Reading God’s Word and books that help us behold the truths of God’s word is an experience that leads a Christian to behold God in our hearts. I remember reading through AW Pink’s “Attributes of God” and marveling at who God is and what He is like. I found the same thing by examining different parts of His person and works as I read through Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology” (and many other wonderful books that are biblical and help us see and behold the truth of who God is in our hearts and with our minds).
I believe that in our preaching we are seeing truths of who God is from our text, and then we are taking our congregation along with us to see, behold, and delight in God with us. I remember hearing Tim Keller say this in one his lectures on preaching, and the more I preach the more I see how insightful this is.
During the week, and daily, our hearts drift to behold and think of other glories. We behold the glory of our accomplishments, the glory of things of this world, the glory of a relationship, the glory of earthly wisdom, etc. If we are not careful, and if we are not intentional, these glories can sneak in and take the place where only God is meant to dwell, on the throne of our hearts and lives.
Thus, in our preaching we show that the glory of God is infinitely more glorious than any earthly glory. As we behold the glory of God—a glory that is objectively glorious—what happens is this more glorious reality pushes out the vain glories of this world. Puritan writer Thomas Chalmers called this the “EXPULSIVE power of a new affection.” He argues that only by the greater and stronger power of a new affection—the affection of knowing and enjoying the eternal and glorious God—can we have victory over weaker and ungodly affections. Only by seeing in our hearts that God infinitely more glorious and worthy of our hearts and lives will we be able to willingly and joyfully forsake our sin and sinful desires and patterns of in our lives.