To the Praise of His Glory 1/24/13
Recently as I studied for a message in the 1st chapter of Ephesians I was struck by a phrase that appears several times in the early verses. That phrase is “to the praise of His Glory.” Here at New Durham Chapel we recently adopted a new mission statement that reads “Making Disciples, Teaching God’s Word, Glorifying God.” It is through the avenues of making disciples by teaching and applying God’s Word in our service to Christ that we believe we can indeed glorify God. So that statement “to the praise of His glory” (NASB) in verse 12 and 14 caught my attention. What’s interesting is what the statement “to the praise of His glory” is connected to in each of these verses. If we are to truly strive to glorify God what insight can we gain from these verses to our own situation?
In verse 12 we read “to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.” Here the words “to the praise of His glory”, are connected to the statement of those who were the first to put their hope in Christ. In the 1st chapter of Ephesians we see Paul discussing the profoundly significant importance of the power of God in predestining us before the foundation of the world to bring about our salvation. In fact in verse 6 we read, “to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved” (NASB). There’s that phrase again and this time it’s connected to His Beloved, the Lord Jesus Christ. In verse 11 the word hope is very similar to the idea of faith. We have this inheritance, eternal life in Christ and all its blessings, as part of our identification in and with the Lord Jesus Christ. So I believe we can say from this verse that we “glorify God” when we put our hope and trust in Jesus Christ, not only for our salvation but for our everyday living and decision making.
In verse 14 we read “who is (that is the Holy Spirit) given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory”, (NASB). This time the statement “to the praise of His glory” is connected to the Holy Spirit who has been given to us as a pledge of our inheritance with our redemption in view. Remember there is no salvation apart from the Holy Spirit. Once again His work is to seal us as God’s own possession (see v.13). So in the passage we glorify God as we allow the Holy Spirit to direct our steps each and every day and each and every moment. We are to allow the Spirit to fill us for our service for Christ, therein is God glorified.
I think a third way that we glorify God is connected with the word “praise”. The word praise is connected with God’s glory in verses 6, 12, and 14. In the Greek language the word praise is associated with making noise. It means to applaud, bringing approval or praise. I think it is safe to suggest therefore that God is glorified when we lift up His name and His works in voices of praise and adoration. Our God is an awesome God who alone is worthy of our applause and adoration. These passages come to us in the midst of a violent collision of world views that is happening all around us in our culture today. But it’s important to remember that the church of Ephesus was at the center of a pagan culture that totally rejected the true and living God. So we too are to live as they lived in the midst of that culture “to the praise of God’s glory.”
For God’s Glory,
Pastor Rich Sivo