Thursday, May 5, 2011

Glory Rendering, Mother's Day, and Redemption


Clamflats asked the following question, which I have edited slightly to make it more coherent out of context (but let me know if I changed the meaning, clamflats). And I wrote most of it before Dan answered the question, so hopefully you don't mind, Dan. 
The idea that the motive of the crucifixion is glory-rendering makes it seem that we humans are bit players in some divine grand opera. Why would God require glory and why would corporal punishment be necessary? At least with the word "appease," we are following a ceremonial sacrifice script which is recognized cross-culturally. 
A couple of hours ago I changed my Facebook profile picture to the above photo with my mother who passed away at sixty-two. My sister Elisabeth was the first to comment, saying: "What a GREAT photo Anette!!! She is missed every day, and was the best MOM ever! Thank you for posting this and Happy Mothers Day to another great mom!" I replied by agreeing with my sister about what she said about our mom, wishing Elisabeth a Happy Mother's Day, and returning the praise.

Now, you would presumably never ask, "Why is Mother's Day necessary? Do mothers raise children so they can be praised by them?" Of course parents don't raise and make sacrifices for their children in order to receive praise, but it still right to praise our parents for what they have done for us. And it makes parents very happy to receive heartfelt praise from their children.

But it is also right for children to honor and respect their parents just because they are they are their parents, just as it is right to honor and respect the President whether or not we voted for him.

So the answer to the question of why God would "require glory" is that it is right to give Him glory because of who He is and also because He deserves it. Jesus deserves glory because although He was equal to God, He emptied Himself and became a mere human, willing to take our sins upon Himself and die on a cross between two criminals on our behalf. "For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:9-11). God the Father deserves glory because He "so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

Although, as I will discuss later, the primary purpose of the crucifixion was not glory-rendering between the Father and the Son, God still deserves glory for doing that for us, in order to bring "many sons to glory" (Hebrews 2:9-10). And that is the other part of this glory-rendering business--that at the coming of Christ, God will glorify the church, the Bride of Christ. That is, if we belong to Christ and allow ourselves to be made like Him in this life, we will share in His glory. Christ made that possible through the cross.

So the Son glorifies the Father and the Father glorifies the Son, in the same way that I would praise my mother, sisters, mother-in-law, and other mothers on Mother's Day, instead of going around saying, "Boy, I am an amazing mother, and since today is Mother's Day, I'm going to tell you all about it." That would be wrong. Praise always flows from one person to another (or at least it should).

But since Jesus loves us so much and has chosen us to be His own, He puts us between Himself and the Father, so that the glory and love that flows between the Father and the Son is ours as well. Jesus says, "No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you" (John 15:15). So although He is the exalted King who will come in glory with His angels, He invites us to be His friends.

But the love of Jesus was costly and sacrificial, and the cross preceded the throne. It led to a staggering promise, that if we are His children, we are "heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ," with the following sobering qualification, "if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him" (Romans 8:17).

Why should suffering have to precede the glory God has prepared eternally for His people? That is something I will discuss in future posts. But in the next post I will address the second part of clamflats' question: Did the sacrifice of Jesus appease the wrath of God?

4 comments:

Darkknight56 said...

I hope you have a great Mother's Day. I'm taking my wife and her daughter, who is also a mom, out to a fancy Sunday brunch in celebration of one of life's toughest job.

Anette Acker said...

Thank you, darkknight56. Have a great time on Sunday!

clamflats said...

Great picture Anette. One of life's great pleasures is holding a baby and feeling those little fingers poke and prod your face, eyes fixed upon you with murmurs of joy.

Anette Acker said...

I know. Babies are great!