Today in God’s Word
2 Chron 17, Rev 6, Zech 2, John 5
John 5 is packed with theological content and practical application for living but what jumps out at me today is the closing verses in the chapter.
John 5:44–47 (ESV)
44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
Notice that Jesus is calling out the Jews to whom he is speaking on the basis of how they are seeking glory. Not that they are seeking glory, but how. Remember that Romans 2:6-7 says that God will grant eternal life to those who by patience in well-doing seek after glory and honor and immortality. But what glory (or at least source of glory) are they looking to?
What is it about the action of the Jews that Jesus has here named a wrong seeking of glory? Jesus gives this description to the placement of their hope. The unbelieving Jews failed to recognize that the law is for condemnation only and not for justification (1 Tim 1:8-11). This would be like the insanity of looking at a gun aimed at my head and putting my hope in it to save me from death, rather than setting my hope on the rescuer who would strip the gun away from my attacker. God is glorified only in a gospel that is all of mercy (Ex 33:18-19, 1 Tim 1:11). When we put merit in the equation we strip the glory of God away and we now seek only the glory of human approval (Gal 1:9-10). Paul actually teaches that our message is blasphemy if it is not all of mercy (1 Tim 1:1-20).
So where have I set my hope? What am I trusting in to secure my favorable standing before God? Does the placement of my hope glorify God or me? Does it seek his approval or man’s? Do I trust in the very thing that is designed only to kill me (Rom 4:15) or in the one who was killed only to ransom me (Gal 2:20, Mark 10:45)?
If we do not see our need for the mercy of God in Christ it is because we have not believed the right message that the law has delivered (Gal 3:21-26, Rom 3:20, 28). We have failed to understand the death sentence that the law of God is to us (Rom 3:23, 6:23). We must understand the bad news of our slavery to sin if we are to recognize the good news of the gospel (John 8:34, Rom 6:15-23). This is the point Jesus makes to the Jews in this passage and that he makes to us. Let us hope only in the mercy of God in Christ for salvation and may we be busy celebrating this ultimate manifestation of the glory of God.
Soli Deo Gloria!