Growing In Christ: Glorifying And Enjoying God Through Reformed Spiritual Disciplines -- By: Tom Schwanda
RAR 10:1 (Winter 2001) p. 19
Growing In Christ: Glorifying And Enjoying
God Through Reformed Spiritual Disciplines
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18). Do we realize what Peter is saying to us? Too often people read these words as a challenge, when in reality they are a command. Grow is a present imperative in the Greek which asserts that spiritual maturity is not an option but a continuous action and requirement of God. Further, Peter implies that there is a connection between our experiential growth in Christ and God’s glory.
Many readers of this journal will likely hear echoes of the first question and answer of the celebrated Westminster Shorter Catechism: Q: “What is the chief and highest end of man?” A: “To glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” Glorifying God focuses on the nature of our almighty and gracious God. To glorify God implies we are offering something to God. Thomas Watson contends that glorifying God consists in appreciation, adoration, affection, and subjection.1 Further “We glorify God, when we are God-admirers; admire his attributes, which are the glistening beams by which the divine nature shines forth.”2 However, to enjoy God is quite different. Glorifying God honors and praises God’s divine worth. Enjoying God renews us with benefits by virtue of glorifying God. Typically we focus more on offering glory than on our receiving through enjoying or delighting in God. Watson reflects this same
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emphasis; three quarters of his sermon is devoted to glorifying God and only a quarter to enjoying God. John Piper unites these themes in declaring, “The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying him forever.”3
Before proceding there are a number of preliminary principles that must be addressed. First, I am using the term “Reformed” in its theological rather than denominational sense. Over the centuries many have held a Reformed theological view beyond the boundaries of Presbyterianism. Both Richard Baxter, an Episcopalian, and Charles Spurgeon, a Baptist, were Reformed. Likewise today, J. I. Packer and Alister McGrath, both Anglican, and John Piper and Donald Whitney, both Baptist, represent and cherish Reformed theology.
Second, we must clarify our terms. Earlier Reformed Christians would have spoken of “piety” rather than the more common contemporary term “spirituality.” Piet...
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