About a month and a half ago we concluded a series on "The Works of Grace", in which we examined from 2Peter one of the major functioning of grace in the life of very true Christian - the creation of the character of Jesus Christ in us. This is not Christ-like character, but the very same character that is in Him. Often this can be misunderstood as Christ likeness, which can lead to counterfeit humanistic qualities which strongly resemble God’s character, but in reality are "works of the flesh". Unfortunately, this is what passes for religion and much of modern Christianity today.
Number six in the series described the ascension to the crowning cap of the allegorical pyramid, which is the apex - love. So much has been said and written about love in so many venues that it would seem that about all that can be said has been said. Of course, whether it has all resulted in more of the right type of love, only God knows...
But love - the "love of God" what we are striving (hopefully) to become - can hardly be exhausted as a subject. After all, God is inexhaustible, and God IS Love! There will never be enough said or to say about the LOVE OF GOD...
The character of God is simply Love in action - in fact, Love IS action, i.e. the action of God.(1 Corinthians 13) The perfect love of God even casts out fear - in perfected love, fear CANNOT EXIST (1 John 4:17-19. There is no fear with God. Fear cannot exist in His presence. Initially, prior to coming into a relationship with Jesus Christ, which is us in Him and Him in us, there is a constructive and kind of holy fear which draws us toward God. Indeed there must be a consecrated fear of God through which He draws us toward Himself. One of the most disturbing trends in society is that more and more "there is no fear of God" in their eyes.
The key to the proper fear of God is understanding the nature of the fear, and the types of fear that can be experienced. Some children because of a myriad of circumstances, develop an inordinate fear of life in general, that hinders and plagues them all their lives. Then of course there is the most sinister of all human fears that former President Roosevelt referred to in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor, when he said "we have nothing to fear but fear itself". There is a "fear" that is of dread and involves the threat of punishment (the fear to which John refers), and there is the fear of God that involves awe, wonder, respect, and worship. Love, operating through the other character traits Christ builds into us begins to desire to GLORIFY God. Many who have heard others speak about "glorifying God" and that we were created to glorify God, etc., become uncomfortable. Some feel that is selfishness for God to desire that we glorify Him, that is just self centeredness, and the attitude of a control freak. Even some Christians struggle with this. Much of the problem revolves around the title to one writers book, "Your God is Too Small"! Many just have not grasped how great God is! Another is in not comprehending what SPIRITUAL glorification is. Glorification in the spiritual realm, is not a one way street with God (neither should it be for us - Proverbs 25:27). In Jesus’ great prayer on that last night with His disciples, he asked to be glorified again with the glory He once had with the Father (John 17:5). Also, God speaks of His glorification of US (Jeremiah 30:18-19; Ephesians 5:27; Philippians 3:21)! This spiritual connection between Love and Glory is explicit, and the theme runs like a thread throughout the Bible. We glorify God because we LOVE Him. The very essence of loving Him is to GLORIFY Him.
Glorification is a subtle and benign component of all relational activity. In any given relationship - where there is love, the love that Christ forms in us, there is an outward indication of favor toward the other. Then (if there is love), there is the desire to reciprocate. In each instance, both receive a kind of "glory". If the pattern is not broken (as it often is, especially in marriage), as the expression goes, they "mutually excel each other", and the process grows ever more and more GLORIOUS! This is a very important and often critical spiritual factor in Christian relationships in the church (Philippians 2:4). When Christians are filled with the love of God, their actions OF God will be extended outward, just as God extends His love outward to all the universe. This love reflects back with glory ever more glorious. And it goes on forever. If God is eternal (endless), and God is Love, then love lived outward is endless.
The wonderful and glorious truth is that WHEN WE GLORIFY GOD HE GLORIFIES US! The more we glorify God, the more he glorifies us. The more He glorifies us, the more we glorify God. And on and on it goes - eternally! The more children God has that are glorifying Him, the more He can glorify them. Again - this will go on eternally, ever increasing LOVE and the resulting glorification - mutually, between loving and being loved, and glorifying and being glorified. The reality is that Love and Glory are components of the same. God is Love and God IS Glory. He is Loving and He is Glorious!
The world all around us is seeking power, money, fame and "glory". Could you be seeking a "glory" that is not proceeding from a character crowned with LOVE? During the glory days of the Roman Empire, when the chariots returned in triumph after a successful battle, a slave stood beside the commander as it raced through the streets of Rome and continually whispered in his ear: "all glory is fleeting"...!
Is your glory "fleeting"?
Are you loving God more and more unto His glory? - the more you do, the more He will glorify you - more and more - forever! If you are, your glory has already been accomplished...you "have nothing to fear, but fear itself..."
"And those whom He thus foreordained, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified (acquitted, made righteous, putting them into right standing with Himself). And those whom He justified, He also glorified [raising them to a heavenly dignity and condition or state of being]." - Romans 8:30 (AmpBible)
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