Kyle Guy, a former University of Virginia Cavalier, and NCAA National Champion, was selected 55th in the 2019 NBA Draft last week. He said in a tweet, “every last praise and all glory goes to God.” That’s a great sentiment that all Christians should share. But what is God’s glory and how do we give it to him? Let’s take a look!
The Problem and Solution
Lifeway Research did a study about what religious people pray about. Here is what they found, and keep in mind in this survey they could select all that apply, so they were not just picking one answer: They found that:
– 82% prayed for friends and family
– 74% their own problems and difficulties
– 54% good things that had recently occurred
– 42% their own sin
– 38% prayed for people in natural disasters
– and coming in 6th place with 37% (a little more than a third) prayed for God’s greatness
– this was right above the next one 36% prayed for their future prosperity.
What is so amazing to me is how low on the list is God’s greatness, his glory. The first 5 most prayed prayers had to do with God helping their needs, their desires, their problems. And God’s greatness ranked the same as the number of people who prayed for their own prosperity. This confirms what other studies have said, we have come to see God as a divine butler or Cosmic Therapist. One who is there to meet our needs and help us out and be there for us.
We live in a culture that says give it to me, I need it, I deserve it, I have to have it. And we do this with God. We expect God to be there to meet our needs and give us the things we want.
I dare say you would be hard to find an individual in here who has not heard of Oprah Winfrey. She is worth over 2 billion dollars and her talk show was the highest-rated television program of its kind in history. She has also been ranked by some as the most influential woman in the world.
Back 4 years ago she was being interviewed for a special she was promoting about spirituality in America. She talked about how she grew up in church and learned the Bible growing up. During the interview she was asked what her favorite Bible verse is. Winfrey responded with Psalm 37:4: “Delight thyself in the Lord. He will give you the desires of your heart.” She said that for her, the verse means focusing on virtues such as kindness and love to find happiness. “It says to me, if you focus on being a force for good, then goodness will come.” She has put her finger on the religious attitude of a growing number of Americans.
This is the mentality of many Christians, Be a good Christian and good things will happen to you. If you scratch God’s back he will scratch yours. It is a self serving Christian mindset. But I want to look at one verse that I had read and memorized my whole life but I missed a fundamental part of what this verse was saying and it points to what we should be about as Christians. This verse tells us our problem but it also tells us what we should be striving for.
Romans3:23 – “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
When I was studying for this lesson, I noticed something I had never seen before. I have known that we all sin, we all stray. I have always known the truth of the first part of this verse. I could quote it, but if you would have asked me what I fall short of I would have said God’s standard, God’s laws, God’s rules, God’s perfection. But the verse does not say that, even though that is what I thought it said. This verse tells us we fall short of God’s glory. This is a fundamental truth of the Christian faith.
A way to think about this is to ask the question, “Who did God die for, for us or himself?” We many times think, God died for me because he loves me. We act as if we got lost, it is not our fault and God owes us to come and get us out of this situation. It is a very “Me” centered view. But look at what this passage says:
Romans 3:23-26, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
We sinned and fall short of God’s glory. v. 25, Jesus was a propitiation for us, why, to show God’s righteousness. v. 26. He showed his righteousness so that he could be just and the justifier for those who have faith in Jesus. So when we look at this passage we see through the death of Jesus he gives us the ability to:
reflect his glory,
to show God’s righteousness
to display he was just
to prove he would be the justifier.
Pretty simple question: Who is the subject of this entire passage? IT IS GOD. It is all about God. Restoring his glory, his righteousness, his justice, his name. This is a game changer for so many of us. A while ago I was listening to some speakers at a teen event. All through the lessons, they kept talking about how Jesus died for us because we are loved and valuable and worthy of Jesus’ sacrifice. The people who listened to the speakers left feeling pretty good about themselves. It really helped us all to have a good self image. I mean, I left thinking, I’m a pretty good guy, I valuable, I’m lovable, I’m worthy, look at everything God has done for me.
While there might be a place for that, the event skewed our perception of the story of Scripture. I left thinking it was all about me. This Bible, God’s story, this whole redemption plan that the prophets spoke about for hundreds and hundreds of years, it was all about me because I’m worth it. But the main actor in Scripture is not me. The story is not about me. God’s redemptive plan is not all about me. It is about God and His glory.
part 2 Coming Next Week