“That no flesh should glory in His presence, but of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness And sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” I Corinthians 1:29 to 31. “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14.
“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Philippians 3:3.
After carefully and prayerfully reading the verses quoted above, or better still, after spiritually studying them together with their contexts, we shall be taught by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God that even the redeemed sinner is forbidden to glory or boast in any of his excellent qualities or claim any special Divine favor because of his sincerity and faithfulness in his religious observances: Salvation, eternal life, is God’s gift—It is free. It is by grace. Christ accomplished the sinner’s redemption. Likewise the believer is all that he is by the grace of God. Even if the believer is daily giving forth a spiritual testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ, by word of mouth, in a consistent Christ-like life, controlled by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, he is to glory in the Lord. The Lord is ever to be his glory: “yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Galatians 2:20.
Some Christians claim a unique experience, something different from the general run of Christians, a baptism, or a sanctification, that has lifted them above ordinary saints and placed them upon a super-spiritual plane. Surely, all believers should commend and praise their fellowbelievers who are constantly enjoying the joy of salvation and bringing honour to Christ by a life of righteousness, peace, and victory: daily manifesting that fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22 and 23: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self control.
But if the experience is genuinely spiritual, and not religiously carnal, if the believer is truly controlled by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit-filled believer will fulfill John 16:14: “the Spirit of truth shall glorify Me (Christ).” How true that is. But how many “super-spiritual”, “satisfied”, “religious” Christians there are who glory in their piety, their sanctification or their Holy Spirit baptism, witnessed by visions and ecstasies of the flesh, instead of glorying in the Lord. “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” Why? Because Christ Himself is the believer’s righteousness, and holiness, and redemption.
Some Christians glory in their ability or success, and are proud of their records as evangelists, or soul-winners, of their Bible-teaching, their money-raising campaigns, the multitudes that have heard them, the increase in their attendances, their popularity as public speakers, or as Christian leaders, or something else. “He that glorieth, let him glory, in the Lord.”
“So, then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.” I Corinthians 3:7.
“So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants we have done that which was our duty to do.” Luke 17:10. According to Galatians 2:20, the believer is crucified, and dead to the law. According to Galatians 5:23, there is no law against the spiritual believer. According to Galatians 5:24, “they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts”. The believer who is daily experiencing the result of this crucifixion has the Scriptural right to be filled with satisfaction and, joy, as well as with genuine praise. But he will give all the glory to the Author and Finisher of his faith.
According to Galatians 6:14, the believer is crucified to the world and the world is crucified to him. He will not have fellowship with a world that still hates God, spurns His love, despises His grace, and rejects His crucified and glorified Son This does not mean that he will withdraw himself as a religious recluse, into a religious prison. The Lord’s prayer, in John 17:9 to 25, is against this religious practice. But it does mean that a “worldly Christian” is a paradox. The believer is not of the world, although in the world. The Saviour’s prayer is: “Father sanctify them (set them apart—separate them) with Thy truth. Thy Word is truth.” John 17:17. “If any man love the worlds the love of the Father is not in him.” I John 2:15. But a spiritually, separated believer will not glory in his separation. He will glory in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The believer, who really knows how to glory in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, will not only depart from worldly habits; but he will give up all religious practices. No spiritual believer will take the offense of the cross away by claiming any contribution to his standing, which is all by God’s grace in Christ, because of any religious observance of any kind. “The believer is complete in Christ.
“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Philippians 3:3.
Let the truth of this verse grip your mind and soul and then read the remaining verses of the chapter. See the utter futility and folly of mixing anything religious with Christ. “Let him that glory, glory in the Lord”.
Dear reader, is not Christ sufficient, without religion, without “churchianity”, without ritualism”? Every need is available in Christ, all spiritual blessings are on deposit in Him. He is our all-sufficient Christ. Christ is the believer’s life and hope, his peace, his complete redemption. “Glory in the Lord.”
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.