Surely you have heard of the Shorter Westminster Catechism? Or even memorized it? (Okay, that may be pushing it.)
Yes, the one comprising 107 Questions. And they all come with Answers. Neat. Which is the whole purpose of it all. Some sort of a doctrinal deep dive made simple. Back in the 1640s, an assembly of leading theologians and bible scholars of the day in Edinburgh, Scotland – after meeting for 5 years or so – produced such a remarkable platform for anchoring children (and adults) in the faith. Good job. Correction, great job.
Which brings us to the first and most familiar question: “What is the chief end of man?”
Their answer was just 11 words: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. “
Couldn’t be better said. There is God. There is glory. There is the glory of God. There is the giving of glory to God. Touching on the last aspect, John Piper highlights an important point: “... because in the Bible I don't know of any truth that is more fundamentally pervasive than God's zeal to be glorified, which means His zeal for us so to think, so to feel, and so to act as to make Him look as glorious as He is. We don't add to His glory.”
But in giving God the glory, we are blessed with pure joy and impeccable enjoyment of who He is and what He has prepared for those who love Him. “But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”. (1 Cor 2:9) Out of this world.
How does one glorify God?
Here’s one way – we read AGM reports or receive regular newsletters from those stalwarts we support and they usually end with “all glory goes to God”. That’s how it’s done. 100%. No sharing. In its entirety. (For Isaiah 42:8 is explicit: “I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.”)
That’s right and should be fully respected. Yes, we’ve done our part. But without God, it may be totally meaningless or ineffectual. The ultimate purpose for which man exists is to GLORIFY GOD.
Without God, I am nothing, have nothing, can do nothing (John 15:5). Just plain dust. But when fully integrated into the Vine as branches … voila! As Paul asserts: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me”. (Phil 4:13). From nothing to all things in one mighty leap. The glory of God is empowering. It releases energy, efficacy and effectiveness. When we worship God in the light of His glory and grace, we are drawn to love and praise Him and desire only His will, purpose and goodness for our lives. All else fades in contrast.
When we worship God in the light of His glory and grace, we are drawn to love and praise Him and desire only His will, purpose and goodness for our lives. All else fades in contrast.
On the other hand, there’s the misguided protagonist in the parable (Lk 12:16-21) who hoarded for himself. No recognition of God’s involvement, whether in planting, harvesting or divestment. His land it is that produced plentifully. Final verdict? A fool. “Whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” One way to be “rich unto God” is to acknowledge and ascribe to God the glory. Befitting.
Lance Witt adds: “The Hebrew word for glory is ‘kabod’ and derives from a root word that has the basic meaning of ‘heavy’ or ‘weighty’. The ‘weightiness’ or abundance of God’s amazing attributes make up His glory.
“Ancient Hebrews would refer to a rich person as ‘heavy in wealth,’ much like we might refer to someone who is rich as being ‘loaded’. So, when it comes to God, we could say He is loaded with power, splendour, beauty, holiness and love.”
“In 2 Corinthians 3, Paul says that this amazing glory resides in us. It resides in you … You are a carrier of the glory of God.”
The Apostle Peter gave a personal word of testimony: “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father and the voice was borne to Him by the Majestic Glory, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,’ we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.” (2 Pet 1:16-18)
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son: and to the Holy Ghost; As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen.
High and lifted up.
Dr Andrew Goh is the editor of Impact magazine.
VOL. 44 NO.3 of IMPACT Magazine
FOR THINE IS THE KING KONG
... So you think you know the Lord’s Prayer
TOUCH NOT THE “LORD’S ANOINTED”?
... The relationship between church and its leaders
POWER, POWER, POWER
... Is abuse inevitable?
ACHIEVING THE PERFECT THROUGH THE IMPERFECT
... An antidote to spiritual abuse
THE EFFECTS OF SEEING THE GLORY OF GOD
THE CHURCH AND POWER
... And the questions that follow
DON’T IGNORE THE ELEPHANT IN OUR MIDST
...Loving confrontation is the way to go
TRIBUTE: TRULY OTHERS BEFORE SELF