Glory of God

The Forgotten Way We Glorify God in Our Work

By Micah Colbert. Reposted from Rooted Thinking.

A Renewed Focus

Over the past few years, there has been a renewed focus in many churches on the importance of developing and teaching a theology of work. This emphasis on vocation has been long overdue. According to one study, the average person will spend 90,000 hours at work during their lifetime. That’s a mind-boggling amount of time! Needless to say, what happens during those 90,000 hours is no trivial matter.

Sadly, many Christians have entered the workplace without a biblical understanding of vocation. They might view their job as a necessary evil or simply a means to make money. The Scriptures, however, teach us that work is a vital part of God’s good design for our lives. Our work is an essential aspect of our worship. We were made in God’s image to reflect His character and glorify Him in our work (Gen. 1:26-28, 2 Cor. 10:31). Christians are ambassadors of Christ in their workplaces, shining the light of the gospel in dark places (2 Cor. 5:18). Through our work, we also have the privilege of extending God’s “common” grace to others so that society as a whole can flourish.

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What Is the Meaning of Life? Stewardship

A study by LifeWay Research several years ago found that 75% of the general population agreed with the statement, “There is an ultimate purpose and plan for every person’s life.” That number still seems surprisingly high to me. The same study found that 50% of those who never attend church services said there is no purpose or plan for human lives.

Though Christians are usually clear that there is purpose and meaning in life, many seem confused as to what exactly that purpose is. So my aim here is to answer what is really a pretty simple question:

What is the meaning of life?

A good place to research the meaning of life in Scripture is its beginning. When we look to Genesis, we find that our stewardship includes four things.

1. We’re stewards of ourselves.

We can infer much from the account of the creation of man.

[T]hen the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (ESV, Genesis 2:7)

The intimate act of God’s breathing into the first man to give him life, along with the revelation he was made in God’s image (Gen. 1:26), combine to teach us that were made to provide visible expression of some of what God is. We were made to make Him known.

This is where we see the first hint that we exist for God’s “glory.” His glory is His cavod (Heb.)—His weight, His true character.

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“...the Church devotes little time to helping individuals see their work as laden with sacred potential”

"Good work reveals God by mirroring his life-giving capacity to bless and serve others (Psalms 8:5-8). As creative agents, cultural stewards, and ambassadors of shalom, faithful work has limitless possibilities." - Facts & Trends

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How Might We Glorify God in His Attributes? (Part 2)

Read Part 1.

As we contemplate God’s perfections, we need to pay attention to what God has disclosed about Himself, linking these qualities together as they are linked together in His person. The perspectival aspect that is so important to grasp when we are dealing with the attributes should be remembered.

Millard Erickson actually criticizes the great Puritan Stephen Charnock for seeming to compartmentalize the attributes of God. When we are dealing with the perfections—whether it be the power of God, the presence of God, the holiness of God, or His patience, love, justice, grace, mercy, truth, eternality, immutability, omnipotence, etc.—we should see the attributes wrapped up in each another; that they are different perspectives on the unity of the one God, not parts of God, but rather perspectives on God.

We have been saved by God’s grace and mercy and love and power and truth and justice, so this places us under an obligation to glorify Him. I Corinthians 10:31 declares,

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

But how can we do that truly if we have not made ourselves familiar with the way God has disclosed Himself in the Bible?

The Glory of His Name

Psalm 29 reminds us to,

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness. (Psalm 29:2)

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How Might We Glorify God in His Attributes? (Part 1)

Calvin on God’s Powers

John Calvin’s treatment of Psalm 145 offers some great ruminations about the attributes of God. The psalm can be broken down into three parts:

Verses 1-3 are David on his own speaking of the greatness of God celebrating God’s praise.

Verses 4-9 speak of David bringing in the people of whom he is king and bringing them to praise and prompting them to consider God’s greatness and goodness.

Verses 10-21 he brings in the whole of creation; he is not satisfied with just himself praising God or with Israel praising God, but he wants the whole of God’s creation to do what it ought to do, which is to look at the revelation of God that He has given and to respond in worship and praise to Him.

Calvin deals with Psalm 145 he speaks of his comments on verse one: “since God is constant in extending mercies, it would be highly improper in us to faint in his praises.” He continues by saying that even when David was in his ascendancy he did not permit his royal trappings to “interfere with the glory due to God” (John Calvin, Commentary on Psalm 145:1).

It doesn’t matter what we are in this world, God is far above us, God is transcendent, God is King over us, and our proper position is of worshipers. Calvin then refers to being overwhelmed by “the immensity of His power.” Calvin means that we are brought out of ourselves and our condition by our ruminations upon God and His wonders.

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The Basis and Mandate of Christian Ethics

The simplicity of Paul’s ethical mandate for believers is unmistakable in 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whatever then you eat or you drink or whatever you do—all unto God’s glory you are to do.” In that context Paul challenges the Corinthian believers specifically to handle freedoms pertaining to eating and drinking in a such a way as to contribute to the purpose for all activity: to glorify God.

If God’s own purpose in His activities is His own glory (e.g., Eph 1:6, 12, 14), then it should come as no surprise that the stated singular purpose in our activities is that we should likewise glorify Him. This is the ought of Christian ethics: that we should glorify God, and it is important that we also understand the is upon which the ought is grounded.

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The Groaning Tent and the Exodus

A man went to a psychiatrist with a problem.

“Doc,” he explained, “I keep being plagued by two recurring dreams. One is a dream that I am a wigwam. In my other dream, I dream I am a teepee. Doc, you gotta help me. Am I going crazy? Is there something wrong with me?”

“Relax,” consoled the psychiatrist. “There is nothing wrong with you. You’re just two tents.”

The subject of tents was something Paul the Apostle took seriously. He was a skilled tentmaker by trade. Because tents were not far from Paul’s mind, he was in familiar territory when he compared life’s temporary nature to tent dwelling.

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