Monday, 20 January 2014
Therefore I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God. Romans 15:17
In the previous verse, Paul clearly laid out his ministerial service as one of a priestly role. In this capacity and because of it, he now states “therefore.” In essence, “Because of that, therefore this.” And then he moves directly into his explanation – “I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God.” In this thought, he uses the exact same Greek term, ta pros ton Theon, “in things which pertain to God” which is later used in Hebrews 5:1 –
“For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.”
This then shows that what he was referring to in verse 16 is to be interpreted as pertaining to functions of a priestly nature. His ministry, which is directed to the Gentile people, has been specially instituted “that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” And because it is, Paul has a reason “to glory in Christ Jesus.”
The word “to glory” is variously translated as “boast,” “be enthusiastic,” “have pride,” “brag,” etc. But despite the personal nature of the word, it is a boasting which is not for himself, but “in Christ Jesus.” Ultimately, Christ made the selection, Christ gave the strength, Christ endowed with the wisdom to convey, and so forth. He is the “author and finisher” of our faith and thus whatever is our boast, it ultimately belongs to Him. As Paul will later state in 1 Corinthians 1:30, 31 –
“But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.'”
To personally boast in what one hasn’t earned is self-seeking and conceited. And the premise of our salvation, sanctification, duties in Christ, glorification, etc. is that it is all God’s work in and through us. And so, to God be the glory. Without the cross, none of it would be possible. Because of the cross everything else in the process then comes by His grace.
Life application: When we accomplish a deed for the Lord, be it small or great, we must ultimately give God the glory for it. We wouldn’t be in the Lord if it wasn’t for the Lord’s work. Likewise, the Holy Spirit wouldn’t have been granted without the Lord’s work. And the deeds could not have come about without either. It all inevitably goes back to the glory of God.
Lord Jesus, only You are worthy of the honor and boasting which come from my Christian service. Without the cross, there would be no church. Without the resurrection, there would be no hope. Without Your Spirit, I would still be separated from You. And so whatever things I do, be they great or small, the credit is Yours alone. Use me then according to Your wisdom and for Your glory. Amen.