The sixty-first chapter of Isaiah begins with a splendid annunciation of the coming of Christ in both advents. Although the message includes a mention of the judgment (“vengeance”) that is a major aspect of Christ’s glorious appearing, the focus is on the blessing attending Christ’s coming both at His incarnation and His coronation. Twelve of the thirteen phrases in the first three verses (e.g., “he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,” and, “to proclaim liberty to the captives,” also, “to give unto them beauty for ashes”) promise rich blessings from the Lord. But our interest today is in the final clause of that passage, which explains the purpose behind such a rich bestowal of blessings upon undeserving beings: “that he [i.e., God] might be glorified.” We have every reason and every right, in Christ, to rejoice in the many blessings that God has bestowed upon us, as well as in the many more that He has promised to bestow. But we will have missed the greatest and most significant blessing of all, if we skate over that final purpose clause: “that he might be glorified.” Those five short words set before us both what is the eternal perspective of God and what ought to be the energizing perspective of the saints.
The eternal perspective of God. God exists to glorify Himself. Were any other being to say such a thing or live in such a way, he would be guilty of blasphemous pride, foolish blindness, and destructive self-indulgence. But as the infinitely perfect and ineffably glorious God, it is right for God to conduct the universe in such a way that He will be glorified. To declare something to be what it is and to acknowledge it as such is always right and beneficial. A pedestrian example may help illustrate the point. A doctor is doing what is right to acknowledge that he is a physician when he happens on the scene of an accident. Doing so is not only truthful but helpful to any who might be injured. In an infinitely higher way, there is no greater activity in all the universe than that of God declaring Himself to be God and revealing His glory in the world. Doing so is the highest possible revelation of truth. And those who embrace that truth are infinitely benefited by that acknowledgement. The fact that all that God does ultimately glorifies Him and that everything He permits in the universe also ultimately accomplishes that end is simply to acknowledge that God is engaged in the most exalted activity that exists in either time or eternity. To view God in any other way than that is to make of Him a fallible, inferior creature.
The energizing perspective of the saints. That all God is and does redounds to His glory should indicate to us what we should be occupied with here as believers, namely, the glory of God. What a vocation! We have been redeemed, not just to scrub floors and wipe babies’ noses nor even to write the magnum opus nor save human lives. All of those things must be done and may be good. But we are called to so conduct our lives “that he might be glorified.” Our vocation is nothing less than that with which God Himself is occupied! It is impossible to imagine a higher calling, for none exists. Paul exhorts us in this fashion: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (I Cor. 10:31). To the carnal saint, such a concept is boring and restrictive. To the young saint is may seem daunting, if not overwhelming. But to the mature saint, that exhortation breathes the very breath of God; it surges with both holy purpose and heavenly power. It is the invitation of all invitations. To glorify God! To think that we who are nothing more than sinners have been saved and can so conduct our lives that we reflect glory on our God and Savior is a blessing beyond expression. To that end we were created; for that purpose we were redeemed. May we dedicate all we are and have to that high and holy privilege “that he might be glorified.”
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