Sep 09, 2022 Christ is Glorified in Us – Words of Grace – September 9, 2022
How can it be that Jesus Christ is glorified in ordinary, flawed, and failing human beings?
Reading along in the High Priestly prayer (John 17:10), we come to an astonishing statement. Jesus said to God the Father, “I am glorified in them.” “They” are not angels, but the disciples and others who followed Jesus. “They” are us. How can this be?
If someone said to you, “I glorify Christ,” you might think he is being arrogant. It might sound to you like this person is saying there is something about himself that should make you admire how much he is like Christ. If that’s what the person is saying, then he is indeed arrogant. He is not glorifying Christ, but himself.
If Jesus Christ is used as a standard to emulate so we can commend ourselves to others, we are not glorifying Christ, but ourselves. And we are deceiving ourselves, for who can be like Christ?
If, on the other hand, the person is saying that he glorifies Christ as a fallen, flawed, and failing sinner by showing how gracious and merciful Christ is to save him, then he is speaking the truth.
Christ is glorified in us not because of our goodness, but because of his grace. There are some good people in this world, if by “good” we mean they treat others well. But again, that doesn’t glorify Christ.
For Christ to be glorified, something good about him must be seen. The good thing about Christ is that he is gracious to save sinners.
In John 17, Jesus Christ is the one doing the good. Jesus came from God and showed his people who God is. He gave them God’s words. He called them out of the world and into relationship with God. It is because of what Jesus did for them that his followers brought glory to him.
That’s the way it is today with the church. We glorify Jesus Christ. Don’t be confused. We are not a self-righteous people who can say with confidence that we are virtuous enough to make people want to follow Christ. We say that we are not virtuous at all, but that Jesus died for us. We possess nothing that would make anyone want to follow us, but Jesus has forgiven us and called us to himself. We know that nothing good dwells in us, and that all we are and all we have is a gift.
When people see the church, they should think of Christ. But not in the way we often think. People should see the church worshipping a Savior, not striving to meet a self-glorifying standard. They should hear the church saying that we once were lost but now we have been found. We who were blind have been given sight. We are saved by God’s amazing grace.
Let’s make sure it is this gospel, and no other, that we believe and proclaim. Then we will understand how Jesus can say that he is glorified in us.
See you Sunday.