I wrote the article below seven years ago. On the end goal and sure destination of all things: THE GLORY OF GOD. Chief, root, fountain, foundation, rail, fuel, goal and end of faith and all of life. Read and re-read. Memorize the Scripture references. Ponder and meditate. This is key to nurture, growth, sanctification and perseverance in, through and for Christ.
Then, drink deeper from this most nourishing, most heart-and-life-changing, most empowering and most essential study and meditation. Read:
1. The introduction and first chapter of Sean Michael Lucas’ God’s Grand Design: The Theological Vision of Jonathan Edwards. It’s FREE at http://www.wtsbooks.com/common/pdf_links/9781433514456.pdf
2. John Piper’s book-length introduction to Edwards’ book. It’s FREE at http://document.desiringgod.org/god-s-passion-for-his-glory-en.pdf?1439242050
3. Jonathan Edwards’ book itself. The End for Which God Created the World is FREE at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/edwards/works1.pdf
It is the hardest book that I’ve ever read so far, but the fruit of days and nights of patient, thoughtful and prayerful reading and re-reading, studying and re-studying, pondering and meditation of what is to me Edwards’ magnum opus… The benefits are incalculably enormous. I think that it’s a must read and study prayerfully and meditatively for all pastors and pastors-to-be.
Understanding THE GLORY
By Pastor Glen Melo
September 15, 2008
God is doing great things in my life, marriage, family, our church and mission. And at the very heart of it all is a fresh, Biblical revelation of the glory of God.
I slowly and patiently read an old book, “The End for Which God Created the World” (1765) by Jonathan Edwards for 2 months. Written by the leader of the Great Awakening in the eighteenth century, it reveals what truly fuels a revival. Needless to say, I am totally and radically revolutionized by the author’s meditations on the glory of God.
The glory of God is the chief and ultimate end of all life, ministry, history and all things. It sets the purpose and context for everything. It is the “why” of all that we are, say and do, and is the only right heart motivation for developing the right character, right teaching and right practices in life, family and ministry.
1. God is infinitely glorious in and by Himself — in His infinite, eternal, unchanging, divine attributes and characteristics.
2 . God expressed, revealed, manifested, and displayed His infinite glory through His works of creation, providence and redemption (from election to glorification).
3. God’s glory includes His people’s knowing, loving and enjoying His glory through “the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
4. God’s glory includes His people’s transformation into Christ’s image from glory to glory by knowing (“beholding”), loving and enjoying His glory (2 Corinthians 3:18) in the gospel.
5. God’s glory includes the church’s reflecting and displaying Christ’s character for the world to see.
6. God’s glory includes the church’s verbal witness/proclamation of “the gospel of the glory of Christ” to the world.
7. God’s glory includes our patient and joyful endurance and perseverance for Christ and the gospel in the face of sufferings, tribulations and persecution.
8. God’s infinite glory will be most fully expressed, revealed, manifested, and displayed at the consummation of all things (the second coming) for the eternal enjoyment and exultation of His people.
9. All things (from eternity past, through all of creative and redemptive history, and forever and ever in eternity future) will absolutely and ultimately produce and lead to the eternal worship of the infinitely glorious God.
I feel very strongly in my heart that knowing, loving and enjoying (i.e. finding all-satisfying joy in) the glory of God as revealed in Christ and His works of grace (from election to glorification) is key to developing a right heart, character and conduct before God for life, family and ministry.
Character, pure doctrine, diligence, persistence, etc. are all essential. And we must pursue them with all our heart, mind and strength. But with the right end vision and motivation. Because character, pure doctrine, diligence, persistence, etc. are not the end to themselves and by themselves. They are all means to an end. And the end is the glory of God — knowing, loving, enjoying, reflecting, sharing and spreading “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).
Please prayer for me as I continue to learn and grow in knowing, loving, enjoying, reflecting, teaching and spreading Christ’s glory in the gospel. Ask the Holy Spirit to give the body of Christ in Mindanao the right heart and spirit that glorifies and reflects God in all things — in life, marriage, family, ministry and sufferings.
All the best,
Pastor Glen, family and team