(This is a follow-on from John Frame versus Michael Horton: What’s Christ all about?)
In his review of Michael Horton’s “Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church,” one of John Frame‘s main criticisms of Horton’s book is, “Attention to ourselves necessarily detracts from attention to Christ.”
Strong support for Frame’s criticism seems to be found in Ephesians 1:3-6:
“1 Praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
Verse 1 begins with the praise of God, and verse 3 ends with the praise of God. Martyn Lloyd Jones, in his sermon on verse 6, “To the praise of his glory,” says that the story of our salvation is all about God’s glory. The Gospel is the story of man’s salvation. The question is: Is the Gospel all about God’s glory. If Lloyd Jones and Frame mean “ultimately” about God’s glory, then, this, of course, is true.
Landry (on behalf of Horton) responds to Frame:
“No, it (attention to ourselves) can detract from Christ. But it does not necessarily detract from Christ. When it comes to the gospel, ‘we preach not ourselves, but Christ,’ because the gospel is not about us at all. Confusion over this matter does detract from Christ. However, the good news about Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection has implications on the way we live, and so we must give some attention to ourselves as we let the light of the gospel shine in every dark corner, which challenges us to rethink our actions, self-centeredness, etc.”
S Lewis Johnson, in his description of the purpose of election, says it very well. Lewis Johnson’s context can be extended to all of God’s doings:
“Election has a near purpose – our salvation. It has an intermediate purpose of holy life. And there are texts that we could point to for each of these points. And it has an ultimate purpose – the glory of God. In other words, the first aim of election is that we should be saved. The second aim is that we should live a holy life. Election is not just a doctrine to get us from earth to heaven. It is a doctrine which not only brings us into life but is related to the life we live when we believe in Jesus Christ. And that doctrine does not finish with us until we are in the presence of God and God is glorified by the fact that we are there.”
Yes, it is certainly mostly about God’s glory, but it’s also about God’s children’s (his elect) glory, which, of course, comes from Christ, and not from ourselves:
“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one — I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me (John 17:22-23).
Keep close to your heart, though, the “wise man must cease to glory in his wisdom, the mighty man must cease to glory in his might, the rich man must cease to glory in his riches, and their only ground of glory in themselves must be their insufficiency, infirmity, poverty, and weakness; and their only ground of glory out of themselves must be, that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Octavius Winslow, “The rough and thorny way”).
As CS Lewis and others have said: How I long for the glory to be revealed. The glory is Christ:
God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
- John Frame versus Michael Horton: What’s Christ all about? (onedaringjew.wordpress.com)