The Father's Glory.

While upon earth the Son of God constantly sought the glory of His Father. It was His delight to do His will and to reveal Him. He ever acted for the Father, saying "I cannot do anything of myself" (John 5:30); nor did He bear witness to Himself, as this would have given an entirely wrong impression of His mission, for He had come to bear witness to the Father. He was content to leave the witness concerning His Person and greatness to the Father whose will He ever sought; and the Father, in His great love for the Son, and in answer to the Son's faithfulness to His will, took especial care to tear witness to the Son. Whenever we see the blessed Son of the Father, the glory of the Father is connected with Him, whether in life or death, in resurrection, ascension or the display of the coming day.

The Life of the Son on Earth.

Speaking to the Jews the Lord Jesus said, "He that speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but he that seeks the glory of him that has sent him, he is true" (John 7:18). How simple, yet how profound are these words. Men delight to speak from themselves, boasting in their originality of thought as they put forward their ideas, or in their commands where they have authority or power to have them executed by their fellows. There is nothing that gives man greater pleasure than presenting what proceeds from himself. With the Son of God it was altogether different. The unity of the Godhead is such that the Son could not act independently of the Father: independency belongs to man, not to the Godhead. In innocency man was entirely dependent on God; now, in self-will he acts independently in sin, though God supplies all that is necessary for his life in this world. But the Son, in becoming Man, had come into the place of service: He was the Sent One of the Father, and ever sought the glory of Him that sent Him. This brings out the perfection of the Son. We see Him in John 2 seeking the Father's glory in connection with His house, as also in John 4 when He seeks worshippers for Him. In all His activities, in His words, ways and works of power, the one thing before the Son is the glory of Him that sent Him. This is beautifully seen in the raising of Lazarus from the dead. The Son had life in Himself; He was the resurrection and the life; but coming to the grave, "Jesus lifted up His eyes on high and said, Father I thank Thee that Thou hast heard me … and having said this He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth" (John 11:42-43). It was the Father's glory He sought, not His own, so He turns to the Father in prayer as manifesting His entire dependence on Him for that work of power. In the next chapter the dread hour of the cross is before the Son, and His soul is troubled. Will He say, Father save me from this hour? No! He says, "Father, glorify Thy Name." Then the Father's voice is heard saying, "I both have glorified and will glorify it again." The Father's Name had been glorified in the resurrection of Lazarus, and it would be glorified in the resurrection of the Son.

"I have Glorified Thee on the Earth."

At the close of His wonderful sojourn here, where He had come in the Father's service, the Son can tell the Father that He had glorified Him on the earth, He had completed the work given Him to accomplish. Our apprehension of what was accomplished is very feeble indeed, but we do rejoice in what we see completed by the Son. He had come to reveal the Father in all the grace of His heart, to tell out the love of God to the world, to manifest the Father's Name to His own, to unfold the counsels of the Father, and to communicate eternal life to those the Father had given Him out of the world. All this, and much more He had perfectly carried out, and now can speak of it as an accomplished work. No doubt He is speaking in spirit beyond the cross, so that the great work of redemption is embraced in what is completed for the Father's glory. For the completion of the Father's will the cross was a necessity. How else could those He had given to the Son be raised up in the last day or enter with Him into the Father's House? There must needs be the great work of propitiation, the securing of God's glory in relation to sin, and also the moral cleansing from our defiled state, if the counsels of the Father for the blessing of His loved ones were to be secured. But there was not only a perfect Sin Offering, not only the truth connected with the water and the blood, there was also in the death of Jesus the great answer to the Burnt Offering, One Who gave Himself up entirely to the will of the Father, even in death. Hence we hear Jesus say, "On this account the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again." His death was a voluntary act of surrender for the Father's glory, yet was it an act of perfect obedience, for He said again, "No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have authority to lay it down and I have authority to take it again. I have received this commandment of my Father "(John 10:17-18).

"Raised … by the Glory of the Father."

We have just seen that the Son went into death in obedience to the Father's will, so that all His counsels might be brought to full fruition. In answer to this Christ has been raised up from among the dead by the glory of the Father. The Father's pleasure in the work of the Son has thus been declared: His Name has not only been glorified in the resurrection of Lazarus, but also in the resurrection of Jesus. Man heaped every ignominy upon the Lord Jesus, condemning Him to a death of shame and dishonour: this has been appropriately met in His being raised by the Father's glory.

"Glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son may Glorify Thee."

If in life, death and resurrection, the Son sought only the Father's glory; His desire to be glorified in heaven was only for the securing still of the glory of the Father. What a rebuke to our poor proud hearts to thus contemplate the perfections of the Son of God! Yet what infinite delight for us also in having such an object to be constantly engaged with. Jesus is never thinking of Himself, only of the Father's glory and the blessing of those loved ones the Father has given Him. In this place of exaltation the Father has given Him authority over all flesh, but the Son is concerned still with the glory of the Father, and that in the giving of eternal life to those that the Father has given Him. As we look at the poor world, we can understand the meaning of the Lord's words, "Righteous Father, and the world hath not known Thee, but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me." There is no knowledge of the Father, no eternal life, to be found in the world's system; this can only be found in the Son, who glorifies the Father in thus communicating to us the eternal life. In the world, the Father is dishonoured, but in the Son, the Father is glorified.

"About to Come in the Glory of His Father."

In the three Synoptic Gospels our attention is drawn to the wonderful moment when the Son of Man shall come in His Father's glory (Matt. 16:27; Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26). The first two mention the attendance of the angels when He comes in His Father's glory, but Luke calls our attention to the display of the glory of the Son of Man, the glory of the Father, and the glory of the Holy Angels. What a burst of dazzling glory shall meet the gaze of those who behold Him! His own acquired glory, acquired by His humiliation, suffering and death, will indeed set forth the greatness of the work He has done, and the greatness of the place that He fills as Man for the glory of God. The glory of the Holy Angels bears witness to His creatorial greatness, for the angels are the highest order of created beings known to us; they excel in strength. But the Father's glory is displayed in Him Who sought it and secured it when here on earth, in life and death; and marks Him out as the One in Whom the Father finds His deep delight, as the object of His affection.

"Every Tongue Confess that Jesus Christ is Lord."

Not only will the Lord Jesus shine out in the Fathers glory in the coining day, but God has decreed that every knee shall bow at the Name of Jesus, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. This shall secure the glory of God the Father. The Father will be glorified in bringing the whole universe to the feet of Him Who in wondrous grace, and with lowly mind, emptied Himself of the form of God and took upon Him the form of a servant. He came from the very pinnacle of fame and glory down to the depths of degradation and shame; but the Father has already given an answer in giving Him a Name that is above every name. While upon earth, the demons called Him Jesus, and Son of God, but never acknowledged Him as Lord: in the coming day, every tongue shall confess Him Lord, earthly, heavenly and infernal beings; and every knee shall bow. The honour of the Son is bound up with the Father's Glory; the Father having determined that all should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father (John 5:23): and the Scriptures tell us that "He that confesses the Son hath the Father also" (1 John 2:23). Men shall bow at the judgment seat if they have not bowed before; the Father being glorified whether it is done now in the day of grace, or in the day of judgment.

The Father Glorified in the Son.

We have meditated upon the Father's glory in relation to the Son on earth, in heaven, and in the coming day; in John 14:13 we hear the Lord speak of the Father being glorified in the Son through His disciples. The promise given by the Lord, just before leaving His own is as good for us today as it was for the disciples in that day; "Whatsoever ye shall ask in my Name, this will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." Although His own course down here was drawing to its close, the Lord knew that His heavenly life would still be here in His disciples, and that the Father's glory would be secured in those that the Father had given Him out of the world. What a precious privilege to be among those in whom the Father is glorified! But how is the Father to be glorified in His children? By their being here for the pleasure of the Son, seeking only that which will bring honour to His Name. If we are conscious that we are left here in the interests of the Son of God, and seek only to please Him, then we shall indeed ask in His Name. To ask in His Name is to ask in His interests, and all the divine authority and resources that are vested in the Son, glorified in heaven, are made available to meet the requests that are made. No doubt the apostles were here in a special way to carry on the work of God, and that they were enabled by the grace of Christ to do His will according to the divine mission with which they were entrusted; but the promise still stands for the disciples of Christ, even in these last days of weakness and ruin. Here is something that will not break down, "If ye shall ask anything in my Name, I will do it." This depends on the blessed Son of God; and no matter how weak we are, we can still seek, in some little way, to be concerned with His interests in the world. If the enemy thought that he had triumphed when the Son of God left this world and returned to the Father, his mistake would soon be evident when, through the presence of the Holy Spirit in the disciples, the life of Christ, and the work of God, were continued in Christ's own. How the Father has been glorified in all that has been accomplished in His children through Christ's grace, since the Son was here. What a wonderful triumph for the Father to continue in men the heavenly life of His own dear Son, and to carry out the counsels of His grace through the ministry of Jesus at His right hand in heaven towards the disciples on earth.


The Father Glorified in the much Fruit.

No doubt the passage already referred to in chapter 14 has to do specially with the work of God through the disciples of Christ, and continues until the end. In chapter 15:8 the Lord says, "In this is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit, and ye shall become disciples of mine." True discipleship is evinced in the bearing of the precious fruit that gave infinite pleasure to the Father in the Son, and this is the blessed privilege of all who have received the life of Jesus. It is absolutely impossible for men to manifest the features of Jesus unless they have the life of Jesus. The bud is the early evidence of life in a tree, the blossom brings out the sweet fragrance of the life, and the fruit is its mature expression. So also have we these things in the believer; but there is also fruit, more fruit, and much fruit. It is the much fruit that glorifies the Father and evinces discipleship. The Father watches over the disciples of Christ (even as a husbandman watches and cares for the branches of the vine,) chastening them (Hebrews 12:5-11) so that all that would hinder the expression of the life of Jesus might be removed from us. No doubt the Father is glorified in every bit of fruit that is borne, for anything that sets forth Christ glorifies the Father, but nothing less than much fruit is what the Father and the Son desire from every believer. Again, every Christian is in one sense a disciple of Christ, but a true disciple is one who follows closely in the steps of Jesus; and we could not possibly be close to Him without bearing the fruits of His precious character in increasing measure. There must be the abiding in the Son, living in communion with Him, and Himself and His words treasured in the heart, if much fruit is to be borne. If the words of Christ abide in us, we shall not only value the details of all His thoughts and desires, but we shall seek to walk in obedience, endeavouring to please Him; and for this we shall need the resources of the Son of God. Therefore He says, "Ye shall ask what ye will and it shall come to pass to you." We can depend upon this, that there shall be nothing lacking for us to enable us to bring forth much fruit. Let us then ask that which will enable us to manifest the life of Jesus in all its rich, heavenly, beauteous graces; but if we so ask, the divine answer will have nothing for the gratification of the flesh, nothing that will call attention to ourselves; only that which will produce that fragrant and fruitful life, and bring glory to the Father.

The Riches of the Father's Glory.

Having unfolded great truths concerning the mystery in the 3rd chapter of Ephesians, the apostle Paul bows his knees in prayer to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He desires that the saints might enter in a real way into the profound truth concerning the church as the vessel in which God is displaying to heavenly beings His all-various wisdom, and in relation to the unsearchable riches of the Christ, which he was privileged to minister. Realising that saints cannot enter into these wonderful unfoldings without divine preparation of soul, Paul prays that they might be strengthened with power by His Spirit in the inner man, according to the riches of the Father's glory. The riches of the Father's glory are therefore for our spiritual strengthening, and the power of the Holy Spirit is working in us so as to produce the state necessary for apprehending the truth of God, the breadth and length and depth and height. The Father's glory is bound up with the unsearchable riches of Christ, and with what He is doing in showing His all-varied wisdom to the intelligences of heaven. All this is according to the purpose of the ages, the Father's purpose; and these wonderful riches of the Father's glory, manifested to us in the unfolding of His purpose, He desires us to enter into. Do not these wonderful riches fill the breadth and length and depth and height? Here are riches of which the poor worldling knows nothing; and which the believer, be he ever so poor in this worlds goods can be enriched with the knowledge of. Long after all that belongs to this present world has gone for ever; we shall still be engaged with what can engage us now, the riches of the Father's glory, made known in His purpose, "which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord, in Whom we have boldness and access in confidence by the faith of Him."


Glory to the Ages of Ages.

In Paul's ascriptions of praise, three times he refers to the glory of God the Father for all eternity: Gal. 1:4-5; Phil. 4:20; Eph. 3:21. The thought that all will eventuate to the Father's glory for ever more, causes the Apostle to burst forth in praise and worship; and this should also produce praise and worship from us, as having learned something of the Father's glory. Three things are linked together in the passage in Galatians, Christ giving Himself for our sins, our deliverance from this present evil world, and the eternal glory of God the Father. The first looks back, the second relates to the present time and the third looks forward. It is not to be wondered at that the death of Christ is thus connected with the eternal glory of the Father, but how blessed to realise that His death for our sins, and our deliverance from this present evil world are linked with that glory. Christ did not give Himself for our sins to leave us in the associations of this world, but with the object of having us here for His own pleasure and for the Father's will. As we have already seen, we are to be here in the character of Christ; but we must be in the path of separation from the world before we can manifest the features of Christ. We do not belong to this world; and God's will for us is that we should be true to the heavenly calling that is ours, and walk before Him as His irreproachable children, shining as lights in the world. In this way we shall be here for the glory of God the Father. The thought of our being here for the will of God, leads the Apostle to think of the glory that is due to God, and that not only for time, but for the ages of ages.

The subject that ends with the ascription of praise in Philippians is very different from that in Galatians. Paul was rejoicing in the grace manifested in the saints at Philippi through the gift sent by Epaphroditus to meet his needs; viewing the gift as a sacrifice offered to God, agreeable, acceptable and of a sweet odour. He then thinks of the needs of the saints, and speaks of the unfailing heavenly resources of God in Christ Jesus. The God, well-known to him, that he calls "My God," would abundantly supply all their needs, whatever those needs might be, temporal or spiritual; and that from His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. What an unfailing treasury is ours in Christ! Riches in mercy and riches of grace we have learned to value in the goodness of God (Eph. 1:7; 2:4); all God's riches for our need are in Christ in glory, and we may draw upon them freely so long as we are here. As Paul thinks of how God's glory is secured in such a ministry from the Lord in glory now, he bursts forth into the ascription of praise to God the Father.

We have already thought of the Father's glory in Ephesians 3, and of its wonderful riches, according to which God desires to strengthen us in the inner man, and of which He would have us to apprehend the breadth and length and depth and height. At the close of the prayer to the Father, the Apostle says, "To Him be glory in the assembly in Christ Jesus unto all generations of the age of ages. Amen." How blessed and how wonderful that the Father's glory will be secured in relation to the church for evermore. The church has a great place in the counsels of God. Here is a vessel conceived in divine wisdom, secured in divine love, formed in divine power, for the display of divine glory. But the glory to be displayed in the church is in Christ Jesus, for the church is nothing and has nothing apart from Christ. Now the vessel in which is displayed to the angels the all-various wisdom of God; soon to display the exceeding riches of His grace (Eph. 2:7); and for eternity to display the glory of God the Father that is in Christ Jesus. What a wonderful place of privilege has been given to the church in the sovereign goodness of God; and it is this that fills the heart of the Apostle as he unfolds the truth connected with the divine purpose, and prays for the saints in the light of it.

At the close of each ascription mentioned, the Apostle adds, "Amen." What else could be added to the securing of the Father's glory for all eternity? What a day lies ahead for the saints of God! It is God's own day, the day of eternity (2 Peter 3:12, 18); when all God's counsels shall have been fulfilled; when God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is all in all; when in the changeless, deathless scene, we shall forever enjoy the blessed portion reserved for us in the love of God, and shall be for His holy delight, and for His abiding glory.
Wm. C. Reid.