#47 TO HIM BE THE GLORY

In these few words – ‘to him be the glory’ – Peter draws our attention to an under-girding principle of the Christian life.

He has already referred to this –

That our faith results in ‘praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed’ [1:7].

That we ‘are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that (we) may declare the praises of him who called (us) out of darkness into his wonderful light’ [2:9].

That we should ‘live such good lives among the pagans that, thought they accuse (us) of doing wrong, they may see (our) good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us’ [2:12].

Now, in 4:11 Peter again draws our attention to this foundational motivation for godly living: ‘that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ’ - that ‘to him may be the glory for ever and ever.’

This earnest desire for the praise and glory of God puts a boundary around our lives, outlawing everything outside the boundary (attitudes and actions that dishonour him), and affirming everything within the boundary (attitudes and actions that honour him). It encompasses ‘all things’.

If our aim, our purpose, our commitment, is the glory and praise of God, this will, Peter says, change what our life looks like:

We will live for the will of God, not for evil human desires [4:2].

We will no longer participate in the godless actions and attitudes that previously characterized our lives [4:3,4].

We will be clear minded and self-controlled [4:7].

We will love each other deeply, with a compassionate, forgiving love [4:8].

We will gladly offer hospitality to each other [4:9].

Indeed, whatever natural talents, learned abilities or spiritual gifts we have we will use these gifts to serve others, and in doing so, administer God’s multi-faceted grace to others [4:10].

If our gift is verbal communication we will recognize the awesome responsibility of speaking the very words of God [4:11].

If our gift is serving, we will serve God and others, not with our own strength, but with the strength that God himself provides [4:11].

We will not claim that any of these actions are to our personal credit, but in all things will acknowledge that both the gifting and the strength to employ the gift are from God.

So at every moment of our days two questions establish where the boundary is:

Will this attitude or action honour God?

Or, will this attitude or action dishonour God?

If we have already committed ourselves to always try to live for God’s glory our basic decision has already been made. All we have to do at any point of choice, is to determine the answer to these two questions.

But, sometimes, because we are sinners who live in the midst of sinners, it seems that every option open to us will in some way dishonour God. Even to do nothing would dishonour God. There seems no way out, no clear way to glorify God rather than dishonour him. In such circumstances, where any choice of action, including inaction, involves some element of wrong, even here, trapped in circumstances generated by our corporate human sinfulness, we can, by our attitudes honour and glorify God.

To rest in God's grace given to us in Christ and refuse to be cowed by condemnation.

To live at peace in God's presence knowing that through Christ he has permanently reconciled us to himself.

To rejoice in God because he has in Christ demonstrated that he is for us, that nothing can separate us from his love.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2018