Thursday, January 07, 2016

Day Sixteen - The Purposes of the Promise, Part II

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”
John 15:7-8

While it is true that a main purpose of Jesus’ promise in John 15:7 is to teach the children of God how to bear fruit in the Kingdom of God, so proving to be his disciples, this is not the ultimate purpose. The ultimate purpose of Jesus’ promise in John 15:7 is to glorify the Father. Indeed, this is the ultimate purpose of the entire Bible and of all creation. “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14). “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations” (Revelation 21:22-26). 

But how does the process spelled out in John 15:7-8 bring glory to the Father? I see at least five ways. First, we would not even be alive and able to engage in this process were it not for God the Father, therefore he must get the glory for all things. “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created” (Revelation 4:11). Second, if we indeed abide in Christ, it is only because the Father has caused us to do so. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Ephesians 1:3-4, emphasis mine; see also John 15:16,19; Ephesians 2:4-7). 

Third, it is the words of Christ that give us wisdom to pray in a way that the will be pleasing to the Father, and we can hardly take credit for what he has given us as a gift. Even Jesus gave credit to the Father for the words he spoke: “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works” (John 14:10). Fourth, by earnestly pleading with the Father in prayer, we display the fact that we are weak and he is strong; that we are empty and he is full; that we are needy and he is the source of all we need. And then when he answers our cries, he graphically displays his grace, mercy, kindness, power, and steadfast love toward us in Christ, things for which he should rightly be glorified. “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me” (Psalm 50:15). 

Finally, since all of the above are true, the fruit we bear by answered prayer is a result of who God is and what he’s done. Therefore, he rightly deserves all the glory. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works [i.e., to bear fruit], which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10, emphasis mine). 

Indeed, the glory of God is the great and rightful aim of Jesus astonishing promise in John 15:7. 

Prayer Focus: Pray that we will come into the fullness of what it means to be children of God by abiding in Christ, cherishing his words, passionately pleading with him in prayer, humbly submitting to his will, bearing the fruit of the vine, and so bringing glory to his name.

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