pay much attention to earlier, and how Jesus died for our sins and that he came to give e abundant life. (Another bait & switch?)

Do you see where I'm coming from? Why not just be lovingly straightforward with Paul's definition of the gospel? Why not include the issue of sin, as of 'first importance'?

I can think of several reasons; maybe you're ashamed of the gospel, afraid someone won't like you anymore, or maybe you really think offering an 'attractive' message is the right way to share the gospel! In that case you would have a lot of company. Most folks think that that we all are naturally seeking God and have the 'natural' capability to make the right decision. Well, we already talked about the 'natural' man. If you forgot what we said, rewind.

In reality, offering an attractive message denies the sovereignty of God in the salvation of men. If what we said about the 'natural' man is true, something has to happen to turn a rebellious heart toward God, and in fact give a spiritually 'dead' man life (See Eph 2). The something that happens is God himself. God opens the stony heart and deaf ears to hear the gospel message that at one time was offensive to the listener, and the sinner confronted with the reality of his/her condition runs joyfully and willingly to the Cross!

The apostle expressed that truth quite well when, speaking of his gospel ministry he stated:

"But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.” – 2 Cor 2:14-16

Yes, the promise of abundant life is good news, and part of the overall message of the gospel, but there is only one gospel message that has the ' power to save'. Hear Paul one more time:

For I delivered to you as of FIRST importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. . ."

The rest of the 'good news', the 'bigger' picture of the gospel, begins at the Cross, or it isn't 'good', but merely self-serving.

 As we share the love of Christ with those around us who know not Christ, may we remain true to the gospel that has 'power to save', trusting in the sovereignty of God for the results.


Beware in Your Prayers

"Beware in your prayers, above everything else, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do.  Expect unexpected things, ‘above all that we ask or think’.  Each time, before you Intercede, be quiet first, and worship God in His glory.  Think of what He can do, and how He delights to hear the prayers of His redeemed people.  Think of your place and privilege in Christ, and expect great things!"  Andrew Murray

When Isaiah saw the throne room of Grace he remarked that he was a man of unclean lips.  I often share the same thought.  Who am I that I would speak in any way to to the power the created the universe.  Yet I am commanded to do just that.  In my ministrations I am afraid that my attitude must wander from that of a cowering at the thought of this remarkable blessing to thinking I really know what might be needed or possible.  How wonderful it is that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us somehow transforming our words into something worthy of entering into the Lord's presence.  We often pray with doubts of His hearing harbored in our heart.  Yet how can He not hear one of His children?  Pastor Murray's words are well thought.  It is good to be quiet before the Lord.  In the silence the thankfulness grows at the estate we have been given through the Savior's blood.  We can listen for the voice that speaks from deep within that illuminates the Word of His timeless revelation through the saints of old.  We can speak to the failing of our heart to follow Him and confess the sins of our unbelief.  When we have thus been feed of the manna and filled with His Spirit of Holiness then we can intercede for the saints everywhere and see with a right expectation and trust in the answers He gives from Amazing Grace.

"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."
(Philippians 4:6-7 NLT)


Why must we glorify God?

The Chief End of Man is to Glorify God – Thomas Watson

Part 4

Why must we glorify God?

1. Because he gives us our being.

Psalm 100:3, "It is he that made us." We think it a great kindness in a man to spare our life, but what kindness is it in God to give us our life! We draw our breath from him; and as life, so all the comforts of life are from him. He gives us health, which is the sauce to sweeten our life; and food, which is the oil that nourishes the lamp of life. If all we receive is from his bounty, is it not reasonable we should glorify him? Should we not live to him, seeing we live by him? Rom. 11:36, "For of him, and through him, are all things." All we have is of his fulness, all we have is through his free grace; and therefore to him should be all. It follows, therefore, "To him be glory for ever." God is not our benefactor only, but our founder, as rivers that come from the sea empty their silver streams into the sea again.

2. Because God has made all things for his own glory.

Prov. 16:4. "The Lord hath made all things for himself:" that is, "for his glory." As a king has excise out of commodities, so God will have glory out of everything. He will have glory out of the wicked. If they will not give him glory, he will get glory upon them. Exod. 14:17. "I will get me honour upon Pharaoh." But especially has he made the godly for his glory; they are the lively organs of his praise. Isa. 43:21, "This people have I formed for myself, and they shall shew forth my praise." It is true, they cannot add to his glory, but they may exalt it; they cannot raise him in heaven, but they may raise him in the esteem of others here. God has adopted the saints into his family, and made them a royal priesthood, that they should show forth the praise of him who hath called them, I Pet. 2:9.

3. Because the glory of God has intrinsic value and excellence.

It transcends the thoughts of men, and the tongues of angels. His glory is his treasure, all his riches lie here; as Micah said. Judges 18:24, "What have I more?" So, what has God more? God's glory is worth more than heaven, and worth more than the salvation of all men's souls. Better kingdoms be thrown down, better men and angels be annihilated, than God should lose one jewel of his crown, one beam of his glory.

4. Creatures below us, and above us, bring glory to God.

Do we think to sit rent free? Shall everything glorify God but man? It would be a pity then that man was ever made.

    (1.) Creatures below us glorify God, the inanimate creatures and the heavens glorify God. "The heavens declare the glory of God." Psalm 19:1. The curious workmanship of heaven sets forth the glory of its Maker; the firmament is beautified and pencilled out in blue and azure colours, where the power and wisdom of God may be clearly seen. "The heavens declare his glory:" we may see the glory of God blazing in the sun, and twinkling in the stars. Look into the air, the birds, with their chirping music, sing hymns of praise to God. Every beast in its kind glorifies God. Isa. 43:20, "The beasts of the field shall honour me."

    (2.) Creatures above us glorify God: "the angels are ministering spirits." Heb. 1:14. They are still waiting on God's throne, and bring some revenues of glory into the exchequer of heaven. Surely man should be much more studious of God's glory than the angels; for God has honoured him more than the angels, in that Christ took man's nature upon him, and not the angels. Though, in regard of creation, God made man "a little lower than the angels," Heb. 2:7, yet, in regard of redemption, God has set him higher than the angels. He has married mankind to himself; the angels are Christ's friends, not his spouse. He has covered us with the purple robe of righteousness, which is a better righteousness than the angels have, 2 Cor. 5:20. If then the angels bring glory to God, much more should we, being dignified with honour above angelic spirits.

5. We must bring glory to God, because all our hopes hang upon him.

Psalm 39:7. "My hope is in thee." And Psalm 62:5. "My expectation is from him;" I expect a kingdom from him. A child that is good-natured will honour his parent, by expecting all he needs from him. Psalm 87:7. "All my springs are in thee." The silver springs of grace, and the golden springs of glory are in him.


Romans 1:6 - Called of Christ

Romans 1:6

"among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;" (NASB)

"Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:" (KJV)

"And you are included among those Gentiles who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ." (NLT)

Called
CALLED, pp. Invited; summoned; addressed; named; appointed; invoked; assembled by order; recited. (Noah Webster)

G2822
klētos
klay-tos'
From the same as G2821; invited, that is, appointed, or (specifically) a saint: - called. (Strong's Concordance)

The fruit of the olive in its wild state is small and worthless.  To become prolific the olive must be grafted, a process by which good stock is made to grow upon the wild shrub.  Paul uses this fact as a powerful allegory (Rom. 11:17) in showing how the Gentiles are under obligation to the true Israel, indicating that it is contrary to nature for the wild olive slip to be grafted on to good stock.  Douglas, J. (1982). New Bible Dictionary.

How wondrous indeed to be "called to belong to Jesus Christ."  Who am I that you are even mindful of me?  Yet you have saved me from my sins and called me into a life undeserved. Born from above in a most miraculous and unusual way.


What is it to glorify God?

1. Appreciation. To glorify God is to set God highest in our thoughts, and, to have a venerable esteem of him. Psalm 92:8. "Thou, Lord, art most high for evermore." Psalm 97:9, "Thou art exalted far above all gods." There is in God all that may draw forth both wonder and delight; there is a constellation of all beauties; he is prima causa [the first cause], the original and spring-head of being, who sheds a glory upon the creature. We glorify God when we are God-admirers; admire his attributes, which are the glistening beams by which the divine nature shines forth; his promises which are the charter of free grace, and the spiritual cabinet where the pearl of price is hid; the noble effects of his power and wisdom in making the world, which is called "the work of his fingers." Psalm 8:3. To glorify God is to have God-admiring thoughts; to esteem him most excellent, and search for diamonds in this rock only.

2. Glorifying God consists in adoration, or worship. Psalm 29:2. "Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness." There is a twofold worship: 1. A civil reverence which we give to persons of honour. Gen. 23:7, "Abraham stood up and bowed himself to the children of Heth." Piety is no enemy to courtesy. 2. A divine worship which we give to God as his royal prerogative. Neh. 8:6,"they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces towards the ground." This divine worship God is very jealous of; it is the apple of his eye, the pearl of his crown; which he guards, as he did the tree of life, with cherubims and a flaming sword, that no man may come near it to violate it. Divine worship must be such as God himself has appointed, otherwise it is offering strange fire, Lev. 10:1. The Lord would have Moses make the tabernacle, "according to the pattern in the mount." Exod. 25:40. He must not leave out anything in the pattern, nor add to it. If God was so exact and curious about the place of worship, how exact will he be about the matter of his worship! Surely here every thing must be according to the pattern prescribed in his word.

3. Affection. This is part of the glory we give to God, who counts himself glorified when he is loved. Deut. 6:5, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul." There is a twofold love: 1. Amor concupiscentiae, a love of concupiscence, which is self-love; as when we love another because he does us a good turn. A wicked man may be said to love God, because he has given him a good harvest, or filled his cup with wine. This is rather to love God's blessing than to love God. 2. Amor amicitiae, a love of delight, as a man takes delight in a friend. This is to love God indeed; the heart is set upon God, as a man's heart is set upon his treasure. This love is exuberant, not a few drops, but a stream. It is superlative; we give God the best of our love, the cream of it. Cant. 8:2,"I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate." If the spouse had a cup more juicy and spiced, Christ must drink of it. It is intense and ardent. True saints are seraphims, burning in holy love to God [from the Hebrew word saruph, to be burned up]. The spouse was amore perculsa, [an overwhelming love], in fainting fits, "sick of love," Cant. 2:5. Thus to love God is to glorify him. He who is the chief of our happiness has the chief of our affections.

4. Subjection. This is when we dedicate ourselves to God, and stand ready dressed for his service. Thus the angels in heaven glorify him; they wait on his throne, and are ready to take a commission from him; therefore they are represented by the cherubims with wings displayed, to show how swift they are in their obedience. We glorify God when we are devoted to his service; our head studies for him, our tongue pleads for him, and our hands relieve his members. The wise men that came to Christ did not only bow the knee to him, but presented him with gold and myrrh. Matt. 2:11. So we must not only bow the knee, give God worship, but bring presents of golden obedience. We glorify God when we falter at no service, when we fight under the banner of his gospel against an enemy, and say to him as David to King Saul, "Thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine," 1 Sam. 17:32.

A good Christian is like the sun, which not only sends forth heat, but goes its circuit round the world. Thus, he who glorifies God has not only his affections heated with love to God, but he goes his circuit too; he moves vigorously in the sphere of obedience.