Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pre-prolegomena: Affection


God commands us to love Him (Deut. 6:5; Mt. 22:37; Mk. 12:30; Lk. 10:27). Such is part of our spiritual act of worship. How does this love express itself in our affection? What are we to feel for?

If we are to love God, it means that we love God as He is. Having known from Scripture who God is, we are to treasure all of God's attributes. What God loves, we love. What God hates, we hate.

For my name's sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another. (Is. 48:9-11)

“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.”(Rev. 4:11)

There are many things which God loves and many things which God hates. Injustice is one such thing which God hates (e.g. Deut. 16:19-20). We are thus to similarly hate injustice and love justice. But here we will focus on a more fundamental issue with regards to God Himself.

What is the fundamental affections of God? It is for the glory and honor of His Name. God hates injustice, but yet He uses them for His own purposes (e.g. Gen. 50:20). When it comes to God's glory and honor however, that IS the goal to which God works towards.

As we see in Is. 48: 9-11, God's glory and His Name is what God treasures. God's glory is identified with His Name. God's name cannot be profaned, and God's glory will not be given to another. In the context of this passage, it is speaking of God's dealing with Israel. God does whatever He does because to not do so would lead to a profanation of His Name and the lessening of His glory.

God therefore treasures His glory/Name greatly. Closely related to this is the idea of honor, as we see in Rev. 4:11. God is to receive "glory, honor and power," not that He does not have those already, but to be acknowledged as such. God is infinitely glorious, but out of Himself, He does receive the praise of His glory from creatures. The expansion of the list in Rev. 5: 12-13 to include power, wealth, wisdom and might similarly rebounds to the praise of God who owns them. Loving His own glory and honor therefore is the primary affection which God has.

Glory has to do with worth, while honor deals with esteem. To love God with our hearts therefore includes treasuring His glory and His honor above all, as that is what God Himself treasures. It means to consider Christ as infinitely worthy, to magnify His worth in every aspect, and to esteem and elevate God as being supreme.

The Scriptures do say that God is love (1 Jn. 4:8), and the revelation of His back to Moses results in the revelation of God's graciousness and mercy (Ex. 33:17-23). How does this relate to what we have said? God's love, grace and mercy is the primary way God's glory is expressed. God shows us the main way His glory and honor will be served, which is the showing of love, grace and mercy to all who believe. This is seen especially in the practical manifestation of God's glory, in the person of Jesus Christ (Jn. 1:14).

Practically, what all this means is that we must change our affections to reflect God's priority in loving what He loves and hating what He hates. God's glory and honor must be first and foremost in our mind and should be something we feel for. From there, we are to grow in loving God in His love, grace and mercy towards us, and not only for us, but all who will believe.

No comments: