To see our life under the loving hand of God, and to give God the glory, all the glory, every bit of it, for the love we have for Christ and the impulse we have for worship, prayer and virtue.
With untold mercy and infinite grace, God has saved us, from our selves and the wiles of the Devil, and brought us into the kingdom of light and into the realm of Christ.
Did we do any of this on our own? Even a little bit?
I think not.
Nor does Paul the Apostle who rightly suggests that if we could claim any responsibility, even a smidgeon, for our status with God, we’d quickly be inclined to boast, which always leads to unhealthy distinctions among believers (as if one believer could be superior to another) and worse: to look with disdain at those outside the realms of faith.
As you know, 2009 is the 500th birthday of John Calvin, the spiritual granddaddy of the Presbyterian Church. As Luther is for Lutherans and Wesley is for Methodists, so Calvin is for Presbyterians.
Calvin wrote clearly and passionately about the glory of God – that we would see our lives under the loving and guiding hand of God. To painfully (only at first) admit that we bring to the table nothing but our relentless self-interest, our confusion and an improper pride. That even our instincts for good are driven by self-interest in much the same way that an animal seeks its own comfort and desires the wellbeing of its offspring. Painful at first for the “old humanity within us,” such confession becomes joyful release as we grow in the grace of God.
Calvin seeks to create an attitude that is finally and firmly focused on the goodness, grace and glory of God. This is the “peace with God” of which Paul the Apostle writes and the foundation for love – to love God with all that we are, and with that selfsame love, to love our neighbor as we, now rightly, for the first time, love ourselves.
This is a God-centered life. To God, and to God alone, be the glory!