What Matters Most – Seeking God’s Glory

Over the last week or two, I’ve been taking some time out to study John’s Gospel in more depth. My particular concern and focus has been to get a better handle on the relationship that exists between Jesus and the Father.

This morning I was looking at John Chapter 7.10-24. This section narrates the doctrinal head-to-head between Jesus and the Jews, both the masses and their masters. The debate took place in the precincts of the Temple. Christ had come in cognito, resisting the pressure of his relatives. Now, constrained by the duties of His office, He stands in God’s House to declare divine doctrine in order to decimate human tradition.

What is apparent, throughout this account, is the commitment of the Son to the glory of His Father. This, in fact, is the thing, above all, that distinguishes Jesus Christ clearly from His Judean teachers and hearers. The central section of the passage is found in the statement recounted by John in Chapter 7 Verse 18:

“He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is true, and no unrighteousness is in him” (NKJV).

This portion of the 4th Gospel raises many searching questions that we need to regularly answer as professors, lecturers, ministers, elders, deacons, members, adherents, or covenant children:

What Matters Most To Me – My Own Personal Kudos, Reputation, Prestige, Honor OR The Honor, Praise and Glory of God?

By way of reply to the question posed by Jesus through His beloved disciple John, let me make a number of points: my aim is to stress the benefits of fruitful meditation on and consideration of the challenge this passage faces us with:

If what matters most to you is the Glory of God then the following facts flow from this passage (no doubt there are many others):

You will (according to the measure of grace and faith granted in Christ) be…..

enabled to BE TIMELY v14

enabled to TEACH TRUTHFULLY v15-16

enabled to RECEIVE CHRIST v17a

enabled to DISCERN ERROR v17b

enabled to ENDURE SLANDER v20

enabled to RESPOND KINDLY v21

enabled to DISCUSS THEOLOGY v22

enabled to EXPOSE TRADITION v23

enabled to JUDGE RIGHTLY v24

….Of course, on the other hand, if you are self-seeking, or man-pleasing, you are going, as His disciple, to be seriously deficient or defective, in your character, walk, and service of the Gospel. None of these things are possible while you are motivated by carnal, anthropocentric, thinking.

You also need to remember that, whenever you are bent on the Glory of God, every help will be given to those who ask, seek and knock. The Father, in the Son, by the Spirit of Grace, will reward you passion for conformity to His Son: your heart will be aligned to, and constrained by, His most holy, pleasing and perfect, will. The Jesus who sought God’s glory, and never wearied or deviated from doing so, is a cascading fountain of God-glorifying life, from whom you may obtain abundant grace.

As you seek His power to concentrate your Christianity on God’s glory, expect to see the overflow of His wisdom being worked out in your life. Of course it means you’ll divide opinion (v12), make theologians scratch their heads (v15), collide head-on with tradition (21), and be called a child of the devil (v20) – nobody ever claimed that seeking God’s glory was easy! But, as by the work of the God-glorifying Spirit, in the Grace of the Gospel, faith leads you into ever-closer communion, your relationship with the Father, will be revealed through the Son: your desire to seek God first will be evident in your life, as your mouth and manner are filled with the truth of the Gospel like Jesus.

God grant us grace each day to be God’s Glory Seekers more and more.

3 Comments

  1. f July 22, 2017 at 11:31 am #

    Stands in sharp contrast to John 11:48…

    • Andrew Kerr July 22, 2017 at 1:51 pm #

      Well perhaps in a certain sense. What I would say is that John 11.48 could be taken a couple of ways at least. Let me try to explain:

      1. It is after all only the assessment of the leaders and may reflect their worst fears as they try to assess the public mood.

      2. On the other hand, if they have assessed the situation correctly, their understanding of ‘faith’ and what it means ‘to believe’ is hardly shared by Jesus or John

      3. Remember that this is the crowd that in a very short time will ‘turn turtle’ and cry ‘Crucify …His blood be on our heads’.

      4. Also, in John, faith works at many different levels: lots of people believe who don’t really believe – it is temporary faith, or untested faith, but does not equate with that saving trust of those who are drawn by the faith and who will be raised up on the last day, as in John 6.35-40.

      5. A forewarning of this ‘ultimately carnal, unstable faith’ is given in John 2.23-25 where we are told that many believed but Jesus knew that this faith would not be of the sort that would endure.

      6. In other words, lots of Jews believed – particularly among the crowds – but, as I understand it, they believed in Jesus carnally, by which I mean, from a fleshly point of view, as a Messiah who would bring in an earthly Kingdom and drive out the Romans.

      7. No doubt there were others unmentioned who did really believe – whose faith eventually comes out in the wash of the Cross and Resurrection like Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, in 19.38-39, in addition to the other close followers of Christ.

      In other words, one of the key questions of the 4th Gospel is not simply do you believe in Christ, but what sort of belief do you have in Christ and what sort of Christ do you believe in – I would query whether such faith is what the leaders are worried among the crowds in John 11.48 – what I think they fear is a Messianic Movement of a carnal earthly sort.

      I hope this helps – come back to me if not.

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