In John 17:4 the first clause of the verse is the words of Christ in that prayer for us all: "I have glorified thee on the earth." In the previous lesson we were brought to consider the purpose of God concerning man, even His eternal purpose and that that purpose is fulfilled before the whole universe in Jesus Christ in human flesh. The purpose of man's existence is to glorify God, and this has been shown before the universe in Jesus Christ, for God's eternal purpose concerning man was purposed in Christ and carried out in Christ for every man, since man sinned, and He says, "I have glorified thee on the earth."
This shows that the purpose of God in man's creation is that man shall glorify Him. And what we shall study this evening is how we should glorify God, how God is glorified in man, and what it is to glorify God.
When we study Christ and see what He did and what God did in Him, we shall know what it is to glorify God. And in Him we find what is the purpose of our creation, what is the purpose of our existence, and in fact, what is the purpose of the creation and the existence of every intelligent creature in the universe.
We have seen in preceding lessons that God alone was manifested in Christ in the world. Christ Himself was not manifested; He was kept back. He was emptied and became ourselves on the human side and then God, and God alone, was manifested in Him. Then what is it to glorify God? It is to be in the place where God and God alone shall be manifested in the individual. And that is the purpose of the creation and the existence of every angel and of every man.
To glorify God it is necessary for each one to be in the condition and in the position in which none but God shall be manifested, because that was the position of Jesus Christ. Therefore He said, "The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself" (John 14:10). "I came....not to do mine own will but the will of him that sent me" (John 6:38). "The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works" (John 14:10). "I can of mine own self do nothing" (John 5:30). "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him" (John 6:44). "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father, and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father" (John 14:9)? "He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory, but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true and no unrighteousness is in him" (John 7:18).
Therefore He said, "The words that I speak....I speak not of myself," because as in the other verse, he that speaks of himself, that is, from himself, seeks his own glory. But Christ was not seeking His own glory. He was seeking the glory of Him that sent Him; therefore He said, "The words that I speak....I speak not of myself." In so doing, He sought the glory of Him that sent Him, and there stands the record that "he is true, and there is no unrighteousness in him." He was so entirely emptied of Himself, so entirely was He from being manifested in any way, that no influence went forth from Him except the influence of the Father. This was so to such an extent that no man could come to Him except the Father drew that man to Him. That shows how completely He Himself was kept in the background, how completely He was emptied. It was done so thoroughly that no man could come to Him--that no man could feel any influence from Him or be drawn to Him, except from the Father Himself. The manifestation of the Father--that could draw any man to Christ.
That simply illustrates the one grand fact that we are studying just now--what it is to glorify God. It is to be so entirely emptied of self that nothing but God shall be manifested and no influence go forth from the individual but the influence of God--so emptied that everything, every word--all that is manifested--will be only of God and will tell only of the Father.
"I have glorified thee on the earth." When He was upon the earth, He was in our human, sinful flesh, and when He emptied Himself and kept Himself back, the Father so dwelt in Him and manifested Himself there, that all the works of the flesh were quenched, and the overshadowing glory of God, the character of God, the goodness of God, were manifested instead of anything of the human.
This is the same as we had in a previous lesson, that God manifest in the flesh, God manifest in sinful flesh, is the mystery of God--not God manifested in sinless flesh. That is to say, God will so dwell in our sinful flesh today that although that flesh be sinful, its sinfulness will not be felt or realized, nor cast any influence upon others, that God will so dwell yet in sinful flesh that in spite of all the sinfulness of sinful flesh, his influence, his glory, his righteousness, his character, shall be manifested wherever that person goes.
This was precisely the case with Jesus in the flesh. And so God has demonstrated to us all how we should glorify God. He has demonstrated to the universe how the universe is to glorify God--that is, that God and God alone shall be manifested in every intelligence in the universe. That was the intent of God from the beginning. That was His purpose, His eternal purpose, which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We might read it now. We shall have occasion to refer to it afterward. We will read the text that tells it all in a word. Eph. 1:9, 10, "Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself." What is that will which He hath purposed in Himself? He, being the eternal God, purposing this purpose in Himself, it being His own purpose--it is the same that is spoken of in another place as His "eternal purpose." What is God's eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus the Lord? Here it is: "That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth."
Look that over now, and think that God "might gather together in one all things in Christ." Who is the "one" into whom God gathers all things in Christ? That "one" is God. Who was in Christ? "God was in Christ." Nobody was manifested there but God. God dwelt in Christ. Now in Christ He is gathering "together in one all things," "both which are in heaven and which are on earth." Therefore His purpose in the dispensation of the fullness of times is to gather together in Himself all things in Christ. Through Christ, by Christ, and in Christ, all things in heaven and earth are gathered together in the one God, so that God alone will be manifested throughout the whole universe, that when the dispensation of times is completed and God's eternal purpose stands before the universe completed, wherever you look, upon whomsoever you look, you will see God reflected. You will see the image of God reflected. And God will be "all in all." That is what we see in Jesus Christ. 2 Cor. 4:6:
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness hath shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
We look into the face of Jesus Christ. What do we see? We see God. We see the Father. We do not see Christ reflected in the face of Jesus Christ. He emptied Himself, that God might be reflected, that God might shine forth to man, who could not bear His presence in His human flesh. Jesus Christ took man's flesh, which as a veil so modified the bright beams of the glory of God that we might look and live. We cannot look upon the unveiled face of God, not as much as the children of Israel might look upon the face of Moses. Therefore Jesus gathers in Himself man's flesh and veils the bright, consuming glory of the Father, so that we, looking into His
Away back yonder there was one who was so bright and glorious by the glory of the Lord that he began to give himself credit for that and he proposed to shine of himself. He proposed to glorify himself. He proposed to reflect light from himself. But he has not shined any since with any real light. All has been darkness since. That is the origin of darkness in the universe. And the results that have come from that, from the beginning until the last result that shall ever come from it, are simply the results of that one effort to manifest self, to let self shine, to glorify self. And the end of that is that it all perishes and comes to naught.
To glorify self is to come to naught, is to cease to be. To glorify God is to continue eternally. What He makes people for is to glorify Him. The one who glorifies Him cannot help but exist to all eternity. God wants such beings as that in the universe. The question for every man is indeed, "To be, or not to be; that is the question." Shall we choose to be and to be a means of glorifying God to all eternity? or shall we choose to glorify self for a little season and that only in darkness and then go out in everlasting darkness? O, in view of what God has done, it is not hard to decide which way to chose, is it? It is not hard to decide. Then shall it not be our choice now and forever to choose only God's way? to choose to glorify Him and Him alone?
Now another word as to what that takes. Here is a passage in John 12:23:
Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.Then, again, twenty-seventh verse:
Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? but for this cause came I unto this hour.
What then did He say? "Father, glorify thy name." There He was, standing in the shadow of Gethsemane. He knew the hour was coming and He knew what it meant. Here was this trouble pressing upon His divine soul and drawing from Him, "What shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? but for this cause came I unto this hour." The only thing, then, there was to say, as He came to that hour for that purpose, the only thing He could say was, "Father, glorify thy name." After that came Gethsemane and the cross and death. But in this surrender, "Father, glorify thy name," there was taken the step that gave Him victory in Gethsemane and on the cross and over death.
There was His victory and you and I shall come to that place many a time. We have been in that place already--where there comes a time when upon me there may be this demand made. That experience has to be passed through and looking at it as it stands and as we see it, we shall be tempted to say, "Oh, is it necessary that that shall be borne? Is it not more than even God requires of man to bear?" "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour?" Who brought you to that hour? Who brought you face to face with that difficulty? How did you get there? The Father is dealing with us; He brought us there. Then when under His hand, we are brought to the point at which it seems as though it would take the very soul out of a man to bear it, what shall we say? Father save me from this hour? Why, for this cause I am come to this hour. He brought me there for a purpose. I may not know what the experience is that He has for me beyond that; I may not know what is the divine purpose in that trial, but one thing I know. I have chosen to glorify God. I have chosen that God, instead of myself, shall be glorified in me, that His way shall be found in me instead of my way. Therefore we cannot say, Father, save me from this hour. The only thing to do is to bow in submission; the only word to say is Father, glorify thy name. Gethsemane may follow immediately. The cross will certainly follow, but it is victory in that Gethsemane. It is victory upon that cross and over all that may come.
This is certainly true, for God does not leave us without the word. Read right on now. What shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.
That word is for you and for me in every trial, because "the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them." It belongs to us. He will see that it is reflected upon us and through us that men shall know that God is still manifest in the flesh. What, then, shall be our choice? Let it be settled once and forever. It is, To be, or not to be? Which shall we choose? To be? But to be, means to glorify God. The sole purpose of existence in the universe is to glorify God. Therefore, the choice to be is the choice to glorify God and the choice to glorify God is the choice that self shall be emptied and lost and God alone shall appear and be seen.
Then when all is done the fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians gives the grand consummation. Twenty-fourth to the twenty-eighth verses:
Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power. For he must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, All things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
All in how many? He will be all in me; He will be all in you; He will be all in everybody through Jesus Christ. There we see the plan completed. It is that the whole universe and everything in it shall reflect God.
That is the privilege that God has set before every human being. It is the privilege which He has set before every creature in the universe. Lucifer and multitudes of them who went with him, refused it. Men refused it. What shall you and I do? Shall we accept the privilege?