1. The Glory Of God And The Gospel

    September 26, 2023 by Kevin Hay

    I am often reminded of the purpose behind God’s sovereign will and actions. As he works in each of our lives individually, and corporately, God is always accomplishing the counsel of his will (Eph 1:5). And all that he does, he does for the purpose of his glory.

    Glory Seekers

    Among the many passages that point us to this reality, Genesis 11:1–4 stands out uniquely:

    Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words. It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.’ And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. They said, ‘Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.’

    Reading further, we find that God became angry with these tower builders, scattered the people, and confused their language. But what I want us to take particular note of is what we find in verse 4. These men were seeking to make a name for themselves. Rather than making God’s name great among the nations, these builders were seeking self-glory.

    Thankfully, according to the mercy and wisdom of God, the Lord purposed to do something amazing, which we find unfolding in the very next chapter, Genesis, 12:1–2:

    Now the LORD said to Abram, Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing;

    It doesn’t take much to notice the distinction between what God says and what the builders of the tower were saying. The builders were saying: “Let’s make a name for ourselves.” But God says to the man we now know as Abraham, “I will make your name great.”

    Man was created to depend upon God and give him glory. Instead, man chose and continues to choose to rely upon self and seek his own glory. We find the Lord’s perspective on this in Isaiah 42:8:

    I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.

    So God’s glory is something he takes very seriously. And it certainly isn’t some isolated theme that is somehow foreign to the rest of Scripture. In fact, God, working out his sovereign purposes for his own glory, is the theme woven throughout all of Scripture. God alone is the only one worthy to seek and receive eternal glory.

    The Glory of His Grace

    As our thoughts return to Abraham, God began to make his name great by forming a nation from his descendants. That nation was Israel, and God’s interactions with them fill the pages of the Old Testament. However, God’s ultimate purpose doesn’t stop there. His divine plan was also to use the nation of Israel to bring about salvation for a people throughout the entire world. As Paul says in Galatians 3:8,

    And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”

    In addition, it would be through the lineage of Abraham that Jesus Christ would be born, bringing salvation and spiritual blessings to all of those who trust in him for salvation (Gal 3:14). Expounding upon the incarnation of Christ, the Apostle John says:

    And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

    And where do we most visibly see the glorious grace of God in Christ? It is found most prevalently in and through his cross. For on the cross, God treated Jesus as if he had committed all our sins though he had committed none of them, so that he could treat us as if we have lived the perfect life of Jesus, although we have not (2 Cor 5:1). And yet, the glory of God’s grace doesn’t stop there. Not only have we been saved from something, but we have also been saved for something.

    Reflecting His Glorious Grace

    Perhaps you’re familiar with the missionary named David Brainard. The eighteenth-century pastor and theologian, Jonathon Edwards, wrote a biography about Brainard’s life and used portions of his diary to do it. Although he died before reaching the age of thirty, consider the words he wrote in his diary. On his deathbed, Brainard wrote:

    My heaven is to please God and glorify him, and give all to him, and to be wholly devoted to his glory. I do not go to heaven to be advanced, but to give glory to God. It is no matter where I shall be stationed in heaven, whether I have a high or low seat there, but to live and please and glorify God.

    This is the attitude that should be exemplified by all believers. The eternal purpose of salvation is that we might reflect God’s grace and bring him the glory he so richly deserves through Jesus Christ. As the Apostle Peter wrote:

    So that in all things God may be glorified through Christ, and it is to God that all glory and all dominion belongs forever and ever (1 Pet 4:11).

    Instead of living our lives for temporary pleasures or seeking the glory of this world, may we live for something far greater. The glory that is found in God’s grace to us through the gospel is of infinite value. Like the moon reflects the sun, may we seek to reflect the glory of God both now and forever.