Who is usually glorified in your actions? Let’s say at work, do you work to glorify yourself, or to glorify your boss, team, or company? Here’s a question: if you do something that benefits your company, and you’re glorified, how then does that affect your witness as a Christian (assuming you are one)? Romans 3:1-8 explains some arguments that were brought up at the time, and which I’ve actually seen asked today. Paul starts off by asking a common one at the time: “What’s the advantage of being a Jew? Is there any value in the ceremony of circumcision? Yes, there are great benefits! First of all, the Jews were entrusted with the whole revelation of God. True, some of them were unfaithful; but just because they were unfaithful, does that mean God will be unfaithful? Of course not! Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true. As the Scriptures say about him, “You will be proved right in what you say, and you will win your case in court.”
“But,” some might say, “our sinfulness serves a good purpose, for it helps people see how righteous God is. Isn’t it unfair, then, for him to punish us?” (This is merely a human point of view.) Of course not! If God were not entirely fair, how would he be qualified to judge the world? “But,” someone might still argue, “how can God condemn me as a sinner if my dishonesty highlights his truthfulness and brings him more glory?” And some people even slander us by claiming that we say, “The more we sin, the better it is!” Those who say such things deserve to be condemned.”
What crazy questions and suggestions, huh? According to Paul, people were actually saying or suggesting these things! Man, it’s like a child saying that if he disobeys and looks bad, then the goodness of his dad will be revealed to others, thus bringing glory to his dad. So why then would the child be punished, seriously? The child would be punished because he disobeyed his father. A disobedient child doesn’t bring glory to the father, he brings shame and embarrassment. For example, remember the last screaming kid you saw in a store? What were some first thoughts that came to your mind?
- “Spoiled kid!”
- “What terrible parents!”
- “If that was MY kid, I’d…”
- “Why don’t they do something?”
Are any of these thoughts bringing glory to the parents? Definitely not! Instead, the kid’s bad behaviors are being reflected onto the parents, making them look like bad parents. So then, if God’s people misbehave (disobey, sin), what then do you suppose we’re doing to God’s image in the eyes of others? A good parent would discipline the kid immediately. In fact, kids of a good parent would be well-behaved, and thus THEN bring honor to their father (of course, there are some who would disagree with disciplining the child, but in the same way, many will also judge God for His ways of doing things).
Now, granted, Paul’s talking at the moment about the Jews. But one of the most common arguments (and oldest arguments) that I continue to hear and read about is that Christians don’t do a good job of representing God/Jesus (it’s like the Jews are no longer expected to represent God or something). For example, God is all holy, but many of His people/children (Christians) portray themselves as:
- unable to get along with each other
- Being against non-Christians
- Sexually immoral
- Stay in their cliques
- People who like to argue
…in other words, no different from everybody else.
You know, I’ll get behind state troopers and city police vehicles all the time who don’t use their turn signals, roll through stop signs, practice improper lane usage, are using their cellphones while driving in Chicago, or whose headlights or tail lights are burnt out. Isn’t it interesting how they can get away with this, but if we were guilty of the same, they can pull us over and give us a ticket? What sort of image does this give our traffic authorities? Or, I’ll get cut off by somebody with one of those signs on their cars that says “Caution, Child on Board.” Really, are they on board now? Because by the way you’re driving…
Who’s being glorified by all this sinning? Not God…
- The police who are never around when people break the laws?
- The police department for not putting a phone number on the back of their cars to report how they’re driving?
That sounds more to me like blame, not glory.
Jesus once said though that when we (Christians) do something that represents Him, that even non-believers will give praises to God for our behaviors and actions. Our DIS-obedience, however, is not what glorifies God. It’s our obedience that brings glory to God, our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your Name! Let your name be glorified by all we are, say and do!
Just as with the Jews, Christians are also entrusted with the Word of God. If we’re unfaithful, God continues to be faithful, for otherwise, how could He judge? Can a sinful judge righteously judge? Let every human being and all creation continue to sin against God. But God will remain faithful to His promise, for God is Holy and there is none like Him.
There was a time in my life, in college, when I did not have Jesus as my Lord and friend. I was all broken and numb inside due to a bad breakup with a previous girlfriend, and so had no respect for others in committed relationships. So anyway, there was this girl who was part of our group of friends who was in a committed relationship. I still tried to persuade her to sway, but she wouldn’t budge (good girl!). I remember asking her once, “Well, what if it turns out or you find out later that your boyfriend cheated on you?” My hopes were to knock down her faith in the relationship and her trust in his faithfulness. But instead, she replied, “Then at least I could say that I was faithful.”
If God’s people…WHEN God’s people are unfaithful towards Him, God remains faithful to us, because if He didn’t, or if He allowed Himself to be swayed, then His judgment would not, could not, be just. But God remains faithful even towards the unfaithful “so that (He) may be proved right when (He) speaks and prevail when (He) judges.”
But again, God’s not glorified in judging sinners. He’s glorified in the righteous who obey His commandments…His Word, which we, His People, have been entrusted with! When somebody gives you something of special value, do you throw it to the ground and trample on it? No, of course not! You take special care of it. How much more, then, should we respect God’s Word?