Thine Be The Glory
All that God does is because of who He is. God, in every deed, is revealing something about Himself. As we come somewhere towards a close on this series of Bearing Fruit we consider, again, the rich Soil Work of God as we explore the final word in the line-up. The reason God does all that He does is for His glory. The reason He wants all that we do to come from His strength by His grace is for His glory.
Fruit > Hope > Faith > Grace > Glory
The word 'glory' carries the idea of heaviness/weightiness and therefore, at a metaphorical level, it means honour, reputation, splendour, significance, power, abundance, dignity and wealth. God's glory is seen in many ways. Ultimately it refers to the "weightiness" of God's character and attributes.
To help us understand the two words we'll give an admittedly over-simplified definition; God's attributes speak into what God is and God's character speaks into who God is.
God, in numerous ways, reveals His attributes. We'll give a few examples:
Although God is everywhere present, when He is present somewhere in a "weightier way" it is referred to as His glory. This is a visible manifestation of the weight of His power and usually leaves those who see it stepping back in fear (Exodus 19v16, 20v18).In Exodus 24v17, for example, God's glory is described as a devouring fire on the top of Mount Sinai.
Everything around and above us declares His glory (Psalm 19v1). According to Jeremiah 10v12 creation reveals God's power and wisdom. Romans 1v20 explains that it demonstrates His divine being and eternal power.
The resurrection of Christ demonstrated the power of God over the enemy of death. It demonstrated the wisdom of God as He used weakness to destroy the power and enslavement of Satan.
God, in numerous ways, reveals His character. We'll give a few examples:
By making, binding Himself to and then keeping the promises He made to an undeserving people, God demonstrates that He is a faithful, patient, merciful and gracious God.
By being willing to stoop down to take on human flesh Christ demonstrated the humility of God. As He walked this earth, teaching the crowds, healing the sick and accepting the outcasts, He demonstrated the compassion of God.
God's ultimate demonstration of His character was revealed in the death of Jesus Christ on behalf of His unworthy, rebellious creatures. The crucifixion of Christ demonstrated both the deep love of God and His holy and just wrath. The act of Christ bringing us back to God as a free gift of grace, at such personal cost, will be the great theme of praise deep into eternity (Ephesians 2v7, Revelation 5v9-14).
Jesus explains in John 15v8 that God is glorified when His people are fruitful. Paul prays in Philippians 1v11 that God would be glorified by the fruitfulness of the believers at Philippi. In 2 Thessalonians 1v11-12 he prays that God would powerfully work in the believers so that they would live a life that brings Jesus glory.
Now think about it; God gets glory in our creation, because He is the One that created us. God get's glory in our salvation, because He is the One that saved us. In fact, one of the reasons salvation cannot be of us, is so that we cannot boast that we merited God's favour through our own works (Romans 3v27, Ephesians 2v9, 1 Corinthians 1v27-31). So how does God get glory when His people are fruitful? It's simple, right? Because God is the One working all of this in us (both the desire and the strength according to Philippians 2v13).
God could hardly take credit for creating us if He didn't. But He did, so He can. God could hardly take credit for saving us if He didn't. But He did, so He can. God can hardly take credit for the fruit we bear if it isn't of Him. But it is, so He can. Our creation, salvation and fruit bearing is not of ourselves, it is His work in us - for His own glory.
Believers Glorifying God for Your Fruit
In 2 Corinthians 8-9, as Paul reminds and encourages the Corinthians, by grace, to help their brothers and sisters suffering famine in Judea, he finishes by explaining to them that one of the outcomes of their giving will be God receiving glory from the thankful hearts of the churches in Judea for the exceeding grace of generosity He worked into the hearts of the Corinthians (9v12-14). God had and would graciously provide for the Corinthians and had and would work His gracious character into them (8v1, 6-8, 19, 9v8, 11). They were now called to work that out of by giving. All of this would lead to God being glorified.
Unbelievers Glorifying God for Your Fruit
Matthew 5v16 and 1 Peter 2v12 both speak about unsaved men and women glorifying God as they see the lives Christians live. By grace we can now serve our brothers and sisters, serve the community around us, forgive and love those who would mock or harm us for our faith and walk in honesty, purity and integrity. Unbelievers will see the difference and know that this isn't 'normal'; this is something different - this is a work of God. They will see the powerful transforming work of God in us and they will see His character working itself out into our lives.
The Circle of Glory
The fact that God does everything He does for His glory and that our fruit bearing brings Him glory brings the whole thing full circle:
God demonstrates the five graces we considered in the last article because He is demonstrating who He is - He is revealing His glory; the weight of His character and attributes. Again, then, God does the Soil Work of Glory and Grace.
We do the Root Work of resting our Faith and our Hope into the Grace and Glory of our God. Our primary and priority focus must be God. Before we ever consider what we ought to do, it is imperative that we first consider who God is and what He does. It is essential that our devotions, studies, meditation and everything else we do hones in on the person and work of God before it ever even begins to consider our service and obedience. The first step of freedom from legalism, barrenness, guilt based, pressure based service is to get the focus off of ourselves, off of others and on to the Glory and Grace of our Father and Saviour.
As we do this, God will be working His Fruit Work into us and we will be able to work that out into our lives and bear the Fruit He is producing in and through our lives. And He will get all the Glory for it. It begins with His glory and it ends with His glory.
We close the circle like this: Glory > Fruit > Hope > Faith > Grace > Glory
God gets Glory when His people bear the Fruit that He is producing in them as they root their Hope by Faith into the Grace He has shown them for His Glory.
Fruit Work - God's Work
Fruit - The Five God Pleasing Fruits
Root Work - Our Work in Partnership with God
Hope - rooting our confidence in Christ by faith
Faith - trusting God and responding to His Word
Soil Work - God's Work
Grace - God's unmerited favour abundantly at work in our lives
Glory - God displaying His Character and Attributes
Bearing Fruit Series:
Up the Apples and Pears (Christian Fruit, article 1)
Pulling a Martha 1 (Busy but Fruitless, article 2)
Pulling a Martha 2 (Responding to Christ's Love, article 3)
Not Needed, Loved (A True Perspective of Service, article 4)
Wild Grapes and Empty Fig Trees (What our Flesh Produces, article 5)
Plastic Fruit and Bushy Branches (Legalism, Hypocrisy, Pride and Judgement, article 6)
The New and True Vine (Jesus, the only God-pleasing, fruitful human, article 7)
My Hope is Built on Nothingness (How to Abide 1, article 8)
Don't Stop Believing (How to Abide 2, article 9)
Amazing Grace (The Beginning, Middle and End of the Christian Life, article 10)
Thine be the Glory (Why God Does what He Does, article 11)
How to Root (Some Practical Suggestions for Root Work, article 12)
Suffering and Fruit (The Connection Between Suffering and Fruit Bearing, article 13)
Alan Campbell is from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He came to Christ as a young adult and trained for ministry at Bethesda Free Church, Sunderland. Alan ministered in Bethesda as the Associate Pastor until 2019 and now ministers at Union Chapel, Bath. From time to time he teaches at North Cotes (NTM/Ethnos 360) College and The Theological College of North Staffordshire. Alan travels across the UK, Ireland, Europe and the States speaking at universities and equipping churches and campus ministries to share the gospel in a post-modern context. He is passionate about helping the believer to root their identity more and more into the person and work of Jesus Christ. Alan is married to Victoria.