Glorifying God by Enjoying Him Forever
Chapter 2 contains the thesis of this book: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him“. Today we are considering the second part of this chapter (pages 15-21), which delves further into the idea that we really are to seek maximum pleasure and our greatest joy; and not settle for anything less.
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Put most succinctly, at the heart of this chapter, we glorify God by enjoying Him forever. To diminish either side of the equation diminishes God: we dare not weaken our glorification of God (as though he were not worthy), and we dare not weaken our pursuit of joy in him– such that we settle for anything less than God (and so set up an idol in his place). Hence, God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.
The apostle Paul, writing to the Philippians from jail and experiencing many trials, seems to have the principle of Christian Hedonism in mind– although he uses different language to express it. He writes:
15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.Philippians 1:15-21
As we reflect on Paul’s situation in jail, and his statement of intent in these verses, it is clear that he wants Christ to be glorified in his ‘body’, ie, whether he lives or dies, whether he is set free from jail or executed. Now Paul sees the possibility of his death as ‘gain’ because he will depart to be with Christ. Christ will be a satisfaction so deep that when death takes away everything else Paul loves— but gives him more of Christ— he counts it gain. So also, when we are satisfied with Christ in dying, he is glorified in our dying.
The same is true in ‘life’. When we experience Christ as our all-surpassing treasure here and now, we bring him glory– “For to me, to live is Christ.” And so Piper concludes the chapter:
“The common denominator between living and dying is that Christ is the all-satisfying treasure that we embrace whether we live or die. Christ is praised by being prized. He is magnified as a glorious treasure when He becomes our unrivaled pleasure. So if we are going to praise Him and magnify Him, we dare not be indifferent as to whether we prize Him and find pleasure in Him. If Christ’s honour is our passion, the pursuit of pleasure in Him is our duty.”John Piper, The Dangerous Duty of Delight, p21.
How might you enrich your passion for Jesus Christ’s honour? What nurtures your pleasure in him?
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