To God be the Glory
Bible Reading: Ephesians 3:20-21
Ephesians 3:20-21, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
God has worked to save sinners for the purpose of manifesting His glory. Ephesians 1:3-14 speaks to this purpose as it describes for us the gracious working of each person of the Trinity. God the Father has chosen us before the foundation of the world; In love, He predestined us to adoption. He has done all this “to the praise of his glorious grace” (Ephesians 1:6). God the Son has redeemed us; forgiven us; lavished His grace upon us; revealed His will to us; and enriched us with an inheritance. He has done all this “to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:12). God the Spirit has been given to us as a pledge of this inheritance. We’ve been sealed by the Spirit. And again, this has been done “to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:16).
Chapter 2 likewise speaks to the gracious nature of the salvation which we have received. Look to Ephesians 2:7 where it says, “so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.” Some, in commenting on this passage have noted how we, as believers, stand as “trophies” of God’s grace for all to see. And I think that’s an appropriate analogy.
My Dad has bowled most of his life. In his mid-80s, he was still averaging near 175. He was always a good bowler and has some trophies to prove that, including the bowling pin that refused to fall on the 12th frame of a 299 game. What is the message we are given to understand as we look at those trophies? They say that my dad is a great bowler! Those trophies are actually pretty small. Probably about 18 inches or so. According to the Guinness book of world records the largest trophy in the world is about 41 feet tall! That’s far taller than most houses. That trophy was given to a cricket team in India. I wonder how they transport that thing? Or where do they keep it?
Now, when it comes to salvation, some—in misunderstanding the true nature of salvation—only want to give God a little trophy. Misunderstanding the Sola Gratia nature of salvation, they want to keep some of the credit for themselves, however small. But salvation is by grace through faith in Christ and His finished work on the cross. Ephesians 2:8-9 makes this clear. In fact, it goes on to say that God has set the parameters of salvation such that “no man may boast.”
Ephesians 3:21 is a fitting conclusion to three chapters that have trumpeted the working of the grace of God in the salvation of a sinner. God chose us before the world was. We were orphans in sin, but God adopted us. We were guilty in sin, but God has forgiven us. We were darkened in our understanding, but God has enlightened us! We were spiritual paupers, but God has enriched us! We were dead in our trespasses and sins, but God made us alive together with Christ and raised us up with Him and seated us in the heavenly places! We were children of wrath, but now we are the children of God! We were without God and without hope, now we have both! We were far off, but Christ has brought us near! We were strangers and aliens, but now are a part of a holy temple in the Lord! We are recipients of the unsearchable riches of Christ and are loved with an everlasting love, the breadth and length and height and depth of which surpasses knowledge! All this entirely by His grace and therefore to His glory!
Fanny Crosby was one of the church’s greatest hymn writers. Over the course of her 90+ years, she composed over 8000 texts, many of which were set to music. Hymns like: “Praise Him! Praise Him!,” “Tell Me the Story of Jesus,” “I Am Thine, O Lord,” “Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross,” “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine.” Amazingly, she wrote all those texts though she was rendered totally blind at six years of age! She praised the Creator and Light of the World for more than 80 years without ever actually seeing the work of His hands. She understood it was God who was deserving of all the glory for the great things He has done and wrote the hymn “To God be the Glory!”
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
To God be the glory, great things he has done!
So loved he the world that he gave us his Son,
who yielded his life an atonement for sin,
and opened the life-gate that all may go in.
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear his voice!
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father through Jesus the Son
and give him the glory, great things he has done!
Great things he has taught us, great things he has done,
and great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son,
but purer and higher and greater will be
our joy and our wonder, when Jesus we see. [Refrain]