by Steven Chan
1 August 2010
Just before Jesus concluded His life mission on earth, He prayed to His Father: “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.” (John 17:4). Jesus declared that it was His intention to glorify the Father and that he had done that by finishing the work that God had given Him. Interestingly, in 2 Tim 4:6-8 the apostle Paul expressed a similar sentiment: “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” They had finished the race and finished the work that God had given them – in so doing they have glorified God.
God is to be glorified in all that we do:1 Cor 10:31-33: “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.”
There are two aspects to this. The first aspect is to live in such a way that people will embrace God and praise God. A bible commentator observed thus: “We live to the glory of God when we honor him in all the relations which he sustains to us; when we keep his laws; when we partake of his favors with thankfulness, and with a deep sense of our dependence; when we pray unto him; and when we so live as to lead those around us to cherish elevated conceptions of his goodness, and mercy, and holiness. Whatever plan or purpose will tend to advance His kingdom, and to make him better known and loved, will be to His glory.” (Albert Barnes)
Giving thanks to God for His blessings is giving glory to God. In Luke 17:17-18, “Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” We are sometimes asked why we need to pray before we eat our meals. It is because we want to express our thankfulness to God for His providential care and thereby give Him glory, acknowledging that He is our benefactor. Jesus expressed the same gratitude when He taught in the model prayer in Matt 6:11, that He taught us to pray “Give us this day our daily bread”. In Matt 15:36, “He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples”. In Acts 27:35, the apostle Paul “took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it he began to eat.” Giving thanks for our food in the presence of all, is giving glory to God. Yet, some brethren question why we need to pray before eating our meals. Should we not give glory to God for His provision?
Failing to give honour to God is deemed an action that is subject to serve punishment. An example of this is recorded for us in Acts 12:21-23: “So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them. And the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died.” Accepting honour for ourselves when it ought to be given to God meant that we do not honour God.
The second aspect of doing all to the glory of God is that we are not to do anything that would dishonour God and “put Him to an open shame” (Heb 6:6) or cause God or His Word to be “evil spoken” of. Hence, in our working relationships, we must behave in such a manner that “the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed” (1 Tim 6:1). In Titus 2:3-5, “the older women likewise, (are exhorted to) be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things– that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” False teachers would also cause the way of the truth to be evil spoken of: 2 Peter 2:1-2: “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.” Notice that it warns of false teachers among the brethren who secretly bring in destructive heresies – they infiltrate secretly – not openly! Have we not seen that in so many instances? Unbeknownst to us, in the past we have discovered that some of our brightest young brethren had been secretly led into believing the cultic discipleship methodology of Kip McKean and others of the then known Crossroads-Boston movement (now known as the International Churches of Christ); the trend continues today when the plain and simple teachings of the Bible are being denied and secretly replaced with complex and confusing teachings that even deny the fact that Jesus will come again at which time the dead will be raised (I Thess 4:13-18), judgement will be carried out (Rev 20:11-15), coinciding with the end of the world (2 Pet 3:1-13) – and the unrighteous “will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matt 25:34, 46). Indeed the Bible observes that “many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.” So, don’t be surprised that “many will follow these false teachings”; the Bible has already forewarned us of that possibility. During the time of Jesus on earth, He also experienced the occasion when “many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (John 6:66).
In 1 Cor 6:19-20, the Bible says: “you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Christians, having been redeemed with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, are reminded that we belong to God and not to ourselves anymore. Hence, we are to make it our life purpose to glorify God in all things that we do in our lives. Many still live as if self-fulfilment or self-gratification is the sole objective of their lives. So, they are always seeking to do things that bring the greatest satisfaction and pleasure to themselves. The glorification of God is a mere incidental and not the primary focus of their lives! That was not the case with Paul as stated in Gal 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” In 2 Cor 5:15, the Bible says: “He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”
In John 15:8, Jesus said: By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” We need to conduct our lives in such a way that we bear much fruit and thereby bring great glory to our Father in heaven. Are we focused on doing that? Or, are we focused on the things of this world (Col 3:2)? May we give glory to God in all that we do.