How Do We Glorify God?
The goal of piety is to recognize and praise the glory of God—glory that shines in God’s attributes, in the structure of the world, and in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The desire to glorify God supersedes even the desire for personal salvation in every truly pious person. We were created that God might be glorified in us, and the regenerate yearn to live out this purpose. Furthermore, God redeems, adopts, and sanctifies His people that His glory would shine in them and deliver them from impious self-seeking. As a result, the pious man’s deepest concern is God Himself and the things of God—God’s Word, God’s authority, God’s gospel, God’s truth. He yearns to know more of God and to commune more with Him.
But how do we glorify God? Calvin writes: “God has prescribed for us a way in which he will be glorified by us, namely, piety, which consists in the obedience of his Word. He that exceeds these bounds does not go about to honor God, but rather to dishonor him.” Obedience to God’s Word means taking refuge in Christ for forgiveness of our sins, knowing Him through the Scriptures, serving Him with a loving heart, doing good works in gratitude for His goodness, and exercising self-denial to the point of loving our enemies. This response involves total surrender to God Himself, His Word, and His will (Rom. 11:33–12:2).
Calvin’s motto well sums up the piety with which he lived: “I offer thee my heart, Lord, promptly and sincerely.” This is the desire of all who are truly pious. However, this desire can be realized only through communion with Christ and participation in Him, for outside of Christ even the most religious person lives for himself. Only in Christ can the pious live as willing servants of their Lord, faithful soldiers of their Commander, and obedient children of their Father.
This excerpt is adapted from Living for God’s Glory: An Introduction to Calvinism by Joel Beeke.