Christians Urged to Glorify God.
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's. - 1 Corinthians vi:20.
God is the Creator of all things, and is, on this account, the Proprietor of the universe. As supreme monarch, he sits on the throne of his majesty, employing himself in the regulation of the affairs of his vast empire. All his creatures owe their allegiance to him. Angels and men are subjects of his government. They are accountable agents; for they are endowed with rationality, and the possession of rational powers lays the basis of moral accountability. The obligations of creatures to the Creator arise from the relation they sustain to him. This is the origin of the obligation, but it may be increased by what the Creator does subsequently to creation. Providential blessings enhance it. Angels are constantly sustained by divine power and goodness, and hence their obligations are becoming stronger and stronger. This is also true of men. But there are blessings bestowed on men in which angels have no personal concern - I mean the blessings of redemption. These blessings immeasurably augment human obligation. The
rich provisions of redeeming mercy are amply sufficient for the world, but Christians alone personally participate in these provisions. Christians are referred to in the text. Let us notice the fact that,
I. THEY ARE BOUGHT WITH A PRICE.
The word rendered "bought," means to redeem. There is doubtless an allusion to the custom of purchasing slaves and captives of war. Those who purchased paid a price satisfactory to the seller, and from the period of the transaction considered the persons purchased as their own. Believers are represented in the text as bought - bought with price. We are not to suppose that there is in all respects an analogy between the atonement of Christ and a pecuniary transaction. Some, by taking this view of the subject, degrade the whole matter. I do not deny that there are passages of Scripture which refer to the atonement in its commercial aspects, but there are, as it seems to me, many more which refer to it in its moral aspects. The obedience and death of Christ maintained the dignity of God's violated law, and rendered satisfaction to its demands. Thus, an honorable basis was furnished for the exercise of pardoning mercy. Thus, provision was made for a consistent remission of the penalty of the law, so far as believers are concerned: for "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."
But from what are we redeemed?
1. From the bondage of sin. - We are, in our unregenerate state, slaves of sin. There is no other slavery so disgraceful. "Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin." How is spiritual emancipation to be effected? "If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." It is freedom worthy of the name. In the application of redemption to the soul, there is always deliverance from the bondage of sin, etc.
2. From the tyranny of Satan. - The strong man armed keeps his palace, and his goods are at peace, till the stronger man conies upon him, takes from him all his armor wherein he trusted, and divides the spoil. Satan is the strong man, and Jesus Christ the stronger man. Satanic power yields to the omnipotence of the Redeemer, and the captive is "translated out of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son," etc.
3. From the penalty of the law. - The mere fact that Jesus died, delivers no one from the condemnation of the law. His atonement provides for the deliverance, but there is no deliverance in fact, till with the heart man believeth unto righteousness. Redemption actually delivers from the curse of the law, and is not to be confounded with atonement, though it certainly results from it. The law lays nothing to the charge of the redeemed soul. Its thunders of condemnation are hushed. It utters no protest against the redemption of a sinner through the blood of the cross. The ransomed of the Lord are redeemed from the penalty of the law, etc.
Another question arises. To whom are they redeemed? To God. "Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood," is the language addressed by the saints in heaven to their Great Deliverer. Redemption to God implies three things:
1. Justification before God, etc.
2. Fellowship with God, etc.
3. Glorification in the presence of God, etc.
Yes, the redeemed who are justified now, and "dwell in God and he in them," will ultimately be glorified in his presence on high. Then redemption will be complete.
Christians are bought with a price. What a price! "Not with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." The foundation of redemption was laid in his death. His heart's blood was shed most freely that sinners might be redeemed.
II. THE DUTY OF THE REDEEMED TO GLORIFY GOD.
This duty, as urged in the text, arises from the fact that they have been bought with a price. "Ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God." Here we have the fact of redemption and the duty consequent upon that fact. Having considered the fact, let us contemplate the glorify God. To glorify God is to honor him. We glorify him when we so live as to make him appear glorious to others. When do children honor their parents? When they reverence and
obey them; for this makes others think favorably of their parents. We glorify God when we supremely love and faithfully serve him, thus showing that we regard him as infinitely worthy of our love and service. This tends to create within the minds of our fellow-beings exalted views of God. It is to be remembered, however, that God's essential glory is alike incapable of increase or diminution. This results from the fact that he is God, from the absolute perfection of his character. The declarative glory of God may be promoted. It is susceptible, we know not to what degrees, of augmentation. To the utmost extent of our ability God is to be declaratively glorified by us. And this we are to do, as the text teaches, in our complete persons, in spirit and body. What is it to glorify God in spirit? How do we honor him thus?
1. By cordially believing what he has said, etc.
2. By enthroning him in the affections of the heart, etc.
3. By devout and frequent thoughts of him, etc.
4. By purity of motive in all we do, etc.
By these methods, and others, on which I shall not enlarge, we may glorify God in spirit. The more diligently we cultivate the piety of the heart, the more do we glorify God in spirit. To glorify God in spirit comprehends the internal part of religion, as glorifying him in body embraces its external aspects.
How do we glorify God in body? A general answer is, By yielding our members as instruments
of righteousness to God, as we are taught in Romans vi:13-19. But to be more specific.
1. The hands. - It may be that before your conversion your hands were employed to no useful purpose. You may have been almost a nuisance to society because of your habits of indolence; or your hands may have committed deeds of violence - may have thrown the hazardous card - may have raised the intoxicating cup to your lips, etc. Employ them differently now. Make them instruments of service to yourselves and others. So use them that God may be glorified through what you perform by means of your hands.
2. The feet. - Perhaps they once carried you to places of vice. These places are sadly numerous. Did you ever permit your feet to carry you to the brilliant party, the fascinating theater, the vulgar circus, etc., etc.? Never permit them to carry you thither again, but walk to the house of God - go to the chamber of the sick and dying - visit the poor and needy - walk in the paths of righteousness.
3. The tongue. - It may be you were once guilty of evil speaking, foolish jesting, etc. Perhaps when excited you spoke wrathful, diabolical things. Perhaps those who were superior to you were envied and slandered by you that you might bring them down upon a level with yourself. It may be that you sometimes made insinuations, often more mischievous than positive charges, because they can not be met. It may be
the declaration of Scripture, "The tongue is an unruly member," was exemplified in you. I entreat you use your tongues differently now. The tongue is the "glory" of man's physical frame. (See Psalm xxx:12.) Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth. Speak evil of no man. Use your tongues in praising God, - in talking of the great salvation - in recommending your religion to others, etc.
4. The eyes. - Perhaps they once fixed their gaze on the vanities and trifles of the world. You may have looked at the latest fashions even when you were in the house of God. Probably you once made your eyes follow, page after page of the corrupting novel, by the light of the midnight lamp. It may be the same eyes once looked on obscene pictures, etc. Pray now with David, "Turn my eyes away from beholding vanity." To some, it may with propriety be said, "Look not upon wine when it is red, when it giveth its color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder." See to it that you use your eyes properly, making them the means of glorifying God.
5. The ears. - It may be that you once listened to the profane and the vulgar. Evil communications may once have corrupted good manners. Listen now to nothing, the influence of which will be contaminating. Go from the presence of the blasphemer. Turn from all who would tempt you to sin. Hear that which will do your soul
good. Hearken to the cries of the widow and the fatherless, and relieve their wants. Thus glorify God in body by a proper use of the members of the body.
1. Think often, Christians, of the price with which you were bought. You were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ. The wealth of empires is as nothing compared with that blood. What sublime sacredness attaches to obligations on which redeeming blood makes its impress!
2. Finally, resolve to glorify God in your complete persons. You are his. Your souls and your bodies belong to him. Let there be a constant, practical recognition of your obligations. Let your lives be so spent that when the shades of death gather round you, you may reverently look up to your Father in heaven, adopting as your own the words of your Redeemer: "I have glorified thee on the earth; I have finished the work thou didst give me to do."
[From J. M. Pendleton, Short Sermons on Important Subjects, 1859. This book is from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Library, Wake Forest, NC; via ILL through Boone County Public Library, Burlington, KY.]
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