God is Most Glorified...When?
|Copyright © 2002 - All rights retained by author|
|Written by: C. W. Booth|
"God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him."
Dr. John Piper, author of Desiring God--Meditations of a Christian Hedonist, wrote this creed (page 50) and now uses it on some of his published material much as one would use a logo or a motto.
Having a logo or a motto is of no concern. But in recent years many pastors and churches have adopted this expression in much the same way a doctrinal creed is embraced. The problem? This creed is not biblical, it is not scriptural, it is not traditional, in fact, it is not even logical. It is nothing more than a newly invented precept of men. (Matthew 15:9, Mark 7:7)
God is Most Glorified…When?
When is God most glorified? You can search the Bible for a lifetime and not find the verse that states when God is most glorified. There are certainly many passages that provide statements that show that God is glorified by many things. But none are presented as the one thing that most glorifies Him.
There are actually three biblical concepts that are more plausible and more logical as candidates for when God is "most glorified", however, as this is just an exercise in conjecture, no provable answer is possible.
Concept One – Greatest Commandment Yields Greatest Glory
Christ told us that the "greatest commandment" is "to Love God" and the "second greatest commandment" is to "love your neighbors" (Mark 12:28-31). It might be quite logical to assume that God is most greatly glorified when we obey the greatest commandment.
For example, concerning glorifying God through loving our neighbors—the second greatest commandment, we know that if we do our daily activities in a manner that harms our brethren then we are unloving, and being unloving results in not giving glory to God. But if we eat and drink in a mannerism, in a mindset, that is considerate of our brethren’s religious convictions then we glorify God because we are showing love to the brethren.
"For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. Therefore, do not let what is a good thing for you be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking." (Romans 14:15-17a)
"Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks, or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved." (1 Corinthians 10:31-33.)
And just how does one obey the greatest commandment of all (which is to love God)?
So if the greatest command is to love God, and the fulfillment of that command is to obey God’s commandments, then one might logically conclude that God is most glorified when we love Him the most, in other words, by being most obedient to all His commandments.
Concept Two – God Most Glorifies Himself
Since there is no-one greater than God, logically speaking from the perspective of a human mind, God would be "most glorified" when He, as the greatest Being in Heaven or Earth, glorifies Himself (John 8:54, Deuteronomy 5:24, 2 Chronicles 5:15, Psalms 19:1).
Concept Three – God is Most Glorified When We Repent
We are taught in Luke 15:7 and 10 that there is joy in heaven when a sinner repents. And not just joy, "more joy" for the one sinner repenting at the cross of Christ than for the ninety-nine who do not need to repent.
"I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance."
"In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
If this joy in heaven also results in glory to God, is it reasonable to conclude that "more joy" results in "more glory"? And if that is reasonable, then might we conclude that God is more glorified by a single sinner as he submits to the act of repentance than the ninety-nine righteous Christians who are already "satisfied" in God?
Does this type of reasoning sound like silliness? It should, because it is. It is silliness to try to draw absolute conclusions about the mysteries of God when He has not given us the definitive answer in His word.
None of the three theories examined above are provable. Of course, neither is Dr. Piper’s assertion provable that a satisfied human is what glorifies God the most. To pick any one of these theories at random and build a creed or a motto around them is unbiblical and absurd. The idea that we can know what most glorifies God is a silly and contentious notion.
Trying to impose a belief that is both unbiblical and unprovable is what the Bible calls "speculation", the kind of speculation warned about in 2 Timothy 2:23 that can lead to quarrels because there can be no provable "correct answer". Worse, such speculation can lead to factions, divisiveness, and fighting over worthless words (1Timothy 6:4, Titus 3:9) if one insists on teaching such unbiblical things.
Since God has not revealed to us what most glorifies Him, there is only one way to genuinely know what really does glorify Him most: prophecy. However, since we are seemingly in a dry time, similar to the 500 years before Christ’s birth where God withheld prophecy from His people to prepare them for the next Earth-changing event, we cannot turn to our local prophet for the answer.
Note: there are some individuals who believe that the Holy Spirit does give prophetic utterances to contemporary living individuals, however, most supporters of this belief readily admit that the prophetic utterances are "partially mistaken" and not of the quality to be considered equal with scripture. Until we have prophets who are always correct, as required by Deuteronomy 18:22 and Deuteronomy 13:1-5, I will not accept a "new doctrine" or a "new creed" that adds anything to scripture (Deuteronomy 12:32, 4:2, Proverbs 20:6, 1Kings 8:56, Revelation 22:18,19).
So, if we cannot rely on current-day prophetic utterance to tell us what most glorifies God, and we cannot rely on guessing, all that is left is gnosticism. Gnosticism is the philosophy that says, "only God’s elite can understand the deepest things of God, and once a person has reached that lofty standing, he receives deeper insights into the mind of God than what is revealed in His word."
And so it is with attempting to prove that "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him". Many times have I been told by pastors and laymen alike that Dr. Piper is on such a higher plane of spiritual awareness and learning that he alone was able to pull this new doctrine from the mind of God. Simply stated, that is the nonsensical musings of the modern Gnostic.
The concept of "God is most glorified when" is extra-biblical. Trying to fill in that blank does not place one on a higher spiritual plane, it simply means that one is ignoring the Bible, unwilling to accept that God has not revealed His entire mind to the human race. There are mysteries that God has chosen to keep for Himself about Himself (Romans 11:34, 1Corinthians 2:16).
"God is most glorified when" is a phrase and a concept God has purposely chosen not to reveal to us in the pages of scripture. Dr. Piper’s expression is not only unbiblical and illogical, it is speculative and therefore dangerous. Used as a creed it becomes a "precept of men" which God hates (Hosea 5:11, Isaiah 29:13, Jeremiah 8:6-9, Matthew 15:9, Mark 7:7, Colossians 2:22, Titus 1:14). When taught to our impressionable children, as if it were somehow a quote from the Bible, we impose on our children the leaven of the Pharisees (Matthew 16:12) who Christ vehemently condemned because they taught "the precepts of men" as if they were also scripture (Matthew 15:9).
Some might ask, "Is this not, in reality, just a minor little issue, and not really worthy of our attention?" Any creed that creeps into the church and takes its place along side scripture, and is freely quoted in place of legitimate scripture, and is assumed to be as equally correct as a quote from scripture requires our attention. Consider such a false creed to be a tiny grain of leaven.
"…Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?" (1 Corinthians 5:6b)
Let us get the leaven out now, before it spoils the entire lump. How can we do that? Next time you hear someone quote this creed, just ask him to quote the Bible verse from which it came. Ask out loud, "Where does the Bible proclaim, 'God is most glorified when...'?"
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