Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Despising God's Glory

The world we live in has no inkling of the glory of God. In fact, if God was to display His glory among the people of this world, the first thing that would enter their minds would be that of a UFO. Would the world even know that they should fear for their very lives? The moral state of the world has declined so much that they are willing to take God on in their court battles and through their very lives. One man actually (in his puny little God-forsaken mind) took God to court! Does this man not know that one day he will stand in the holy court room of God and he will be judged by God Himself? Apart from Christ, on that day, this man will have no clever, immoral, evil lawyer to represent him before the Judge of the ages! In that day his own sin, his own petulant, Godless mind will accuse him before God, and he is going to lose his case if he stands before God without Christ as his lawyer.
Governments all over the world are throwing God out of their constitutions, out of their schools and out of public life. Perhaps they think that if they can get it right not to hear about Him in the public square He will simply go away?! I have news for them! God does not go away! "So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. " (Mat 10:32-33 ESV) This will become true of those who thought that they could simply kick God out of the public square.
People are living despicable lives. The apostle Paul wrote that "the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." (Gal 5:19-21 ESV) Of all the evil and deprived acts that are being performed by people today, we have to acknowledge that Paul wrote about these acts in a very euphemistic way.
What of those who claim to be Christian? We have now dealt with the obvious evils of the world in an introductory way, of how they are despising God's glory. Surely Christians do not despise God's glory?! Do they?
One of the classic definitions of sin "is any failure to conform to the moral law of God in act, attitude, or nature."[1] The apostle Paul wrote, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Rom 3:23 ESV) Sin is a falling short of the glory of God. It is essentially belittling the glory of God. The first question of the larger cathechism of the Westminster Confession of Faith is: "What is the chief and highest end of man?" The answer to this is provided as "Man's chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever." One of the consistent themes of John Piper's ministry at Desiring God and now the motto of our family is "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." In the end, everything, whether it is creation, mankind, God's providence or election, has to do with the glory of God.
You may be asking: "How do I despise or belittle God's glory?"
Before I attempt an answer to your question, I would like to ask a question: "Are you more satisfied in Christ than you are in anything else?"
Is God the ever present thought in your mind? Is He your all in all?
What takes up more time in your life than God? How many hours in a week do you spend reading the Bible? Praying? Discussing God with other Christians? Reading quality Christian books written by reputable Christian writers?
Perhaps I am asking the wrong questions.
Do you spend more time watching television than you are with God? Maybe it is that you spend your spare time playing computer games?
Perhaps you like exercising. I remember in the days that I used to do long distance running. It kept me very busy. From Monday to Thursday I used to be out on the road for 2 hours each night training. On Saturdays I could easily be out for 5 or 6 hours. Maybe you are a runner. How does your training time compare with your time before God in Bible reading or prayer? Perhaps you are a cyclist. No matter what sport you love doing, how much time are you spending in your sport in comparison with your time with God?
Maybe you love your work so much that you work longer hours than required. Do these longer hours have an impact on the time you spend with God? What is the quality of your work?
How about your money? Do you treat it as a gift from God? Perhaps you see money as your "saviour" in this life. The more things you buy, the better you feel about yourself. The better things you buy, the more "self-esteem" you have and the more status you have in the eyes of others.
In today's world, the family really gets the short end of the stick. On television there are sitcoms and other programs about homosexuality galore. In Canada there is an evil government intent on destroying the family, that rushed a bill through parliament that redefines marriage to include two people of the same sex. So, perhaps in this dark and fallen world your family is number one. Perhaps you see the dangers of the world against the family and you are working very hard to ensure the safety and comfort of your family. Maybe that is even why you work so hard.
On the other hand, maybe you are one of those who believe that the New Covenant did away with the Old Covenant (which it did) and as a result did away with the Old Covenant Law (which it also did). However, you may push it even further to say that since Jesus did away with the Law that we do not need to live by any law, even those given in the New Testament. To you, the New Testament laws are simply principles; guidelines of how to live your life. How could there be any law if Jesus did away with the Law? Jesus said,
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Mat 6:19-21 ESV)
So, this probably doesn't mean what it says. You have twisted this command by Jesus to simply be a principle. Perhaps you have done this to many of the New Testament commands.
How are your feelings toward people of other cultures and colour? What are your thoughts on beggars on street corners? When James asks the question, "If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and filled,' without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?" (Jam 2:15-16 ESV), the first response you come up with is that these beggars are not your brothers and sisters. 
Maybe you are reading about how many babies have been murdered through abortion? Perhaps your government is considering making same-sex marriage legal? Are you just sitting there hoping it will all go away? What are you doing to fight these evils? Have you written to your government representative or the newspaper concerning these issues? We need to stand up against injustices and the evil of this world and let the chips fall where they may!
Will you, like Abraham, take your whole family with you when God commands you to go to a country you have no idea of? Will you, like the apostle Paul, be ready to go preach the gospel to the very people you originally hated? Will you put your very life on the line for the gospel?
Are you concerned about the truth of the gospel? Does it bother you that there are so many false teachers in the church and on television? Does it even bother you that they are teaching heresy and leading many away from the true gospel of Christ? Or, does the truth not bother you at all as long as there is "love?" Are you being concerned with holiness in your own life and to please God in all things? Then truth should be of great concern to you.
"We are anxious to know truth because we are anxious to be holy; we desire to please God, and so we want to know His mind regarding what we should believe and how we should live."[2]
"Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers." (1Ti 4:16 ESV)
I believe that it is time for each one of us to consider how we live and what we believe. We cannot have the one and not the other. We have to believe what God wants us to believe. We have absolutely no right to rather believe our own preferences. Who are we as humans to dictate to God what we will or will not believe?! By choosing what we want to believe about God (either contrary, in addition or only in part of what the Bible clearly teaches) despises God's glory. It is not up to us to decide what we should believe! There is only one God, and he has laid down what we need to believe in the Bible. PERIOD!
It is not up to us to decide how we are to live either! Once again, God has clearly stipulated how we are to live as Christians. God does not differentiate between little and big sins. "For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it." (Jam 2:10 ESV) God sees sin as sin, no matter the size of the sin. Adam and Eve were condemned for eating a fruit, not murder or rape. Sin, no matter what sin, is disobedience to God. So, when we sin (even a "little" one) we are being disobedient to God. This despises God's glory!
Let God, and God alone, specify to us what we are to believe and how we are to live.
We can get this from the Bible and the Bible alone. This is God's Word to us. Do not treat the Bible lightly in what it says to us. This despises God's glory.
Decide today to stop despising God's glory and being dishonourable to Him. Start treating the Bible and what it says as really being God's Word. Perhaps when we have really studied God's Word and have come to see who God really is, we will start keeping a close watch on our lives and our doctrine.
End Notes
1. Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Theology, IVP, Leicester, England, 1994, p490.
2. Erwin W. Lutzer, Who are You to Judge?: Learning to Distinguish between Truths, Half-Truths and Lies, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 2002, p49.
Just thinking...

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