Musings on… What is Glorifying God?

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[this is a long post, I was doing research for my summer bible study class and pondered on this question, I hope it brings some enlightenment on your journey to know Him better]

I urge you to click on the links and read, read, read.

From the Westminster Shorter Catechism

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

Q. 2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
A. The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.

Q. 3. What do the Scriptures principally teach?
A. The Scriptures principally teach, what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.

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The footnotes for #1 above:

Psalm 86. Bow down thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy. Preserve my soul; for I am holy: O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee. Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily. Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications.

In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me. Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works. All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone. Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.

For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell. O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set thee before them. But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give thy strength unto thy servant, and save the son of thine handmaid. Show me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me.

Isaiah 60:21. Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.

Romans 11:36. For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

1 Corinthians 6:20; 10:31. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s…. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

Revelation 4:11. Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

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Glorify definition:

  1. to think, suppose, be of opinion
  2. to praise, extol, magnify, celebrate
  3. to honour, do honour to, hold in honour
  4. to make glorious, adorn with lustre, clothe with splendour
    1. to impart glory to something, render it excellent
    2. to make renowned, render illustrious
      1. to cause the dignity and worth of some person or thing to become manifest and acknowledged

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From Man’s Chief End is to Glorify God by Thomas Watson

Q. What is it to glorify God?

A. Glorifying God consists in four things: 1. Appreciation, 2. Adoration, 3. Affection, 4. Subjection. This is the yearly rent we pay to the crown of heaven.

1. Appreciation.

To glorify God is to set God highest in our thoughts, and, to have a venerable esteem of him. Psalm 92:8. “Thou, Lord, art most high for evermore.” Psalm 97:9, “Thou art exalted far above all gods.” There is in God all that may draw forth both wonder and delight; there is a constellation of all beauties; he is prima causa [the first cause], the original and spring-head of being, who sheds a glory upon the creature.

We glorify God when we are God-admirers; admire his attributes, which are the glistening beams by which the divine nature shines forth; his promises which are the charter of free grace, and the spiritual cabinet where the pearl of price is hid; the noble effects of his power and wisdom in making the world, which is called “the work of his fingers.” Psalm 8:3. To glorify God is to have God-admiring thoughts; to esteem him most excellent, and search for diamonds in this rock only.

2. Glorifying God consists in adoration, or worship.

Psalm 29:2. “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” There is a twofold worship: 1. A civil reverence which we give to persons of honour. Gen. 23:7, “Abraham stood up and bowed himself to the children of Heth.” Piety is no enemy to courtesy. 2. A divine worship which we give to God as his royal prerogative. Neh. 8:6,”they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces towards the ground.”

This divine worship God is very jealous of; it is the apple of his eye, the pearl of his crown; which he guards, as he did the tree of life, with cherubims and a flaming sword, that no man may come near it to violate it. Divine worship must be such as God himself has appointed, otherwise it is offering strange fire, Lev. 10:1. The Lord would have Moses make the tabernacle, “according to the pattern in the mount.” Exod. 25:40. He must not leave out anything in the pattern, nor add to it. If God was so exact and curious about the place of worship, how exact will he be about the matter of his worship! Surely here every thing must be according to the pattern prescribed in his word.

3. Affection.

This is part of the glory we give to God, who counts himself glorified when he is loved. Deut. 6:5, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul.” There is a twofold love: 1. Amor concupiscentiae, a love of concupiscence, which is self-love; as when we love another because he does us a good turn. A wicked man may be said to love God, because he has given him a good harvest, or filled his cup with wine. This is rather to love God’s blessing than to love God. 2. Amor amicitiae, a love of delight, as a man takes delight in a friend.

This is to love God indeed; the heart is set upon God, as a man’s heart is set upon his treasure. This love is exuberant, not a few drops, but a stream. It is superlative; we give God the best of our love, the cream of it. Cant. 8:2,”I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate.” If the spouse had a cup more juicy and spiced, Christ must drink of it. It is intense and ardent. True saints are seraphims, burning in holy love to God [from the Hebrew word saruph, to be burned up]. The spouse wasamore perculsa, [an overwhelming love], in fainting fits, “sick of love,” Cant. 2:5. Thus to love God is to glorify him. He who is the chief of our happiness has the chief of our affections.

4. Subjection.

This is when we dedicate ourselves to God, and stand ready dressed for his service. Thus the angels in heaven glorify him; they wait on his throne, and are ready to take a commission from him; therefore they are represented by the cherubims with wings displayed, to show how swift they are in their obedience. We glorify God when we are devoted to his service; our head studies for him, our tongue pleads for him, and our hands relieve his members.

The wise men that came to Christ did not only bow the knee to him, but presented him with gold and myrrh. Matt. 2:11. So we must not only bow the knee, give God worship, but bring presents of golden obedience. We glorify God when we falter at no service, when we fight under the banner of his gospel against an enemy, and say to him as David to King Saul, “Thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine,” 1 Sam. 17:32.

A good Christian is like the sun, which not only sends forth heat, but goes its circuit round the world. Thus, he who glorifies God has not only his affections heated with love to God, but he goes his circuit too; he moves vigorously in the sphere of obedience.

and

Q. How shall we know when we aim at God’s glory?

A. (1.) When we prefer God’s glory above all other things; above credit, estate, relations; when the glory of God coming in competition with them, we prefer his glory before them. If relations lie in our way to heaven, we must either leap over them, or tread upon them.

A child must unchild himself, and forget he is a child; he must know neither father nor mother in God’s cause. Deut. 33:9, “Who said unto his father and mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethren.” This is to aim at God’s glory.

(2.) We aim at God’s glory, when we are content that God’s will should take place, though it may cross ours.

Lord, I am content to be a loser, if thou be a gainer; to have less health, if I have more grace, and thou more glory. Let it be food or bitter medicine if thou gives it me. Lord, I desire that which may be most for thy glory. Our blessed Saviour said, “not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Matt. 26:39. If God might have more glory by his sufferings, he was content to suffer. John 12:28, “Father, glorify thy name.”

(3.) We aim at God’s glory when we are content to be outshined by others in gifts and esteem, so that his glory may be increased.

A man that has God in his heart, and God’s glory in his eye, desires that God should be exalted. If this be effected, no matter whom the instrument, he rejoices. Phil. 1:15, “Some preach Christ of envy: notwithstanding Christ is preached, and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice;” they preached Christ of envy, they envied Paul that concourse of people, and they preached that they might outshine him in gifts, and get away some of his hearers: well, says Paul, Christ is preached, and God is like to have the glory, therefore I rejoice; let my candle go out, if the Sun of Righteousness may but shine.

2. We glorify God by a frank confession of sin.

The thief on the cross had dishonoured God in his life, but at his death he brought glory to God by confession of sin. Luke 23:41, “We indeed suffer justly.” He acknowledged he deserved not only crucifixion, but damnation. Josh. 7:19, “My son, give, I, pray thee, glory to God, and make confession unto him.” A humble confession exalts God. How is God’s free grace magnified in crowning those who deserve to be condemned! The excusing and mincing of sin casts a reproach upon God.

Adam denied not that he tasted the forbidden fruit, but, instead of a full confession, he taxed God. Gen. 3:12. “The woman whom thou gavest me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat;” if thou had not given me the woman to be a tempter, I would not have sinned. Confession glorifies God, because it clears him; it acknowledges that he is holy and righteous, whatever he does.

Nehemiah vindicates God’s righteousness; chap. 9:33. “Thou art just in all that is brought upon us.” A confession is frank when it is free, not forced. Luke 15:18. “I have sinned against heaven and before thee.” The prodigal charged himself with sin before his Father charged him with it.

3. We glorify God by believing.

Rom. 4:20. “Abraham was strong in faith, giving glory to God.” Unbelief affronts God, it gives him the lie; “he that believeth not, maketh God a liar.” I John 5:10. But faith brings glory to God; it sets to its seal that God is true. John 3:33. He that believes flies to God’s mercy and truth, as to an altar of refuge, he engarrisons himself in the promises, and trusts all he has with God. Psalm 31:5, “Into thy hands I commit my spirit.”

This is a great way of bringing glory to God, and God honours faith because faith honours him. It is a great honour we do to a man when we trust him with all we have, when we put our lives and estates into his hand; it is a sign we have a good opinion of him. The three children glorified God by believing. “The God whom we serve is able to deliver us, and will deliver us,” Dan. 3:17. Faith knows there are no impossibilities with God, and will trust him where it cannot see him.

4. We glorify God, by being tender of his glory.

God’s glory is dear to him as the apple of his eye. An innocent child weeps to see a disgrace done to his father. Psalm 69:9, “The reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.” When we hear God reproached, it is as if we were reproached; when God’s glory suffers, it is as if we suffered. This is to be tender of God’s glory.

5. We glorify God by fruitfulness.

John 15:8. “Hereby is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.” As it is dishonouring God to be barren, so fruitfulness honours him. Phil. 1:11. “Filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are to the praise of his glory.” We must not be like the fig tree in the gospel, which had nothing but leaves, but like the pomecitron, that is continually either mellowing or blossoming, and is never without fruit. It is not profession, but fruit that glorifies God.

God expects to have his glory from us in this way. 1 Cor. 9:7, “Who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit of it?” Trees in the forest may be barren, but trees in the garden are fruitful. We must bring forth the fruits of love and good works. Matt. 5:16.”Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Faith sanctifies our works, and works testify our faith; to be doing good to others, to be eyes to the blind, feet to the lame, much glorifies God.

Thus Christ glorified his Father; “he went about doing good.” Acts 10:38. By being fruitful, we are fair in God’s eyes. Jer. 11:16. “The Lord called thy name a green olive-tree, fair and of goodly fruit.” And we must bear much fruit; it is muchness of fruit that glorifies God: “if ye bear much fruit.” The spouse’s breasts are compared to clusters of grapes, to show how fertile she was, Cant. 7:7. Though the lowest degree of grace may bring salvation to you, yet it will not bring much glory to God. It was not a spark of love Christ commended in Mary, but much love; “she loved much,” Luke 7:47.

6. We glorify God by being contented in that state in which Providence has placed us.

We give God the glory of his wisdom, when we rest satisfied with what he carves out to us. Thus Paul glorified God. The Lord cast him into as great variety of conditions as any man, “in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft,” 2 Cor. 11:23, yet he had learned to be content. Paul could sail either in a storm or a calm; he could be anything that God would have him; he could either want or abound, Phil. 4:13. A good Christian argues thus: It is God that has put me in this condition; he could have raised me higher, if he pleased, but that might have been a snare to me: he has done it in wisdom and love; therefore I will sit down satisfied with my condition.

Surely this glorifies God much; God counts himself much honoured by such a Christian. Here says God, is one after mine own heart; let me do what I will with him, I hear no murmuring, he is content. This shows abundance of grace. When grace is crowning, it is not so much to be content; but when grace is conflicting with inconveniences, then to be content is a glorious thing indeed. For one to be content when he is in heaven is no wonder; but to be content under the cross is like a Christian.

This man must needs bring glory to God; for he shows to all the world, that though he has little meal in his barrel, yet he has enough in God to make him content: he says, as David, Psalm 16:5, “The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance; the lines are fallen to me in pleasant places.”

7. We glorify God by working out our own salvation.

God has bound together his glory and our good. We glorify him by promoting our own salvation. It is a glory to God to have multitudes of converts; now, his design of free grace takes, and God has the glory of his mercy; so that, while we are endeavouring our salvation, we are honouring God. What an encouragement is this to the service of God to think, while I am hearing and praying, I am glorifying God; while I am furthering my own glory in heaven, I am increasing God’s glory.

Would it not be an encouragement to a subject, to hear his prince say to him, You will honour and please me very much, if you will go to yonder mine of gold, and dig as much gold for yourself as you can carry away? So, for God to say, Go to the ordinances, get as much grace as you can, dig out as much salvation as you can; and the more happiness you have, the more I shall count myself glorified.

8. We glorify God by living to God.

2 Cor. 5:15, “That they which live should not live to themselves, but unto him who died for them.” Rom. 14:8, “Whether we live, we live unto the Lord.” The Mammonist lives to his money, the Epicure lives to his belly; the design of a sinner’s life is to gratify lust, but we glorify God when we live to God.

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Please read the entire article at the link. good stuff. The Home Engineer

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