Glory to God Alone
Glory to God Alone
“Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!” (Rev. 5:13)
In the Work that God does in order to edify a Church, there will always be a marking characteristic: every activity is for the glory of God, and particularly results in extolling of the make of the Lord Jesus.
“…and my glory I will not give to another…” (Isaiah 42:8), the Lord states in His Word. The Holy Scriptures teach that it pleases the Father to see the Son extolled. For this reason the Holy Spirit was sent to glorify the Son (John 16:14) and the Father gave Jesus “the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” God is, therefore, glorified when the Church submits to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
The apostles understood well the importance of this issue, for they never accepted glory from men. Peter in John at the Temple, when a lame man from his mother’s womb was healed, looked at the multitude that they responded to them who were amazed with the miracle and asked: “…why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?” And they immediately explained: “The God of Abraham…glorified his Servant Jesus…the faith that comes through Him has given him the perfect soundness in the presence of you all”. (Acts 3:13 and 16).
This should be the attitude of the servants of God. They cannot and should not announce their own name, nor accept the advertisement of their names as great characters of faith. They should, rather, point to Jesus (“Behold the Lamb of God”), showing in their behavior the same interior attitude of John the Baptist: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
The Lord does not allow the proclamation of names as “great servants of God” in His work – whether they are preachers, prophets, singers, or musicians – for, after we have done all that we were commanded, “we are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do” (Luke 17:10).
A biblical doctrine that, if practiced, contributes to avoid the exalting of men is the Church as the Body of Christ. In the Body, although there are several members, as each one of them has a role that is useful for the edification of the Body, the Lord uses every member. For this reason, if a member is very much used by the Lord, he is not in evidence, for the other members are equally much used by the Lord.
The same happens among the pastors of the Church. As the pastors are anointed with the Holy Spirit and are, therefore, used by the Lord – be it in preaching and in taking care of the flock, in operations of healings and signs – and as the Lord prospers all the local churches, and not only the church of a certain gifted pastor, there are no grounds for any pastor to exalt himself or to be exalted.
Another reason for not exalting the pastors that are very much used is that God’s Word teaches that all need the other members of the Church, for no pastor has all the ministries (apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and master). This biblical fact forces all the pastors to live in fellowship with one another, because in fellowship their churches will benefit by the other ministries. The pastors know that the edification of the church happens firstly through the operation of these five ministries (Eph. 4:11 and 12).
The Apostle Paul warns about this issue when he states that no one should think of himself “more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly…For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.”
The pastors know, furthermore, that vanity – even the vanity of being very much used by the Lord – is fatal for the spiritual life. In the Work of the Holy Spirit there is no place for “great and vain servants of God”. There is only room for “unprofitable servants.” And more: a vain pastor is a fallen pastor.
Finally, it is prudent to have the danger that exalting a servant of God represents always present. The more the servant is put in evidence – unduly accepting the glory that is due only to God – the more he presents himself as a preferred target for the attacks of the Enemy, even with temptation of vanity.
It is prudent, therefore, never to forget this basic principle of God’s Work: Soli Deo Gloria! (Glory only to God).