Christianity 201

May 30, 2013

When we See the Hand of God at Work

The text for today is I John chapter 4.  Click this link to read the entire chapter.

I John 4:13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

Our direction to this passage came form Ray Ortlund’s blog where this appeared as How can we tell when God is really at work? (highlights added)

God At WorkIn The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God (1741), Jonathan Edwards pulled out of 1 John 4 the biblical indicators that God is at work, even if the people involved are complicating it with their own sins and eccentricities.  And we do complicate it.  In this life, the work of the gospel is never pure, always mixed.  But we do not need to be neutralized by analysis-paralysis.  The true gold of grace is discernible, within all the mess, in four ways:

One, when our esteem of Jesus is being raised, so that we prize him more highly than all this world, God is at work.

Two, when we are moving away from Satan’s interests, away from sin and worldly desires, God is at work.

Three, when we are believing, revering and devouring the Bible more and more, God is at work.

Four, and most importantly, when we love Jesus and one another more, delighting in him and in one another, God is at work.

Satan not only wouldn’t produce such things, he couldn’t produce them, so opposite are these from his nature and purposes.  These simple and obvious evidences of grace are sure signs that God is at work, even with the imperfections we inevitably introduce.

If we wait for perfection, we will wait until we are with the Lord.  True discernment keeps our eyes peeled for fraudulence but also unleashes us, and even requires us, to rejoice wherever we see the Lord at work right now.

Don’t turn away because of the non-gold; prize the gold.  Defend it.  Rejoice over it.  God is giving it.

Christianity 201 serves as a type of index to some of the best scripture-focused devotional and Bible study writing online. You are encouraged to not only click the links to read articles at source, but also to browse these other blogs to locate additional resources and/or subscribe to the writers who most resonate with you. C201 contains a wide variety of doctrinal content from the across the spectrum of Evangelical Christianity.


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August 13, 2010

What Does It Mean to Glorify God?

This post combines items from two different articles both put up on the same day — today — from a new blog* simply called Glorify.

…Jonathan Edwards persuaded me that glorifying God is God’s main purpose in creating the world and man’s chief purpose as well in his rigorous dissertation, The End for Which God Created the World. With a few brief examples of this theme in Scripture, I refer to Christ’s prayer to His Father before His death, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you…  I glorified you on earth…  And now Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory I had with you before the world existed,” (John 17:1,3,4-5).

Everything, even the most routine things in life, should be done to glorify God.  Paul says this applies to, eating, to drinking, or to whatever we do, (I Corinthians 10:31).  These actions should take in mind the love, the righteousness, the power, and the holiness of God…

If we are to glorify God, how should we understand the word glory?

Jonathan Edwards elaborates on the meaning of glory, and I take the following observations from his work, “The End for Which God Created the World.”  The word ‘glory’ in Hebrew comes from a root word meaning: to be heavy, to make heavy, or heavy.  The word for glory also means ‘gravity, heaviness, greatness, and abundance.’

The word is used in several different contexts in Scripture, including an 1) internal quality, 2) the display of that internal quality, as in a light, 3) the knowledge of God’s greatness, and 4) the quality eliciting praise.


  • Think of it as something of immense weight and abundance-“And Haman recounted to them the [glory] of his riches…” (Esther 5:11).
  • Think of it as light- “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” (II Corinthians 4:6).
  • Think of it as knowledge- “But truly, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD,” (Numbers 14:21).
  • Think of it as praise- “I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols,” (Isaiah 42:8).

For a more detailed treatment of this, please read: Edwards, Jonathan.  The End for Which God Created the World, Sect VI.

*I told some people at the beginning of the summer that I wanted to use Thinking Out Loud and Christianity 201 to encourage new bloggers, but this one is really new.   Not having a track record to follow is risky, but while I don’t know the person who posted this, I trust Jonathan Edwards’ writing!