The Glory of God: The Gospel of Christ
There seem to be many problems in our world today. The news constantly focuses on problems like poverty, hunger, climate change and so on. Many governments and activists seem to work tirelessly to solve these and other problems. Each one has his own opinion and often there are conflicts, because of a divergence in proposed solutions. Whose opinion should be heard? Whose proposed solution has more weight and validity?
There is one major problem in our world that underlies all others. What is humanity’s more fundamental problem? God tells us that our underlying and more fundamental problem is the fallenness of creation as a result of sin.
Apart from the fallenness of creation and the curse we are under, we are all corrupt in our nature. We all face the spiritual danger of sin in ourselves. Each of us has the same tendency to pride as Adam did. We all yearn to be our own god. We tend to think, “My opinion,” or “my solution is the only way.” We have a pride in our own capabilities, though we are by nature corrupt and untrustworthy.
We are called by God’s word to acknowledge our sin and depravity. We must admit that we are unable to solve our own problems. We must then repent of our sin. To turn away from our sin is half the solution. Repentance means we turn from our sin, but also turn to someone. That someone is not yourself. We cannot be our own savior.
One might expect that some of these worldwide problems would make it clear to all that humanity is frail and finite. It should lead us to look outside of ourselves for help. Humanity’s greatest need is to turn toward God, who is infinite and sovereign.
Yet, we are blind, not seeing the extent of human pride. It is unbelievable that we can look at these worldwide problems and turn them into opportunities to glory in humanity! This is the depravity of humanity, which is inclined to despise God and to esteem itself higher than the Creator.
Despite God’s revelation of His Glory, humanity rejects and despises the Glory of God. Humanity would rather glory in itself than in the God who created. Romans 1:25 “…they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”
Despite this condition of man to continually exchange the glory of God for the glory of the creature, the Lord is pleased to call and transform his people. God gathers his people into the body of Christ, the Church. The Church is called to have joy in the Glory of God. In Christ we are called to repentance and faith.
When God confronts us with the death of his Son on the cross, he displays the shame of humanity. We are called to acknowledge our shame and guilt before God. God made manifest his Glory in the Person and Work of his Son, Jesus Christ. In the cross of Christ, God confronts man with his depravity and sin. Christ died on the cross bearing the shame and guilt of humanity, so that we may be clothed in the glory of Christ. Isa 53:4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
The questions each of us are confronted with in the gospel are: Will you believe and trust God, or will you continue to find your own way? Will you trust in our own fallen and depraved nature or will you come to the Glory of God in the cross of Christ for Redemption?
In John’s Gospel we read: John 12:37-43 Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.” Isaiah said these things because he saw His glory and spoke of Him. Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in Him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.
Jesus proved to be the Son of God that has come to do the Father’s will. He had done many signs to authenticate His message and His work, yet there were many who hardened their hearts and did not repent and believe. There also were those who believed in their hearts, but were afraid to confess. The fear of man and the pride in humanity has kept them from confessing the truth. Their faith had become ineffective. Their faith was, dead!
Finally, there are those who see and proclaim God’s Glory, like Isaiah. In the gospel we are called to take a public stand (by God’s enabling grace) for the Glory of God. Rom 10:9 if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
May the Lord comfort all who believe and confess The Glory of God in Christ. May we rely on His goodness in keeping and sustaining us. The Lord will build his Church (Matthew 16:18).