Two Sundays ago I preached on Phil 2:3-4 and considered how the glory of the gospel is greater than the glory of self. I believe that when our hearts grasp this, we will love like Jesus (humbly and sacrificially) and reject the fruits of pride (selfish ambition and vain glory). Here’s six ways that the glory of the gospel (the wonderful news that Jesus died to reconcile us to God) is greater than any type of self-glory (job, performance, reputation, wealth, health), and thus, worthy of our hearts’ embrace:
1. The glory of self fades while the glory of the gospel is eternal. Our reputation will pass away and be forgotten shortly after die, but the glory of the gospel echoes into eternity. Forever we will celebrate the redemptive work of Jesus.
2. The glory of self is tainted while the glory of the gospel is righteous. When we live for ourselves rather than God we commit idolatry. That is, we worship and live for something other than the one true living God. Thus, our glory is tainted and impure, but the gospel announces a righteousness that comes from God (Rom 3:21-26), and is righteous.
3. The glory of self is built on lies while the glory of the gospel is built on truth. When you think that you are the best looking person in the room, or smartest person in your company, or strongest athlete in your circle of friends, there may be some truth to this. But if we’re honest, most of the time we think we far too highly of our own abilities, talents, and looks, and usually our view of ourselves is built a series of exaggerations and self-deceived lies. We really aren’t the smartest, or strongest, or most beautiful, we just think we are. The gospel on the other is built on truth. God really did create us for His glory. We really did trade it in for worthless idols (Rom 1:22-23). The God-Man Jesus Christ really came to earth and died as a man on the cross for our sins to reconcile us to God. For those who repent and believe they really do receive eternal life and the pleasure of knowing God.
4. The glory of self destroys while the glory of the gospel creates. When you live for yourself what do you get? Death and destruction. We see this on a big scale with folks like Hitler and Kim Jong Un, who for the sake of their own glory, put millions into forced labor and death camps. On a small scale, how easily a social circle gets destroyed by the inflated ego of the friend who always insists on his or her own way. The gospel on the other hand brings life. All who believe it become born again and alive spiritually. Love for God and other is created in the hearts of those who confess Christ.
5. The glory of self enslaves while the glory of the gospel frees. When a person lives for their own glory they enslave themselves and others. To live for your own reputation puts you at the mercies of the gods of other people’s opinions. You will always be enslaved to them. Others are also enslaved as they seek to try to please you and try to live up to your arrogant view of your own worth. The gospel on the other hand frees. All who believe are freed from their sins and freed from the idolatry that so easily entices us all. People-pleasing is annihilated and Christ-pleasing is installed in its place.
6. The glory of self corrupts while the glory of the gospel heals. Self-glory corrupts any environments it is present in. A pastor who wants all to think highly of him and his sermons corrupts the church he ministers in–it is no long about Jesus, but about him and his glory. A pretentious musician corrupts the band he or she plays in–as the band has to cater around the person’s style or views at the expense of the group, self-expression and unity are corrupted. The gospel on the other hand heals. Those who embrace it are healed of their pains from past sins and given a new identity: loved by God.
Which glory will you choose? Self or the gospel?
Photo Credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/32454422@N00/38393034/”>Martin LaBar (going on hiatus)</a> via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>