Christ is Most Satisfied When We Most Glorify

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As part of my series on practical Christology, I have asked:  "How may I know Christ loves me?" and "Why is Heaven eternal?" The answers to these questions do not belong only to theologians and pastors, but especially also to God's people. In preparation for a forthcoming book, titled "Knowing Jesus", I want to look at the topic of Christ's glory. His glory may be understood in a threefold manner:

1. First, because Jesus is fully divine, homoousios with God, he possesses an essential glory as the eternal Son of God. All three persons share in this glory since they are coequal, coeternal, consubstantial, etc. This glory can in no way be set aside or diminished. Nothing can add or take away from God's essential glory because his glory is infinite. 

What, then, are we to make of the fact that we must "ascribe to the LORD the glory due to his name" (1 Chron. 16:29)? This simply involves our adoration, affection, and appreciation of his great name (see Christ's attitude in Jn. 8:50). But even if we did not adore God, he would be no less glorified. 

2. Second, as the God-man, Jesus possesses a personal glory on account of the hypostatic union. This glory was ordained by God according to his decree and realized at the incarnation when the divine Son of God assumed flesh (i.e., body and soul). In the flesh, Jesus is the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15). He is the highest possible communication of the glory of God to creatures. This was the glory that Isaiah saw (Isa. 6:1-6; Jn. 12:41).

A greater work could not be done by God himself than the work of the incarnation. It was Thomas Goodwin who wrote that "More of God's glory shall instantly shine forth in...the Man Christ Jesus, having the God-head dwelling in him personally, than by God's making millions of worlds...furnished with glories." This personal glory of Christ's belongs to him alone, for he alone is the God-man. Not even the Father or the Spirit can claim this particular glory. 

3. Third, there is a mediatorial glory. Christ's mediatorial glory, involving the glory of his bride, has in view Christ's work. This glory was acquired and merited by Christ who performed his great service - even death on a cross - in obedience to his Father. As a result, Christ is Head of the Church; he is the Husband to his Bride; he is the Lord of all Creation (1 Cor. 8:6).

Here the role of the Spirit comes to the fore. Receiving the promised Holy Spirit upon his entrance into Heaven (Acts 2:33) for his obedience accomplished, Christ becomes Lord of the Spirit, which explains why the Spirit is sometimes termed the "Spirit of Christ" (Rom. 8:11). Not only does Christ receive the Spirit as his reward, but he also claims his bride (i.e., the church), those for whom he performed his work of mediation. Amazingly, we contribute to his mediatorial glory and his delight in Heaven. 

So, when the merits of Christ's work are applied to us, so that our sins are forgiven and our hearts are sanctified, Christ sees the fruit of his labor and he is "more" glorified. He is glorified in us (Jn. 17:10), and thus seeks to bless us so that his mediatorial glory may reach its promised fulfillment (goal). 

If you hear the well-known dictum, "God does not need your good works, but your neighbour does", you might consider that while this is true, it is not the whole truth. Christ personally rejoices in Heaven as his people are justified and sanctified (Matt. 25:31-46). He is more interested, happy, and satisfied in our salvation than we are. His sending of the Spirit is the guarantee that his labor was not and will not be in vain. In this sense, Christ "needs" our good works!

So praise the Father who gave you life; praise the Son who gave up his life for you; and praise the Spirit who produces Christ's resurrection life in you. And as you do, consider that Christ is more glorified. Indeed, to (sort of) turn a phrase by John Piper on its head, Christ is most satisfied when you most glorify. 

Pastor Mark Jones is on an airplane en route to Houston for the PCA GA. He faces some incredibly difficult decisions at GA, such as which World Cup games to watch on television and what Scotch he will drink.

Posted June 16, 2014 @ 3:23 PM by Mark Jones

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