Glorify and enjoy God forever
‘Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.’
John 17:3-4 (NIVUK)
The Westminster Shorter Catechism begins with the question, ‘What is the chief end of man?’ In other words, what is the main purpose of humanity? It gives the answer: ‘Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.’
The Catechism points out that Christians are called to be both glorifiers and enjoyers of God.
Jesus Christ is the radiance of God’s glory (Hebrews 1:3) and in his thoughts, prayers, speech, actions, and work Jesus brought glory to God. Therefore, on the eve of his death Jesus was able to say to the Father: ‘I have brought you glory on earth…’ (John 17:4). Christians are called to bring glory to God in every aspect of our lives. It is a life of faith, a life of believing and being in Christ and following his example through the power of the Holy Spirit. As the apostle Paul wrote, ‘…whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.’ (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Sometimes, following Jesus has been portrayed as a joyless, legalistic burden imposed by a stern Father. However, as the Catechism rightly points out, we were created to enjoy God forever. As the opening scripture states, eternal life is defined as knowing or having an eternal relationship with the Father and Jesus Christ.
We are called to a deep relationship with God, who is love. It begins in this life and is further enhanced after death (1 Corinthians 13: 9-10). Enjoyment of God includes the benefits that accrue from salvation by God’s grace: the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, empowerment for daily living, the forgiveness of sins, personal meaning, and eternal life.
Of course, we are still subject to the trials and tribulations of this life, but the good news is that when we are heavy laden, we can find rest in Jesus (Matthew 11:28-29).
The blessings and enjoyment God gives us are not simply for our benefit but are by extension for the benefit of all people and for the wider purpose of bringing glory to God, as the Psalmist stated in the prayer given below (Psalms 67:1-2):
‘May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us – so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.’ In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Study by Eddie Marsh
About the writer:
Eddie Marsh attends the Sheffield congregation
of Grace Communion International.
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