Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers; and that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. . . . Rom. 15:5-9
God is glorious!
His alone is the glory, even as His is the kingdom and the power.
For, excellent is He in goodness. He excels in infinite perfection. He is uniquely good, incomparably perfect in truth and righteousness, in power and holiness, in wisdom and knowledge, in love and grace and mercy and lovingkindness.
The Holy One of Israel!
With whom will ye liken Him? There is none on earth, neither is there anyone in the heavens whose name can be mentioned in one breath with His Name. The very glory of the sun is darkness in comparison with His glory. And in the presence of even a little of that glory the holy angels cover their faces and can but shout their “Holy, holy, holy!”
Where is there a power like unto His power, where a majesty like unto the majesty of the Most High? What wisdom may be compared with His, or where is the knowledge that would match itself with the infinite knowledge of the Omniscient? Who can boast of a love that is ought else than a mere reflection of a drop from the infinite ocean of love which is He, or who can boast of life that is more than a drop from the eternally sparkling Fountain that is God? Can there be holiness anywhere that is not a mere response to His holiness, or is there righteousness among the creature of which He is not the criterion? Can man ever be gracious otherwise than as a little mirror of His boundless grace, or is the creature ever clothed with a beauty that is not a faint reflection of the infinite pleasures that are at His right hand? With whom, then, will ye liken God?
He is the incomparable One!
To compare Him is to deny Him!
To present Him on a par with the creature is blasphemy!
The Excellent, the absolutely Excellent, the infinitely Excellent, the alone Excellent is He!
And the manifestation, the shining forth of the divine excellency, of the incomparable goodness, of the all-transcending perfection of God, is glory, divine glory.
And glory, His glory, excellent glory is revealed. For, He willed to make known His excellent goodness, to manifest His transcendent glory, that we might behold it and wonder, that we might see it and tremble with rejoicing in the Lord our God, that we might taste it and be blessed, that we might adore it and worship. All the works of His hands proclaim that glory, pour forth speech, in the heavens above and on the earth beneath, in the deep silence of the night and in the bright glory of the noonday, whispering in adoration, or also singing with joy, testifying of His excellent wisdom, might, goodness, majesty. Do not the heavens declare the glory of God? Does not day unto day utter speech and night unto night show knowledge?
Speech of Him!
Knowledge of His excellency!
Oh, yes, quite distinctly it is of His perfections they speak! Quite clearly they witness of none other than of Him alone! There is no danger of confusing His glory with the glory of the creature. There is no room for the mistake of losing sight of the divine excellency in the midst of the virtues of things that are made. When you behold the work of God, radiating His power and goodness and wisdom, you recognize at once that it is His and that no one could even approximate the wonder of it. You may compare the proudest work of man’s hands with the humblest work of God, and the former falls within the scope of your own power and understanding, the latter remains forever a wonder, excellent, unique, inimitable, incomparable. For a moment you may adore a smoothly running and gracefully lined and beautifully finished automobile, place it on exhibition on the fairs of the world and boast of the ingenuity and progress of Man; yet what is an auto in comparison with even a blade of grass, a flower of the field, a grain of sand? You consider man’s work and you know it is numbered, and always it bears the number of mere Man; you consider God’s Work, and you recognize it as divine, separated by an infinite chasm from the grandest work of man, excellent! You let your eyes rest on the most glorious product of man’s power and ingenuity, but soon you grow weary of looking and you turn to something else; but never can your eyes grow weary of seeing, never can your mind become exhausted of contemplating the works of God!
Of the mighty Creator and Sustainer of all things!
Yet, more glorious than this glory that is revealed in creation is the glory that is manifested of Him as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is He. To be sure, within the holy mystery of the divine Trinity the First Person is the Father in relation to the Second; yet the Triune God is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God in human nature. He ordained Him, He formed Him, He revealed all His power and glory in Him, Who is the Firstborn of every creature and the Firstborn of the dead, the revelation of the God of our salvation!
The glory of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
What glory is like the wonder of all wonders, the incarnated God, Immanuel, Creator and creature, Lord and servant, Omnipotence and weakness, Infinitude and finitude, Eternity and time in One! What glory is comparable to the wonder of the cross, God in human flesh bearing God’s wrath, fulfilling all righteousness, satisfying all justice, reconciling the world unto Himself, redeeming His people by His own blood, God in us forsaken of God? What love is like the unfathomable love that became manifested when in due time Christ died for sinners? What mercy can be compared to the divine mercy that entered into our darkness and death, in order to fill us with eternal bliss? What power is mighty as the power of God that raised Jesus from the dead and gave Him a name that is above all names?
Excellent is He!
The Holy One of Israel!
And the excellency of His power and might, His holiness and righteousness, His justice and truth, His love and grace and mercy and all His wonderful goodness is become manifest!
Revealed in the face of Jesus Christ, our Lord!
Glorious, indeed, is God!
Glorify Him, then, O Church of Christ!
Say it, sing it, shout it, ye that have seen and tasted His great goodness, that He is glorious, that He is boundless in love, infinite in grace, unfathomable in wisdom and knowledge, unlimited in power, excellent in all His virtues!
Say it to Him in thankful worship and adoration!
Witness of it to one another as you speak of the wonder of His grace!
Sing it aloud before all the world, before the holy angels that see His face and before the very devils that tremble before Him, that His alone is all the glory. Glory to God in the highest!
Glorify Him with one accord!
With one mind and with one heart and with one mouth!
Let the Church of Christ be one grand chorus of many voices, each one singing in his own place, his own part, yet all uniting in the harmony of the one theme: Glory to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! There is none like Him, who raiseth the dead! Let all take part in this glorification of the God of your salvation, redeemed from Jews and Gentiles, small and great, parents and children, young and old, young men and young women, let none be silent, but all shew forth the praises of Him that called them out of darkness into His marvelous light! Glorify Him always! In the midst of the Church and in the world, on the Sabbath and during the week, in your home and everywhere, with your mouth and in your walk, glorify Him with one accord.
And let no dissonant mar the beauty of your praise!
For it is of the excellent glory that you sing, of the glory of the incomparable God! Let there, then, be nothing of man in your glorying!
All of Him, nothing of self!
Such is your calling, your sole calling. For, what would you do for Him, or how would you remunerate Him, or what could you bring to Him, Who is the excellent One, the Fount of all good, always the Fount, the ever overflowing Fount, except the glory that is due unto His Name?
That He should be glorified, that His Church should glorify Him with one accord is His eternal purpose.
It is the purpose of your redemption! It is Christ’s purpose. For unto this end did He become “minister of the circumcision,” that He might manifest the “truth of God” and you should sing of it! A servant of the “circumcision” did Christ become. Not merely in the sense that He became a servant of the Jews. That too. He came to seek and to save the lost sheep of Israel and to realize unto them the promise made unto the fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But He also became a servant under the circumcision, under the old covenant, under the law; a minister of the promise in the shadows of the law. And as a minister of the circumcision He took upon Himself the curse of the law, removed it by His perfect sacrifice, that He might redeem them that were under the law, and at the same time abrogate the law and the shadows and extend salvation even unto the Gentiles!
Jew and Gentile He redeemed!
And He received us! Us, who were by nature children of wrath, enemies of God and enemies of Him, who even spent all our fury upon Him and nailed Him to the accursed tree! He received us, when in eternity the Father gave us to Him. He received us, when He had to shed His lifeblood in our behalf. He received us, when the Father drew us to Him, with cords of irresistible love. He received us, when we came to Him, drawn by the Father, with nothing in our hands to bring, guilty, damnable, wretched, dead through trespasses and sins, empty, hungry and thirsty, laboring and weary, toiling in vain and heavy laden. He received us and did not cast us off. He took us to Himself forever, united us with Himself, filled us with His marvelous grace, justified us, forgave us all our sins, cleansed and delivered us from the pollution and dominion of sin, set us free, made us living children of God, gave us eternal life and glory!
He received us, why? To the glory of God!
He became minister of the circumcision; why? In behalf of the truth, of the unchangeable veracity, of the faithfulness of God. For the promise of salvation was made unto the fathers in times of old. And long they had waited for the fulfillment of that promise, the promise of all the mercies of David, of redemption and deliverance from sin and all the power of the devil and the bondage of corruption. Would God’s promise fail? God forbid. The truth of God, and with that truth all the glory of His great goodness must become manifest. The glory of God!
He became the end of the law and the Lord even of the Gentiles, to reveal unto them the salvation of God; why? That also the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy!
Thus He, the Christ of God spoke already in the old dispensation, even as it is written: For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto Thy name. And again He saith, Rejoice ye Gentiles with His people! For, indeed, in those olden times it was David that thus spoke. But it was Christ that even then spoke in and through him!
His purpose it is to glorify God!
To glorify Him through the mouths of the millions upon millions of those whom He redeemed and received! A thousand fold song of glorification!
Sung with one accord!
O, to be likeminded!
Likeminded toward one another in and according to Christ Jesus!
For, how shall we glorify God with one accord, with one mind and with one mouth, unless there be that unity of the Spirit that reveals itself in like-mindedness according to Christ?
And this like-mindedness is not only a certain unanimity of thought and conviction with regard to the truth as it is in Christ Jesus, so that we unite on the basis of the same confession. To be sure, it implies this. How shall we be likeminded at all if it be not in the bond of the truth? But it is more than this. It is to be one in the Spirit in the bond of peace. It is to be of the same purpose and aim. It is to strive unitedly, to pursue one and the same object and purpose. It is the like-mindedness that is rooted in the love of God that is poured out in our hearts. It is the denial of self and the love of God and of one another in Christ. It is the united subjection of self and our own purposes, and of all things that are in themselves indifferent and of no account to the one great purpose of Christ and of the Church: to glorify God with one accord!
Hence, it is like-mindedness according to Christ!
Christ is not only the motive-power, but also the standard and criterion of this like-mindedness. He is its scope. He is also its limitation. Let whatever is not of Christ, of the Christ of the Scriptures, be absolutely excluded from this like-mindedness. What concord is there between Christ and Belial? But let us mind, and let us unitedly mind the things that are of Christ Jesus our Lord!
O, to be thus likeminded!
For, according to the text, this like-mindedness is an indispensable requisite unto the realization of the only purpose of the Church, the glory of God! God grant you to be likeminded according to Christ, that ye may with one mind and with one mouth glorify God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
What an incentive!
Shall the song of that glorification of God be silenced in the Church of Christ, redeemed by Him and received by Him for that very purpose, be silenced, because of our personal differences and quarrels?
Rather let all be subservient to the realization of that only aim:
Glorifying God with one accord!