Saturday, January 12, 2019 - Devotional for Day 6
[T]o him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:21 (ESV)
Have you noticed how people constantly build? We build houses, cities, and nations. We build friendships, financial portfolios, and personal networks. And what about our bodies, skill sets, and knowledge - couldn’t we say we build (or attempt to build) those, too? Without stretching the image too much, we might say that virtually everything we’re about is about building (even vaccines are taken to ‘build’ our immune system).
It’s no wonder we build so much. Our Creator, too, is a builder. He ‘built’ the universe for His glory (Psalm 19:1). Using natural means, He ‘builds’ waterways, crops, and seasons (Psalm 65:9; 104:19). He, too, is behind the building of nations and neighborhoods.
Of all the things in the universe, what is the Lord’s most important construction project? A people who belong wholly to Him (I Corinthians 3:9). “Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (I Peter 2:10).
Imagine that: God is most concerned with drawing a people from every nation to Himself forever. Why? After all, we are so undeserving. Bingo! The church exists to display God’s glorious grace and lovingkindness. We deserve judgment but instead receive mercy. Instead of justice, we get grace. Instead of status quo, He transforms us from one degree of glory to another (II Corinthians 3:18). In place of a bleak future, we have a heavenly inheritance (Ephesians 1:14).
We are a people who are gathered and kept by God’s sheer grace. And He saves us not in spite of His glory, but because of His glory. God is supremely glorified in our redemption.
And God will receive glory. He will receive glory because He is glorious and everything He does is glorious. But He will receive glory especially in the church and in His son Jesus Christ because it is in the church and through Jesus Christ that God’s glorious work of salvation will be on full display for all the world to see. In our salvation, His grace, love, and kindness are made known in an especially unique way. Unique because the Father orchestrated it, the Son achieved it, and the Spirit applies it—for us, His beloved.
If God will, with certainty, receive glory in the church and in Christ, why pray it will happen? For at least three reasons: we may pray to affirm God’s plan, to align with God’s plan, and to aspire for His plan to come to fruition. A few words on each.
In our prayers, we may affirm that God indeed will be glorified. Affirmation oftentimes expresses itself in praise to the living God. “Father, I praise You for Your wonderful glory!”
In our prayers, we may also ask the Lord to align us with the truth that His glory be on display. “Lord You will be glorified. Bring this truth home to my head and heart. I love this precious truth; help me to love it more.”
Finally, we may pray aspirationally: “You will be glorified in the church and in Jesus Christ, heavenly Father. Make the church (in this generation and in the generations to come) a people through whom You receive glory!”
We can be assured that our heavenly Father hears and loves these prayers because His beloved Son, Jesus Himself, prayed them. Not long before He was put to death, Jesus turned to His Father and said (selections from John 17):
Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him…I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began….
I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them….May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
So would you join us in...
- Praising the Lord for His marvelous grace and ever-deserving glory?
- Praying that His glory would be manifest in the church and in Jesus Christ throughout all generations?
- Asking the Lord to strengthen you, your local church body, and the church universal for the sake of His glory?
Through the Lord Jesus Christ, God the Father has adorned His bride with His righteousness. He is removing every blemish from her to present her holy at the marriage supper of the Lamb. His glory is now and will forever be on full display. So hard to fathom, yet undeniably true! What a wonderful God we serve. Praise Him and His glorious grace, now and forever.
Ministry Director, Christian Union at Cornell University