November 29, 2016

To God be the glory . . .

It often seems easier to glorify people rather than glorify God. For instance, we studied the New Testament story of the angel appearing to Mary telling her she would bear the Son of God. She responded with trust and a song of praise. Most of the group were praising her for being an exceptional young woman, even though we began the study by talking of how God asks us to do impossible things but always gives us what we need to do it. To God be the glory.

Since faith comes by hearing God’s Word, Mary believed because He was speaking to her. Since the Holy Spirit is the conveyor of truth, she knew that the words of the angel were true. Her story is not about her pious nature, her godliness, her anything; it is about the power of God to give His people what we need when we need it.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. (John 16:13–14)

These verses describe an important aspect of the work of the Holy Spirit. He says what the Father tells Him to say, and not only does He speak toward the future, He always glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. He does it by receiving from Jesus whatever He is supposed to say and declaring it.

The example of the Holy Spirit shows me that when God speaks, I must follow through, but in the follow through, I will glorify the Lord and not myself or anyone else. Set beside God, my life is nothing, my wisdom is foolishness, and my knowledge is flawed.

Chambers compares those who think that a pious attitude of prayer and devotion is all that is required from those who claim faith in Christ. He says this type of experience is not supernatural nor miraculous, or even stamped as the work of the Spirit. This makes me sad because when the work is obviously rooted in God Almighty but Mary gets the glory for her pious response, where is the Spirit in this? What business do any of us have in granting any person “hero” status when God is doing the work in their lives?

Personal, passionate devotion to the Person of Jesus Christ is a God-thing. Without regeneration, without being born again into His Kingdom, the best anyone can do is consider Jesus Christ as a good example, as Chambers says, “a pattern” for life. Yet we cannot follow His example unless He is first our Savior, first because of the Gospel, the One on whom I totally depend for life and breath and everything.

Jesus said—“When the Spirit of truth comes . . . He will glorify me.” When Jesus saved me from sin and drew me into His kingdom with His very life, He also gave me the Holy Spirit. This Spirit interprets what Jesus did and said. If I glorify people, I’m not only denying His work, I am denying His intention. God does not reveal truth to me that I might put anyone, including myself, on a pedestal.

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