Only When We Come to the End of Ourselves Do We Come to the Beginning of God

Only when we come to the end of ourselves do we come to the beginning of God.  This is a common theme in the Bible – desparation precedes deliverance.  Grief precedes glory.  The cross precedes the crown.  Powerlessness is the beginning of freedom.  This is not to say that every cloud has a silver lining, or some such nonsense.  That would be a minimalization.  It is only to say that if the past five years have taught me anything, it is this: I would never have received any clarity about the beauty of the gospel if I hadn’t first been forced to face the ugliness of my sin and idolatry at the foot of the cross.  As the apostle Paul exclained in I Corinthians, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (I Corinthians 1:18);.

– Tchividjian, Tullian; Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free; David C Cook Publishers, Copyright 2013, Kindle Edition, page 138

A Theology of Glory

A theology of glory…operates on the assumption that what we need is optimistic encouragement, some flattery, some positive thinking, some support to build our self-esteem.  Theologically speaking, it operates on the assumption that we are not seriously addicted to sin, and that our improvement is both necessary and possible.  We need a little boost in our desire to do good works…But the hallmark of a theology of glory is that it will always consider grace as something of a supplement to whatever is left of human will and power.

– Gerhard Ford

as quoted by Tchividjian, Tullian; Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free; David C Cook Publishers, Copyright 2013, Kindle Edition, page 31

It Is Impossible that Glory Should Be Without Radiance

As the light from the lamp is the nature of that which sheds the brightness, and is united with it (for as soon as the lamp appears the light that comes from it shines out simultaneously), so in this place the Apostle would have us consider both the Son is of the Father, and that the Father is never without the Son; for it is impossible that glory should be without radiance, as it is impossible that the lamp should be without brightness.

Gregory of Nyssa commenting on Hebrews 1:3

– Reeves, Michael; Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith;  IVP Academic; Downer’s Grove, IL, Page 27

Everything Flows From This Issue…

His book the city of God, Augustine rightly determined that everything flows from the issue of glory. What’s the issue of glory is settled, that is, what glory is going into what deserves it, and everything else is decided. Once we determine in our souls that God’s glory is our goal, we can stop taking the path of least resistance and start taking the path of the most glory to God.

– Driscoll, Mark; Who Do You Think You Are? Finding Your True Identity in ChristThomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, copyright 2013; Page 120

Our Best Moments Have Been Mostly Grotesque Parodies

There is little that we can point to in our lives as deserving anything but God’s wrath.  Our best moments have been mostly grotesque parodies.  Our best loves have been almost always blurred with selfishness and deceit.  But there is something to which we can point.  Not anything that we ever did or were, but something that was done for us by another. Not our own lives, but the life of one who died in our behalf and yes is still alive.  This is our only glory and our only hope.  And the sound that it makes is the sound of excitement and gladness and laughter that floats through the night air from a great banquet.

– Fredrick Buechner

as quoted by Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 243

The World Has Dramas as Well

Of course, the world has it dramas as well.  In one now playing in North America and in theaters around the globe, it is, as I have suggested, “a show about nothing.”  According to this narrative, we came from nowhere and are going nowhere, but in between we have the opportunity to create for ourselves a moment of self-chosen glory.  It is still to difficult to tell whether this is really a story or just another chapter in an old one.  Regardless it belongs to the age that is passing away.  The world’s drama generates its own dogmas as well as its own methods of shaping the identity of its cast.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 100-101