Dear Friends,

“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the
glory forever. Amen." (Romans 11:36) “Whether, then, you eat or drink
or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
God’s highest purpose, even higher than the salvation of mankind, is the
preservation and revelation of His glory – His awesome, magnificent and
infinite perfections in Himself. No one, Satan and all of his demons, nor man,
can ever frustrate His purpose to manifest His glory. God disciplines, opposes
and brings to naught all those who attempt to thwart this purpose. (Psalm 2;
Isaiah 40:23; Hebrews 12:3-11; James 4:6) And although He grieves with us and
for us (Hebrews 4:14-16) and is righteously angry with the proud and wicked
who oppose Him, He sees the end along with the present and even the beginning
of all things and “causes all things to work together for good to those
who love Him and are called according to His purpose” – the glory
of His Name! (Romans 8:28) Therefore God is unshakably happy! God would be unrighteous
if He valued anything more than that which is supremely valuable – His
glory and perfection. The humility that belongs to man cannot apply to God who
is of infinite worth. He has no need of our praise or for anything. (Acts 17:25)
But it is for our good and our joy to give our highest praise to what has the
highest good as praise completes and consummates what we enjoy and value. (Psalm
147:1; 34:3)

“The human heart is a ceaseless factory of desires, so sin remains powerfully
appealing. I know of no other way to triumph over sin long term than to have
a distaste for it because of a superior satisfaction in God.” (John Piper
Desiring God) “All men seek happiness. This is without
exception. It is the motive of every man – even those who hang themselves.”
(Blaise Pascal, Pensees) Piper argues in his book that the chief end
of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. (Doxological evangelism and
discipleship) This is a modification of the Westminster Catechism, which states
we are to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Yet Piper says that the way we
glorify God most is by finding our absolute delight in Him (Psalm 37:4) even
in sacrificially suffering for Him. For the joy set before Him Jesus endured
the cross. (Hebrews 12:2) “The apostles left the Sanhedrin rejoicing because
they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” (Acts
5:41) We find our highest joy when we serve God’s highest purpose, which
is the preservation and revelation of His glory. (Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14) “If
you return to the Almighty…then the Almighty will be your gold, the choicest
silver for you. Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty and will lift
up your face to your God.” (Job 22:23-26) The disciples found their greatest
joy in pointing others to behold the glory of Jesus, The Word of Life. (1 John
1:1-4) And this is the very purpose of our existence: “Thou art worthy
O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou has created all things,
and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Revelation 4:11 KJV)
“Bring…everyone who is called by My name, and whom I have created
for My glory.” “The people whom I formed for Myself will declare
My praise.” (Isaiah 43:7, 21)

Yet, “although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave
thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile (purposeless) and their (morally)
foolish hearts were darkened. They exchanged the glory of the immortal God for
images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles…And
worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator..” (See Romans
1:21- 32 for mankind’s downward spiral of sin resulting from rebelling
against the very purpose for which we were created.) “For all have sinned
and fall (keep on falling) short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) As
we expend our energies and passions pursuing the things of this world (which
is worshiping idols) more than pursuing God, our thinking becomes purposeless
(“meaningless” says the preacher Solomon; Ecclesiastes 1:2) and
we will never find that elusive thing called “happiness” that Pascal
says all men seek. The great paradigm shift we all must make is to repent of
putting our hopes for joy in anything that does not glorify our most glorious
Lord, His ways and His character, as revealed in His Word and especially in
Jesus who is the “radiance of His glory and the exact representation of
His nature.” (Hebrews 1:3) “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.” (John 1:14) We must “fix our eyes on Jesus”
(Hebrews 12:2) the God-Man, and learn from His example of humanity (Hebrews
2:10-18) how we as human beings are to live for the glory of God in the midst
of a fallen world.

The desire and the power to glorify our Lord begins at salvation when we receive
the Holy Spirit who gives us the power to change from glory to glory (ever-
increasing glory) as we “turn to the Lord” (salvation). And, as
we continue to behold Jesus by the illuminating ministry of the Holy Spirit
through God’s Word and obey Him, we become more Christlike as we reflect
His glory. “But we all, with unveiled faces, beholding as in a mirror
the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory
to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (See 2 Corinthians 3:16-18)

“I have glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which
You have given Me to do,” Jesus said as His time had come to complete
His work by going to the cross. (John 17:4) And as we saw earlier He accepted
the cross for the joy set before Him, the joy of revealing the self-giving,
self-sacrificing love of God at the cost of His Son’s humiliating and
painful death for our sins. “He died for you. He died for me. Can’t
you see, on that tree, the love of God.” (Marty Goetz) What could be more
glorious than God, the High and Holy One, becoming one of us in Jesus, and then
becoming the lowest servant to mankind, those He created, and even when we spurned
His love and rebelled against Him, He became sin for us and died in our place.
If God in Christ could stoop that low to win us, how can we not find our highest
joy in giving honor and glory to One such as this by having “this attitude
in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.” (See Philippians 2:5-11;
2 Corinthians 5:21)

“There once was in man a true happiness (pre-Fall) of which now remains
to him only a mark and empty trace, which he in vain tries to fill from all
his surroundings, seeking from things absent the help he does not receive in
things present. But these are all inadequate, because the infinite abyss can
only be filled by an infinite and immutable object, that is to say, only by
God Himself.” (Pascal, Pensees) “And we rejoice in the
hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:2) “Christ in you, the hope
of glory.” (Colossians 1:27) The glory we lost at the fall and keep falling
short of in this life has now been given to us in Christ and will be fully realized
and revealed to us in us and through us in heaven for all eternity to the glory
of God. This is our certain hope (Romans 8: 18,30, 38-39) and highest joy and
we can rejoice in it now as we live for God’s glory through His power
day by day. Even when we suffer “light and momentary afflictions”
we know the trials are producing an eternal weight of glory as we look by faith
at God’s kingdom and live for His glory. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18) “The
New Testament has lots to say about self-denial, but not about self-denial as
an end in itself but ultimately as an appeal to desire (to joy, happiness).
If we consider the unblushing promise of rewards and the staggering nature of
rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires
not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with
drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant
child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine
what is meant by the offer of a holiday by the sea.” (C.S. Lewis, The
Weight of Glory and Other Addresses
) If we live for the glory of God we
cannot lose for we have aligned ourselves with God Almighty whose highest purpose
is the revelation of His glory. Let us pray as our brother Paul prayed and lived.
“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will
have sufficient courage so that now as always, Christ will be exalted in my
body whether by life or death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
(Philippians 1:20-21)

Glory to God,

Len and Kristen

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