30. Like Christ: In Glorifying The Father.
"Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee. I have glorified Thee on the earth."óJohn 17:1, 4.
"Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples."óJohn 15:8.
The glory of an object is, that in its sort its intrinsic worth and excellence answers perfectly to all that is expected of it. That excellence or perfection may be so hidden or unknown, that the object has no glory to those who behold it. To glorify is to remove every hindrance, and so to reveal the full worth and perfection of the object, that its glory is seen and acknowledged by all.
The highest perfection of God, and the deepest mystery of Godhead, is His holiness. In it righteousness and love are united. As the Holy One He hates and condemns sin. As the Holy One He also frees the inner from its power, and raises Him to communion with Himself His name is, "The Holy One of Israel, thy Redeemer." The song of redemption is: "Great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee." To the Blessed Spirit, whose special work it is to maintain the fellowship of God with man, the title of Holy in the New Testament belongs more than to the Father or the Son. It is this holiness, judging sin and saving sinners, which is the glory of God. For this reason the two words are often found together. So in the song of Moses: "Who is like Thee, glorious in holiness?" So in the song of the Seraphim: "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory." And so in the song of the Lamb: "Who shall not glorify Thy Name? for Thou only art Holy." As has been well said: "Godís glory is His manifested holiness; Godís holiness is His hidden glory."
When Jesus came to earth, it was that He might glorify the Father, that He might again show forth in its true light and beauty that glory which sin had so entirely hid from man. Man himself had been created in the image of God, that God might lay of His glory upon him, to be shown forth in him-that God might be glorified in him. The Holy Ghost says, "Man is the image and glory of God." Jesus came to restore man to his high destiny: He laid aside the glory which He had with the Father, and came in our weakness and humiliation, that He might teach us how to glorify the Father on earth. Godís glory is perfect and infinite: man cannot contribute any new glory to God, above what He has: he can only serve as a glass in which the glory of God is reflected. Godís holiness is His glory: as the holiness of God is seen in him, God is glorified; His glory as God is shown forth.
Jesus glorified God by obeying Him. In giving His commandments to Israel, God continually said, "Be ye holy, for I am holy:" in keeping them they would be transformed into a life of harmony with Him, they would enter into fellowship with Him as the Holy One. In His conflict with sin and Satan, in His sacrifice of His own will, in His waiting for the Fatherís teaching, in His unquestioning obedience to the Word, Christ showed that He counted nothing worth living for, but that men might understand what a blessed thing it is to let this holy God really BE GOD, His will alone acknowledged and obeyed. Because He alone is holy, His will alone should be done, and so His glory be shown in us.
Jesus glorified God by confessing Him. He not only in His teaching made known the message God had given Him, and showed us who the Father is. There is something far more striking. He continually spoke of His own personal relation to the Father. He did not trust to the silent influence of His holy life; He wanted men distinctly to understand what the root and aim of that life was. Time after time He told them that He came as a servant sent from the Father, that He depended upon Him and owed everything to Him, that He only sought the Fathers honour, and that all His happiness was to please the Father, to secure His love and favour.
Jesus glorified God by giving Himself for the work of His redeeming love. Godís glory is His holiness, and Godís holiness is His redeeming love: love that triumphs over sin by conquering the sin and rescuing the sinner. Jesus not only told of the Father being, the Righteous One, whose condemnation must rest on sin, and the Loving One who saves every one who turns from his sin, but He gave Himself to be a sacrifice to that righteousness, a servant to that love, even unto the death. It was not only in acts of obedience, or words of confession, that He glorified God, but in giving Himself to magnify the holiness of God, to vindicate at once His law and His love by His atonement. He gave Himself, His whole life and being, HIMSELF wholly, to show how the Father loved, and longed to bless, how the Father must condemn the sin, and yet would save the sinner. He counted nothing too great a sacrifice, He lived and died only for this, that the glory of the Father, the glory of His holiness, of His redeeming love, might break through the dark veil of sin and flesh, and shine into the hearts of the children of men. As He Himself expressed it in the last week of His life, when the approaching anguish began to press in upon Him: "Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I sayóFather, save me from this hour? But for this came I unto the world: FATHER. GLORIFY THY NAME." And the assurance came that the sacrifice was well-pleasing and accepted, in the answer: "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again."
It was thus Jesus as man was prepared to have part in the glory of God: He sought it in the humiliation on earth; He found it on the throne of heaven. And so He is become our forerunner, leading many children to glory: He shows us that the sure way to the glory of God in heaven is to live only for the glory of God on earth. Yes, this is the glory of a life on earth: glorifying God here, we are prepared to be glorified with Him for ever.
Beloved Christian! is it not a wonderful calling, blessed beyond all conception, like Christ to live only to glorify God, to let Godís glory shine out in every part of our life? let us take time to take in the wondrous thought: our daily life, down to its most ordinary acts, may be transparent with the glory of God. Oh! let us study this trait as one that makes the wondrous image of our Jesus specially attractive to us: He glorified the Father. Let us listen to Him as He points us to the high aim, that your Father in heaven may be glorified, and as He shows us the way, Herein is my Father glorified. Let us remember how He told us that, when in heaven He answers our prayer, this would still be His object, and let in every breathing of prayer and faith it be our object too: "That the Father may be glorified in the Son." Let our whole life, like Christís, be animated by this as its ruling principle, growing stronger until in a holy enthusiasm our watchword has become: ALL, ALL TO THE GLORY OF GOD. And let our faith hold fast the confidence that in the fulness of the Spirit there is the sure provision for our desire being fulfilled: "Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, which is in you?ótherefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit."
If we want to know the way, let us again study Jesus. He obeyed the Father. Let simple downright obedience mark our whole life. Let an humble, childlike waiting for direction, a soldier-like looking for orders, a Christ-like dependence on the Fatherís showing us His way, be our daily attitude. Let everything be done to the Lord, according to His will, for His glory, in direct relationship to Himself. Let Godís glory shine out in the holiness of our life.
He confessed the Father: He did not hesitate to speak often of His personal relationship and intercourse, just as a little child would do of an earthly parent. It is not enough that we live right before men: how can they understand, if there be no interpreter? They need, not as a matter of preaching,, but as a personal testimony, to hear that what we are and do is became we love the Father, and are living for Him. The witness of the life and the words must go together. (See note.)
And He gave Himself to the Fatherís work. So He glorified Him He showed sinners that God has a right to have us wholly and only for Himself, that Godís glory alone is worth living and dying for, and that as we give ourselves to this, God will roost wonderfully use and bless us in leading others to see and confess His glory too. It was that men might glorify the Father in heaven, might find their blessedness also in knowing and serving this glorious God, that Jesus lived, and that we must live too. Oh I let us give ourselves to God for men; let us plead, and work, and Eve, and die, that men, our fellowmen, may see that God is glorious in holiness, that the whole earth may be filled with His glory.
Believer! "the Spirit of God and of glory, the spirit of holiness, rests upon you." Jesus delights to do in you His beloved work of glorifying the Father. Fear not to say: O my Father, in Thy Son, like Thy Son, I will only live to glorify Thee.
O my God! I do pray Thee, show me Thy glory! I feel deeply how utterly impossible it is, by any resolution or effort of mine, to lift myself up or bind myself to live for Thy glory alone. But if Thou wilt reveal unto me Thy glory, if Thou wilt make all Thy goodness pass before me, and show me how glorious Thou art, how there is no glory but Thine; if, O my Father! Thou wilt let Thy glory shine into my heart, and take possession of my inmost being, I never will be able to do anything but glorify Thee, but live to make known what a glorious holy God Thou art.
Lord Jesus! who didst come to earth to glorify the Father in our sight, and ascend to heaven leaving us to do it now in Thy name and stead, oh! give us by Thy Holy Spirit a sight of how Thou didst it. Teach us the meaning of Thy obedience to the Father, Thine acknowledgment that, at any cost, His will must be done. Teach us to mark Thy confession of the Father, and how Thou didst in personal testimony tell men of what He was to Thee, and what Thou didst feel for Him, and let our lips too tell out what we taste of the love of the Father, that men may glorify Him. And above all, oh I teach us that it is in saving sinners that redeeming love has its triumph and its joy, that it is in holiness casting out sin that God has His highest glory. And do Thou so take possession of our whole hearts that we may love and labour, live and die, for this one thing, "That every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, TO THE GLORY OF GOD THE FATHER."
O my Father, let the whole earth, let my heart, be filled with Thy glory. Amen.
"Let us begin by considering what was the groundwork of the whole beauty and harmony of our blessed Saviourís character. Love to the Father was the ruling motive of His life. It so pervaded His nature as to find expression, directly or indirectly, in every word as well as every action. It will be well if we try to realize something of the perfect simplicity with which that love was so continually shown forth in daily life.
"We especially need to remind ourselves of how entirely this was the case, because, in these days of artificial manners, and of false shame, we are so frequently tempted to conceal our true motives, and to think it a disgrace if we are led into any sign of betraying our deepest religious feelings. We conceal them from those who would not understand them, lest perchance they should scorn our judgment, and wound our self-respect; and we too frequently even hide them from those who me of like mind with ourselves, lest they too might think us lacking in good taste. Self fears the slightest rebuke, the merest breath of disapproval So long as our love to God is weak enough to allow of its being hidden, self will carefully hide it, rather than run the least risk of being considered deficient in discretion.
"Of true discretion, which is quite a different thing, we shall find abundant examples in our Master's life. But that false discretion, which strives to divert notice, not from ourselves, but from the deepest principles of our conduct, and in order to save our own selfish feelings from being wounded, finds no counterpart whatever in the life of our Lord. In His earthly nature, as man, Christ loved the Lord His God with all His heart and with all His strength. And this all-pervading, love could not but assert itself continually. Our lord simply and unhesitatingly referred to it as a simple fact, whenever the slightest occasion for doing so arose. It was His avowed object that the world should know that He loved the Father. He frequently and emphatically alluded to His personal connection with the Father as the means by which He lived: it was His consciousness of that union which gave Him unfailing support.
"Jesus Christ made known the Fatherís love; He was sent that He might reveal the deep blessedness of belonging wholly to God. Even so are we sent, each one of us into the world, in order that we may make the Saviour known to those around us. Through our own intimate and personal connection with Himself, we are each one of us to reveal the Son, even as He revealed the Father. And this we can only do by acting as He did, by continually proving how all-sufficient is the sense of union with Himself." - From a chapter on the example left us by Christ, in a little book containing many precious thoughts, Steps on the Upward Path; or, Holiness unto the Lord. By A. M. James. Religious Tract Society.