What Does Mustard and Strawberries Have In Common?
I made a ham sandwich the other day and it was overflowing with the deliciousness of mustard. Carelessly I began to devour the succulent meal and when I looked down mustard had dripped on to my shirt. Taking my napkin I dabbed the yellow blob only to find that a stain had been left behind. Likewise, while eating a strawberry I placed the stem on my lap and when I picked it up a round red stain was the result. If left to myself I would become a multi colored tapestry of mealtime residue. Stains do not add to the glory of my apparel. They diminish its appearance and bring judgement from the more tidy.
In the same manner sin has stained the imprint of God's glory in our lives. All have fallen short and we lack the means to remove its residue. Yet, God in his mercy has washed us clean through the blood of the lamb. His glory becomes our glory, the riches of his glory the sustenance of our being. We owe all to him who gave all of himself for our benefit, that we might be saved for His glory. As a result everything that we do is to extol and bring glory to His name.
God's glory is the essence of his being, the totality of his character, and the representation of his nature. His glory shines, gives light, is majestic, it fills the whole world and every believer. His glory is without boundaries and yet contained in the person of Jesus.
We fall short of it, but as the redeemed we can reflect it. Jesus said we are to let our light shine in such a way as to give glory to God. Our thoughts, our behavior, and our speech bring glory to God when they reflect his character. In his exclamation of praise Paul says that God is glorified in the Church and in Christ throughout all generations. It is the redeeming work of Christ in the church that brings glory to God. Despite her flaws, her inadequacies, her failures and sin, it is the act of God in Christ which brings Him glory.
As the church we are to conform our behavior in such a way as to bring glory to God. But we will fail, and the world is ready to wag its finger to remind us that we are no different then they. In the same way the church devours its own when they stumble and fall, wagging their fingers in self righteous indignation.
God's glory, however, is demonstrated in our failure. The more we sin the more glory God receives through his grace and mercy. That isn't an excuse to sin more, but rather an expectation of hope. I strive to bring glory to His name in all that I do, but when I fail He extends forgiveness and His glory is magnified. That is how God's glory is perpetuated through every generation. The church is the object of his love, mercy, and grace through the sacrificial condemnation of sin in Christ Jesus. God's glory is the intersection where his love, mercy, and grace meet righteousness, justice, and wrath in the person of Jesus for the benefit of the church.
God's glory is not dependent on me. I am the recipient of His act of bringing glory to Himself. His glory is not diminished in my failure, but I am raised out of the mire because of it. Solo Deo Gloria! I'm just saying...
Eph. 3:21 "to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen."