THE PRIORITY OF GOD'S GLORY

There are many of the choices that Christians have to make moment by moment, and day by day, in which God has already told us which choice to make. He has told us, for example, not to kill, not to tell lies, not to steal, not to commit adultery. The right choice is clear, regardless of whether or not we make the right choice.

But there are other choices that are not so clearly defined by God - where there is no specific 'do this' or 'don't do this'. When confronted by such situations, where there is no specific command relating to the choice confronting us, there are a number of biblical principles and priorities that point us to the line of action appropriate for those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. This series looks at number of these prinicples and priorities.

The first is the priority of God's glory.

Throughout the New Testament we find that Christians are commanded to seek and pursue God's glory.

In Matthew 6:9 God's glory is the first concern in the pattern prayer given by Jesus Christ to his followers: '... hallowed be your name.' By this prayer we commit ourselves to live in such a way that God's name is honoured, not dishonoured by our choices and our lives.

In Matthew 5:16 Jesus commanded his disciples: 'Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.'

In 1Corinthians 10:31 God commands us: 'So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.'

In 1Peter 2:12 we are commanded: 'Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.'

All of these are telling us that in every situation, in choices large and small, in even the seemingly irrelevant things, our priority should be to make the choice that will bring glory to God and cause others to glorify God.

Living with this over-riding priority was modelled for us by Jesus Christ. In John 17:4 Jesus summed up his life on earth with the words 'I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.'

Indeed, God's glory is intrinsic in our original creation:

'So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them' [Genesis 1:27].
 
'... everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made' [Isaiah 43:7].
 

God's glory is also intrinsic to our salvation in Jesus Christ: we are saved to glorify God:

'But you are a chosen people ... that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light' [1Peter 2:9].

'His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms' [Ephesians 3:10].

' ... in order that we who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory' [Ephesians 1:12; see also 1:6,14].

The glory of God is also the goal of indwelling Spirit as he does his gradual transforming work:

'And we, who with unveiled faces all contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit' [2Corinthians 3:18 (footnote)].

This priority of God's glory demands that those who know God by knowing Jesus Christ make every choice with two questions in mind:

Will this thought, attitude, word, or action that I am contemplating glorify my heavenly Father?

Am I doing this for his glory or for mine?

Everything, including I myself and my own glory, must be subservient to his glory, his honour, his praise. If something will dishonour him, then it is something his child and servant should not do.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2016