God’s Glory in our Good

In Jesus, God’s glory and our good are inseparably joined together as one. For God brings honour to his own name in the world by reaching out to save the world through Jesus. He takes up our lost and hopeless cause turning it into the greatest good for us. And in doing so magnifies his own name. He gains the victory over all the dark forces that rule over us and so brings honour to himself. The God of glory freely decided to display the splendour of who he is this way. It was his own free decision that he has now executed.

We cannot deduce this from our own ideas of God or of humanity. We can read it only from the free love of God revealed in Jesus. In him, and only in him, that which God does for Himself is also done for us. In this unique person God acts for his own honour and our good in a single movement as our God.

Now we come before God our Father as liberated children desiring to magnify his name. The Spirit of God’s Son cries Abba Father deep within us exalting the name of the one who has freed us through Jesus by his Spirit. And in the same Spirit we anticipate with Jesus our final destiny in which God will be all and all. In this way, God’s glory and our greatest good are inseparably joined together as one in our hearts.

We have seen his glory

The world is turned away from God and incapable of turning back to him. Indeed, it does not even want to turn back. Instead, the world accelerates headlong to the abyss. Nevertheless, God in Christ turns towards the world to reconcile the world to himself.
The Father’s own Son became human taking his own place in the world as one who is not of the world. He moved downward towards us taking the lowest place in order to lift us up to the highest place. He did not owe this to the world because the world is actually hostile to him. The world has no claim on him at all. Nevertheless, God moves into the world in total solidarity with us in order to bring us back home. He does not want to be God without us even though we want to be without him.


The Father’s own Son became human taking his own place in the world as one who is not of the world. He moved downward towards us taking the lowest place in order to lift us up to the highest place. He did not owe this to the world because the world is actually hostile to him. The world has no claim on him at all. Nevertheless, God moves into the world in total solidarity with us in order to bring us back home. He does not want to be God without us even though we want to be without him.

In doing this God displays his own glory in the world as the one who is for the world. He opens to us the inner riches of who he is. The splendour of his own immeasurable love shines among us as we see him taking up the cause of the world as his own. We see love beyond all telling He does what He does for His own sake – to reveal his glory. Nevertheless, he does it all for us. He wants us to live in the love of the Father with Jesus in the Spirit. Now we say with John, “We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth”.

The Form of a Servant

He who was in the form of God took the form of a lowly servant. As servant he was obedient even to the point of death on a cross, the lowest place of all. In moving towards us as lowly servant he did not leave behind or even diminish who and what he is. True, he becomes what he had not previously been, but it was all according to God’s eternal decision. Before the creation of the world God willed to be God as this man, Jesus. And so, when he comes among us as one of us even in our sin and suffering he is becoming the one he always wanted to be.

Even in his lowliness Jesus is one with God as the Father’s Son and equal with God. For lowliness as servant is simply his way of being God. He does not change who or what he is in giving himself to serve in humility. He simply reveals his true divinity in the world. For he is in the world what He is with his Father in the Spirit. He is in time what He is in eternity. For in him time and eternity are joined together. He is in human lowliness what he is in his majesty. For his human lowliness is his majesty and his majesty is also his human lowliness.

This is the one that the Spirit glorifies in our hearts so that we bow before him confessing him as the Lord who serves. And in the Spirit, confessing him also as the servant who is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

God Crucified

When thinking about God I used to focus on the general idea of a supreme being. The infinite, eternal and unchanging being who is utterly apart from his creation. But I have since learned to consider God through his own particular unveiling of himself in Jesus rather than my own general ideas about God. For “No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known” (John 1:18). We must always begin with God as Jesus and when we move to more general notions of God we redefine them in light of this unique and particular unveiling of God as human.

Furthermore, when considering who God is as Jesus we must never evade the cross. Through the cross, the one true God reveals himself as the one who is lowly in suffering even unto death. With the cross fully in view, can we really start from the assumption that such suffering in humiliation cannot be true of God? No! For the crucified Jesus is not a mere appearance of the one true God. He is God crucified.

So what dominates our minds as we think about the one true God? Is it the exaltation of the divine being in his perfection above and beyond all? Or, is it the humiliation and lowliness of the crucified one? There is, of course, deep mystery in the suffering of the one true God but we must never try to solve the mystery by juggling it away. We rather gaze intently into the mystery as the Spirit opens the eyes of our hearts to the majesty of the humble God.

The True God

The world has rejected God and turned far away from him. Nevertheless, the world is not left to its own devices. God actually entered the world in Jesus to turn the world around. Jesus, the lowly man, is himself true God acting in the world to bring us back home. He is not a mere “appearance” of the true and proper divine being beyond himself. He is God himself acting in the world for the sake of our reconciliation.

But doesn’t Jesus, as lowly servant, contradict who and what God actually is? Well, he certainly contradicts all our human ideas about the divine being. For our own natural projections about God turn God into a remote and removed being. One who cannot possibly become a lowly and suffering human. But Jesus is the true God who decided with his Father in the Spirit that he wanted to be with us as lowly suffering servant to bring us back home. So, the only God we know is the one who is willing to be lowly as the suffering servant to take us back to himself. He chooses humiliation in lowly service to reconcile us.

In this action within the world and for the world God shows us who he actually is and what he is like. We do not now speculate about what the divine being can or cannot do because he has done what he wants to do showing us what the true God is like. So, the only God we know is the one who is willing to be lowly as the suffering servant to take us back to himself. And before the true God who is lowly servant we bow in awe and wonder.

The Reconciler

Can the world reconcile itself to God? The world is at enmity with God so it cannot possibly act as its own the reconciler? The world is actually so hostile to God it does not even want to be reconciled. Nevertheless, God loves the world and wants all people to live with him in love relationship. So he came to us in Jesus as reconciler. He came even though we were undeserving. He came even though we made no promises of reform. God alone reconciles humanity to himself. It is God’s own work, and not the work of another. “In Christ GOD was reconciling the world to himself”.

Jesus, the Father’s Son makes peace between God and humanity. He does so by taking upon himself enmity of the world against God and the curse which rests upon it. He is the One who himself takes away the judgment on the world by taking it all on himself.

In order to reconcile us Jesus suffered and even became sin. Was it simply the human Jesus who suffered for us? Or is Jesus God himself suffering as human? We cannot really split Jesus at any point saying this was Jesus as human and that was Jesus as divine? He is always one person as the God-human. So Jesus suffering is truly the suffering of God. We can never understand what that actually means. All we can say is that in Jesus the unfathomable mystery of God’s suffering is an open secret? And we now survey his wondrous cross knowing that we are already reconciled to God through him, our only reconciler.

Communal Decision Happening in Jesus

The Father chose his unique Son to go the way of lowly service for us. And the Son freely chose to go that way as the Lord who serves. Father and Son made this decision together in the Spirit

Jesus did not go this way of lowly self-giving service alone. He was always in the Father and the Father in him. Jesus, therefore, went the way of lowly Servant-Son in union with his Father in the Spirit. The Father sends his Son into the world to serve in lowliness and he is in his Son as he serves. The Spirit rests on the Son as he serves his Father and us so that all he does is in the Spirit. So in Jesus, the lowly servant, the Triune One is among us making his eternal decision happen in history. His decision to be God with us and for us; and for us to be with him.

But what kind of happening is it? Might it not have happened? For sure, all that happened in Jesus within history is rooted in the divine decision which is divinely fulfilled in Jesus. He comes among us rescuing us from the power of sin and death. He dies to end the reign of sin and death over us and we die to that reign with him. He rises as the new man in the new creation and we rise with him to newness of life. He is himself the dramatic saving happening in history making actual God’s communal decision. And now by the Spirit the same Jesus happens in us calling us to faith and sure expectation for the future.

Can The Most High Be Lowly?

Some might say that humility is foreign to God. To be God in all his Majesty he must be the very opposite of lowliness. He must exist in perfect bliss in contrast to all suffering. He must be above and beyond all that is earthly. He must be the Most High and Wholly Other.

But in Jesus God has actually become the lowly suffering human. In doing so, he exposes our ideas of “The Most High” as entirely false. He shows us that we cannot make our own abstract notions the standard by which to decide what God can or cannot do. Truly, Jesus corrects our notions of who God is and what he is like.

Jesus is the Most High who went down to the lowest place in order to lift us up with him to the highest place. He wanted to include us within the communion he shares with his Father in the Spirit. To do so, he came to us as lowly servant going down the lowest place of death on a cross to bring us to his Father in the Spirit. With our eyes fixed on Jesus we do not know God as the “Divine Being” above and beyond us. We only know him as the God who has joined himself to us as lowly servant in order to lift us up with him to the highest place in communion with his Father in the Spirit.

And now in the Father’s presence we lift Jesus up on high as the one who stooped so low taking up our cause as his own in deepest humility.

He made himself nothing

The One who was in the form of God humbled himself taking the form of a servant. He renounced the honour and glory of his divine status in the form of God for the lowly status of a servant. As lowly servant he moved down to the lowest place – death on a cross.

We ask, what is God like? The answer to that question is revealed as much in lowly self giving as it is in exalted rule. The one who is in the form of God, with supreme status above all, made himself nothing. The God who is so very high is the same God who stooped so very low. And now his Father has exalted him to the highest place giving him the name above every name. He lifted Jesus up on high not in spite of the fact that he made himself nothing but because he did so.

One day all creation will recognise Jesus, the lowly servant, as the one true Lord before whom all should bow. Until that day comes, the Holy Spirit enables us to bow before Jesus confessing him as Lord. In the Spirit we lift up in praise the One who stooped so low. In the Spirit we confess as Lord the one who came not to be served but to serve us in lowly self-giving. In the Spirit we magnify the sovereign on the throne as the man on the cross. In the Spirit, we bow before Jesus to the glory of God the Father.

Greater than we ever imagined

No one from the outside forced God to become human in Jesus. Nor was he under pressure because of an inward “ought”. In the freedom of his love he decided to be God as human. And so, when God comes among us as human in Jesus he is becoming the one he always wanted to be. In Christ, far from being against Himself or at odds with himself, God has been true to himself.

As Lord of his own being God is free to become what he wants to be. He is unchanging in his divinity and yet free to become human. He is almighty and yet free to become weak. He is pure and yet free to become sin as he stands with sinners in the place of sinners. Yes, as the Lord who loves in freedom he is free to become his opposite while remaining who he is.

As Lord of the world he can decide the way he relates to the world. He can be above the world as Lord over the world and also within the world in the form of a servant without giving up who he is as Lord of all. For in the freedom of his love he comes among us as the lowly Lord who serves.

We might think that all this “becoming” is impossible. But only because we have our own distorted ideas of what God is like. If we seek to know God where he has actually revealed himself then we know that God has become the lowly suffering human who serves. And in this “becoming” God shows Himself to be more great and free and rich and sovereign than we had ever imagined.