We have been exploring Genesis on the origin of man (the origin of everything!) and we come now to one final question (not that the subject has been exhausted): what is the first purpose in God creating us? What is the main reason?
The answer, “….whom I created for my glory…” (Isaiah 43:7). We were made uniquely, above all else, in the image of God himself and we were made to bring glory to God. What then does this mean?
The first question in the Westminster Larger Catechism is, “What is the chief and highest end of Man?” and the answer follows, “Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and to fully enjoy him forever.” This is helpful and we can say with confidence, we find our being through, “Glorifying God and enjoying his benefits”. So in the words of the Psalmist, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing upon earth that I desire beside you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:25f the whole Psalm brings greater context as the Psalmist explores how he nearly lost his way).
Think on this. Don’t pass too quickly. “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God” (Ps 14:1). Who then does the ‘Fool’ give glory to?
What does it mean then, “To glorify God”? Think on how much the Scripture speaks in such language of the praise of God. And yes we do sing so frequently such high and lofty words. We may find no difficulty in reading and singing but where is the fluidity into our whole being that we glorify God as our chief purpose in life lived? And what does it mean to, “Fully enjoy God forever”?
Let’s go back to the Garden of Eden where it all started. Reading slowly, what a wonderful place and environment God made and provided. Was Adam and Eve lacking in anything good? God is seen as a ‘regular’ who, “walked (and was heard and recognised) in the Garden” (3:3). There is no fear or anxiety. There is every reason to believe both Adam and Eve enjoyed God. But for them to continue this way, all rested with the boundary set: “…You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…” (2:17). So man was created, from the beginning, with choices; here lies the quality portion of glorifying God. It is in the choices we make. For Adam and Eve when everything was perfect, their created substance allowed them (Free will) to ‘Glorify God’ or to cross the boundary.
Put simply, we glorify God by the choices we make. Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden in a “Lostness”. Reflect on all that was lost through that one act of disobedience.
Fast track now as we think on God’s recovery plan, salvation, forgiveness of SIN through Christ and his cross. This new life we have been given in Christ, through grace, we are still left with choices. As much as God gives, the one thing he doesn’t give, is, that we who have been given all, would choose to glorify God in our life now restored. A purposed life then is to be discovered and unveiled, our created reason and that is, “To glorify God and enjoy his benefits”.
To glorify God is beyond ‘Going to church’ or ‘Being on a committee’. To Glorify God is to first receive Christ, to come to Christ and then to go and follow Him as Lord. This is the life that Jesus spoke, “I have come that you may have life, life to the full” (John 10:10)
To have this life in Christ, we are turned around, from giving glory to ourselves and others unto giving glory to God to whom there is no one greater that glory may be given. After the Garden of Eden we have indeed been given a, “Second chance”, and to which no other chances may be given nor found. Christ is God’s pathway, full stop.
So here is God’s plan revealed and all centred in and around and upon Christ. Forgiven, changed, being transformed back into the ‘Likeness of God’ that had been lost. To see and understand more and more of God who is infinite, perfect, all-knowing, all-powerful and ever-present. God who is creator; who fashioned, formed in our mother’s womb and created for a purpose…..As the Apostle Paul could exclaim from his inner self, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” (Rom11:36) Thus to glorify God as our chief purpose and life meaning is found in Christ and the choices we choose day today (what do we choose that carries on from day to day? That builds from day to day?).
J I Packer (who died recently- all his books are a worthwhile read. Try, ‘Knowing God’) wrote something I have kept as a gem- “All theology is for doxology- the glory of God”. When he began lectures to his students (Regent College- Vancouver) he commenced with all singing the Doxology. What a wonderful way for us to begin each new day- to sing the doxology! So simple. So profound to lead one into each and every day that we may glorify God in all our choices. You don’t have to be in tune. You don’t have to sing out loud. You just have to sing the Doxology. Make it your anthem of praise this morning.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
And what say you?
HYMN: O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing my great redeemer’s praise.
The glories of my God and King, the triumph’s of His grace,
the triumph’s of His grace, the triiiiiumphs of His grace.
Cathedral of St John the Divine – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNgrbgGafv0