Seeking Whose Glory?

by Frank Jones


He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no  (John 7:18)

This text of the scripture is in response to the Jews concerning the teaching of Christ (7:14). As Jesus taught He maintained scriptural thought. The Jews were exceedingly impressed, marveling at this man’s doctrine (7:15). How has this man become learned, having never been educated. Jesus had not been trained and indoctrinated at the rabbinical schools of learning. Yet, his teaching and argumentation was sustained by ready references to the Scripture.

In answer to their question, Jesus declares that His teaching was not His nor did the doctrine originate with Him. Jesus’ doctrine was the express image of God-Father. The reason why the Jews could not determine the source of His teaching was because they were not willing to do his will (7:17). If a man is willing to do the will of the Father then he will know whether the Son’s teaching had its source in God the Father or merely originating in Jesus, God the Son.[1]

Now we arrive at our text. If a man teaches or speaks doctrine that originates of himself then that individual is seeking his own glory. However the opposite is true also. If a man is seeking the glory of God then that man does not speak that which originates of him. In the case of Christ Jesus, He was the express image of the Father in all – thought, reason, verbal, action, mannerism, etc. Jesus Christ therefore possessed no unrighteousness and had no self-origination in His teaching. He only spoke what he had heard or seen (John 5:19, 30). This is a mark of the perfect man!

We are living in a day when it is fashionable to talk about the glory of God. How would we know if a man (or a church) is truly striving to live for God’s glory? Unlike Christ Jesus, no man can say that there is no unrighteousness in him. The only good we possess is the Lord Jesus Christ. We must also acknowledge that there are differing degrees of conformation into the image of Christ in genuine believers. However the question still remains.

The answer is that to the degree that a believer or a church body thinks, speaks, and walks in the light of the Word they are declaring whose glory they are seeking. Our thoughts, speech, teaching, and doctrine must be the express image of the written Word. A church that exists for the glory of God will be teaching, speaking, and seeking to live the utterances of God (1 Peter 4:11). They will not be merely “word-centered”, “word-based”, but Word-saturated. A believer (or a church) that majors on human experiences, personal illustrations, private opinions, etc. is an entity that is seeking its own glory. The end result is death. The glory of man is darkness.

Every believer is to live for the glory of God. Every believer is to be a vibrant active part of a church body that is seeking to live for the glory of God. Has our teaching originated in God or is it merely for self-aggrandizement? Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

[1] This is an important point. Many times we dismiss objections to scriptural proclamation as merely “they are blind” or “they are immature in understanding”. Both of these may be true however there is the worldwide problem of men and women not interested in doing the will of God. They may “say” with their lips they desire God's will but their heart is far from the Lord. This truth may solve many a paradox in how we approach and give counsel to other believers.