August 2015

February 16, 2016

Thoughts From The Cottage

Dear Friends

Last month I wrote about the purpose of the church and my thoughts this month have turned to the purpose of man (and woman). Put another way what is the point of the human race? Is it simply to look after the world and produce the next generation of humans? In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians he says ‘do it all for the glory of God’ (1 Cor 10:31). This led, along with other verses from Old & New Testaments, to the first statement of the Westminster Shorter Catechism namely that ‘Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him for ever.’ The question is what does that really mean?

The first problem is the English language in that ‘glorify’ is now more commonly used to cause something to be or to seem more glorious, more wonderful and more excellent than it actually is. Of course we can’t do that for God for he is the epitome of glorious, wonderful, excellent and every other good attribute we can think of. It is absolutely impossible to make God more glorious, wonderful and excellent than he is, in fact we often do the reverse, ie make him less glorious, wonderful and excellent than he is. By doing so we limit him who by definition is limitless. So what does it mean to glorify God?

If we look at synonyms for glorify we find they include: give praise to, praise, extol, exalt, laud, worship, revere, reverence, venerate, pay homage/tribute to, honour, adore, thank, give thanks to, bless, magnify, ennoble, elevate, lift up, add dignity to, dignify, add lustre to, add distinction to, enhance, increase, augment, promote, boost, praise, sing/sound the praises of, celebrate, extol, laud, eulogize, hymn, lionize, acclaim, applaud, hail, glamorize, aggrandize, idealize, romanticize, put on a pedestal, enshrine, apotheosize, canonize, immortalize, big up, emblazon, panegyrize and heroize. That is some list!

The question we need to ask ourselves is twofold. Firstly do we agree that our main purpose is to glorify God? If the answer is yes then how do we do it? Logically the main purpose of any business is the overriding principle that governs every constituent part of that business. The main purpose of First Worcester buses is to transport the people of Worcestershire. That principle affects the services it runs, the vehicles they use, the staff they employ, the publicity they produce, the fares they charge, the street furniture they provide and so on. It all works together to achieve the main purpose.

The same is true of us, everything we do has to aid the achievement of our main purpose, namely to glorify God. The language we use and that which we don’t, the things we do and those we abstain from, the lifestyle we lead, the friendships we make and those we steer clear of, the thoughts we have, our dreams and aspirations all come together to enable us to truly glorify God. Of course we fail and make mistakes but God always forgives a penitent sinner. We confess our sin, he forgives us and helps us not to make the same mistakes again. We glorify God as we confess our sins and move on into an ever deepening relationship with him. But we must not forget that the purpose of glorifying God is to enjoy him for ever. What more can we ask than to enjoy God now and into eternity.