2004-09-28 - Glory to God
Ephesians 1:6, "To the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved."
The above verse would not make a whole lot of sense, if we did not take it in the context of the passage. Paul is emphasizing that salvation is a work of God. God does not save because of anything good in us, but rather this verse (1:6) gives us the reason why God saves us. It is to the praise of the glory of His grace. God was moved by compassion to have mercy on us, because it pleased Him to do so, and thus show the glory of His grace. We are accepted in Christ, not because we are acceptable, but simply to the praise of His glory. This is the ultimate motive for our salvation. It is to the praise of the glory of His grace.
The glory of God is the ultimate goal in our salvation. You may have thought of this before, but maybe you have not. Regardless, I am heading there. Consider, if you would with me, the incarnation of Christ. We read in Luke 2:13, that a host of angels appeared - and in the next verse what they said, "Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace among men with whom He is pleased." The focus of the angelic host, in Christ coming incarnate to redeem a people unto Himself, is first the glory of God, and then what He has done for men. God's glory takes prominence, even as the birth of the Savior is announced. It is always God's glory that should be first place in our understanding of salvation. Salvation is something that is very personal to us, but we are way too stuck on ourselves. It is God that we should focus on, and only after God has been given glory for what He has done, should we begin to consider the wonders of salvation us-ward.
In salvation, God's glory is to be in view. This is one of the great faults of much of the evangelical gospel proclamation. The focus in much of the presentation of the gospel is upon the person and not on God. The focus is on what God can do for us. He can save us from our sins. He can give us a new heart that loves and cares for others. He can save us from hell and judgment. He can restore and renew those who have been wounded and beaten up by life's struggles. This is the heart of the evangelical gospel, but it is out of focus when thus presented, because the real focus of salvation is to be foremost God's glory. If the heavens declare the glory of God (Genesis 19:1), then so also we ought to declare the glory of God, as He redeems His people.
He has saved us to the praise of the glory of His grace. What a great truth for us to know. We see the true nature of this again, as it is put in 1 Corinthians 1:31, "Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord." We can't boast about anything regarding our salvation. Those who feel that salvation is partly God's work and partly their work ought to sing praise songs to themselves also. The thought is absurd. It is absurd to think that we should enter Heaven glorying that we have contributed to our salvation. Sing a psalm to yourself. Sing praises to yourself forever and ever. No, we can't think that way, because we know the foolishness of such thought. Salvation is a work of God, Him alone, and He deserves all the praise and all the glory for the wonder that He has mercy upon us. How blessed a thought, that the God of creation and truth is also a God of mercy, who delights to show it in saving sinners to Himself.
Soli Deo Gloria,