Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 years ago

The Glorious People of God (Romans 9:1-5)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

Please remain standing, if you're able, and let's give our attention to God's word in Romans nine, versus one through five, page nine hundred forty five in the black bibles, Romans nine, verses one through five. I am speaking the truth in Christ. I am not lying. My conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart, for I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen. According to the flesh, they are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship and the promises. To Them Belong the Patriarchs, and from their race, according to the Flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen, you may be seated. To remind you again of what we are doing here in these first verses of Romans nine is to take some time going through verse four and looking at these individual gifts that God gave to the Israelites. Paul lists them here for us. He says, to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship and the promises, and then in Verse Five of the Patriarchs. Last week we covered the first of these, of the adoption, and today we consider the glory. Remember what Paul is doing here, remember what he's saying from his heart, deep within his heart. He's sang to the Jews and to the gentiles. I love my people, these are my brothers, the Jews, the Israelites, there my brothers, and I love them and God loves them. As he says in verse six, the next verse that I didn't read yet, the word of God has not failed, in God bringing the Christ in giving him to the world, in opening up salvation for people like me and most, if not all, of you, I don't know. But to the gentile world, God has done something amazing and, as he'll go on to say in Romans Ten and eleven, this is done because, partly the Jews rejected God, all part of his sovereign plan. More on that later in the coming months, but for now Paul wants to impress upon our hearts that God has given very particular and special gifts to this people, to the Jewish people. But these gifts did not just stay with them, they became to us as well, and the one we're discussing today, the one that God wants us to understand today, is the second here the glory. Israel was given something special, not just the adoption, as we covered last week, but the glory. But what is that? What is the glory that God gave to Israel and what does it mean for us today? We don't use the word glory very much. Sometimes we might use it in...

...kind of a pretend way when we're acting. I can't think of the right word, but when we when we say, Oh, it was glorious, we sort of like that. We might say it was divine, it was wonderful, it's it's one of the adjectives we use to describe something that is really amazing, maybe really beautiful or even spectacular. But aside from that, I can't think of many times when I hear people using the word glory today, except maybe in scriptural senses or when speaking about the Bible. But here it's thought of as a very special gift that God gives to his people. Well, what is it? Well to answer that, I'm going to do this in three parts. We'll talk about the glory that God gave, then, secondly, the glory that Israel lost and then finally, the glory that God regives. So first the glory that God gave, and this answers the question most directly. What is the glory? What did God give Israel? Well, the first answer to this question is God. The glory that God gave Israel was himself. There is nothing more glorious than God himself. There is no glory that is found apart from God. Listen to the ways he has described the names that God has given in scripture. For example, in Psalm Twenty four, eight, nine and ten, he is called the King of glory. In Psalm Twenty Ninety three, the God of glory. In acts seven to p Stephen says as in his speech right before he's martyred, he says that the God of glory appeared to Abraham. And then in also, we might add, for Samuel Twenty nine, where he is called the glory of Israel. That's particularly telling, isn't it? Where is Israel's glory? What is the glory that they received? Well, first, Samuel Twenty nine says that the glory of Israel is God himself. That's a title that God is given. And they also remember his special name, His divine and Covenantal name, Yahway or Jehovah, that he gives to his people, seen in your English bibles, in those small capital letters, as Lord, he says Yah Way, this is my name. And in Deuter yes, Deuteronomy Twenty eight, we read that his name is Glorious and awesome. This name that God gives to us is Glorious and awesome. And throughout the pages of scripture we read of him protecting his name, holding up his reputation, doing things because of the glory of his name. Not Just God, but Yah Way, God as he comes to his people, God as he approaches his people, as he protects them. So what is the glory of Israel? Will is, first and foremost God. Glory might be thought of his sort of the Sum Excellency of all of his attributes together. If you think about a king, how is a king, an earthly king, glorious? You might point to a golden chariot or the number of soldiers on the streets, or the amount of lands that he has or how many people are subject to him. In all of these things he is seen as glorious, perhaps even in his character you might say he is. He is noble, excellent, magnificent. This is how we describe a king. He is wady in this way, glorious, and it's similar with God, except to an infinite degree. Remember that the attributes are of God are infinite. Glory is predicated of...

God not because it's a part of who he is, as though it's sort of a piece of who he is. It is because the essence of God is glorious. God is glory. And lest you think that this glory is quantifiable, like we might with a human king, remember that in all his perfections, God is infinite. His glory cannot be measured in the weight of gold, in the number of marchers in a parade. In fact, if you consider the places where God's glory is manifested, take one and even there you will find an inability to really quantify it. Consider the stars in the sky, for example, which are described as the glory of God. The skies above proclaim the glory of God's Handiwork these psalms say. Can you quantify the glory of the night sky? Indeed, if the whole sky is dark except for one star, you would call it glorious. Wouldn't you to see this point of light coming from so far away and yet visible to your eye? Glorious? But then to see the night sky a raid in an uncountable number of stars, glorious. And this is just one aspect, one place where God has revealed this glory to us, and this is true anywhere God reveals his glory. Now, all this is important to say because it leads us to worship. When we consider the glory that God gave Israel in His giving of himself and then in revealing that glory in various places, we see that we are called to worship him. We don't just think about God right, we don't just contemplate God, we don't just work out God as we might work out a proof. We worship God because of his glory, because he is glory. If something is glorious and magnificent, it is because it shows this attribute of God to us. It reminds us of these things. Now, I realize that you might reply to this. If God is all glorious and infinitely so, how is this particularly special to Israel? Indeed, anybody can look up at the stars and see the glory of God, can they not? Paul himself says in the beginnings, in the beginning chapters of Romans, that the glory of God is revealed to all people. And in fact he says that though they know God, in Verse Twenty One of Chapter One, men and women did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became feutile in their thinking and their foolish hearts were darkened, claiming to what be wise. They became fools claiming and exchange. This is what they did, Paul says. They exchange the glory of the Immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. This is what humans do, Paul says. They Know Glory. We all know glory, and you see it for the way. They are constantly exchanging the glory of God for Stupid Idols, idols that can't do anything good or bad. They can't stand up by themselves except for you holding them there, idols that get knocked off the counter and all the rest. They know the glory...

...of God. This is manifest everywhere. Well, if that's true, then how are we to understand Paul when he says the glory was given to Israel, that there was something special there. The well, the scriptures tell us that God has revealed himself not only in his creation to all people, but in these particular works of Judgment and salvation for his people. He is not just king over the world, but he is King of Israel and for Israel, and this is what is meant by the glory. When Paul says that God gave them the glory, he means that he gave them himself, not only in his creative power, but in his judging and saving power. Consider, for example, exodus fourteen. For here I'm God is speaking of Pharaoh, as he is going to bring them out of Egypt, and he says this. I Will Harden Pharaoh's heart and he will pursue them and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his hosts, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, that I am Yahway, that I am Jehovah. He says, I am going to defeat Pharaoh. Pharaoh, of course, thinks the opposite. Right. Pharaoh says, what can your God do? What can this Yah way do? My magicians can do the same things, he says, and they try until they stop working and accredit their power to God. Pharaoh stands there in his palaces with his gold as a great king, is an emperor of sorts over peoples and lands. Nothing will control him, nothing will conquer him. But God says, I will get the glory over Egypt. But he does it because he wants them to know that he is God, he is Israels God, he belongs to them. And indeed God does that. He does get the victory over Pharaoh. And then we read an exodus, that is, he brings them out of the promised land. He does so in this great pillar of cloud and fire, in this great cloud, and next this one thousand three hundred and twenty one. We read that when Jehovah went before them, by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light that they might travel by day and by night. This pillar of cloud is also described as the glory of the Lord. Here in this dark, stormy cloud that was bright enough to light their way through a desert at nighttime, a very impressive thing, a cloud that was able to move and block off the Egyptians from chasing them, a cloud that was moving Israel through the wilderness. We read that this was his glory. This is God manifesting himself right, this is God doing these works of power and judgment and salvation. You remember what happens with this cloud when they get to Mount Sinai? It descends down upon the mountain and there is lightning and thunder and they're the whole Clo the whole mountain is enveloped in this smoky cloud. It's so scary, the glory of God is so frightening that they are afraid. The people of God are afraid, and rightly so. God says if you touch the mountain you will die. They tell Moses, you go. We were...

...not going. You go for us. We need a mediator, we need someone to approach God on our behalf, because we're not going. We can't go, we would die. You know happen when Moses came down the mountain? He's face shone brightly with the glory of God. He was shining so much after spending time in this close proximity to the glory of God that they told him to put something over his face. He had to cover it up. Later God will ask to see the glory Moses blast to see the glory of the Lord, and God puts him in a cleft of the Rock and moves behind him and lets him see the backside of his glory. God's glory is so infinite, so powerful, so majestic, then it has to be hidden from us. We have to be protected from it. It's shrouded in veils and rocks and and clouds. You remember what happened when prophets like Isaiah and Ezeki'll go before the glory of the Lord in the heavenly places. They fall on their face. They're terrified. They seek and need his forgiveness. Well, the glory of the Lord God manifesting himself in these ways. This is the glory that God gives to Israel. He's not doing this for the Philistines. It's not doing this for the AMMONITES, the MOABITES, the Edomites. He's doing this for Israel. He's giving Israel his law, he's giving Israel freedom over their enemies. He's leading Israel through the desert to the promised land where temple will be built and, as Solomon Praise, the glory of the Lord in Great Cloud descends down upon the temple. This is the glory that God gave to his people. This didn't happen anywhere else in the world. This special rule and government of God's people in this way happen only for them. And, giving them his glory, he gave them his name, his protection, his law, their sonship. That brings us to number two. The amazing gift was lost. In isekiel ten we read of this rather horrifying scene where Ezekiel is given this vision of seeing the reverse of what happens to the temple, with Solomon, instead of the Lord does the glory of the Lord descending down upon the temple in this great sign of protection and comfort and presence and communion. You know what Ezekiel sees? It moves up and the glory of God leaves. And this happens right before the exile, right before all of these nations that God has been walling off people, or walling off his people from. They invade and they destroy, and you know what? They destroy the glory of the Temple. They take its treasures, they...

...take its gold, they strip its doors, they carry it all off, and not just the gold and not just the silver, not just the holy instruments, but the people. They take the people with them. Like Daniel, you remember, and others. They take them into exile, and you know what happens to the glorious land of Canaan that God led them into? It becomes desolate again, a place of Marauders and vines that are being neglected. This is not the glorious Kingdom of God anymore. And all of this was no accident to happen, because the glorious King, the glory of Israel, required a glorious people, proper worship, proper sacrifice, proper love and devotion. It's the Pagans who were exchanging the glory of the immortal God for images of animals and creeping things, right, but it was Israel too. That's what the prophets say throughout all the Old Testament. They're saying, what are you doing? You have been given the glory of God and You are worshiping not in the temple but in the high places. You're not worshiping the immortal, glorious God, but creeping things and false gods and dragons and sea creatures and weather events. This is what Israel did, and this is why Paul, inspired by the Glorious Holy Spirit, condemns us all in Romans three hundred and twenty three, and says of Jew and gentile. All have sinned and all have fallen shore of the glory of God. The exile that Israel experience, the loss of the glory, was because of their sin and it is a picture of the glory that we have all lost and do lose in Adam, when Adam was kicked out of the Glorious Garden of the heavenly place, or the the this kingdom, this temple of God, when he is barred off and refused communion and not allowed to enter and promised death and corruption instead of glory. But this glory that Israel lost. Number three is regiven. God didn't have to do that, God didn't have to give himself in these ways to anyone because of our sin, because of our corruption, but God does. God gives his glory and he gives it in an even greater way. Listen to John One, John One hundred and fourteen. Maybe you've even memorized this verse. The word became flash and dwelt among us and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only sign from the father full of grace and truth. Hebrews says that Jesus when he comes, he is that he is the radiance of the glory of God. He is the radiance of the glory of God. Second Corinthians, Second Corinthians chapter four, says this. It says the God of the world has blinded the minds of unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the Gospel, in the glory of Christ, this thing that is revealed to us, this Jesus who has come to reveal the glory of God. People can't see Paul says, they can't...

...see it. The God of this world, Satan, has blinded their eyes so that they cannot see the light of the Gospel. They cannot see the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, or is, Hebrew says, the radiance of the glory of God. But he goes on to say that God, who previously said let light shine out of darkness when he created the world, has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. What does all this mean? This means that when God left Israel, it wasn't the end of the story. That God would descend again to the earth, but this time he wouldn't come in a cloud, he would come and take on the form of a man, he would take on the form of a servant. Philippians, too, tells us that Jesus Christ did not consider them the glory of God, a thing to be grasped, but humbled himself, taking on the form of a servant, becoming like us, so that he could be obedient to God, so that he could save a people for himself and so that God could raise him to his right hand and us with him. God would not want his people constantly sent off into exile. What's glorious about that? To call a people to yourself, to say here's what I want you to do, they fail at you fail at it and he kicks him out again, over and over and over again. But that's not what he does, is it? God doesn't just keep redoing that again and again. He did it one time and he did it to teach us that our glory, the glory that we want, the glory that we need, the glory that we were made for, is not ours to achieve on our own. It's impossible, we cannot do it, but he, the one who can save in salvation and judge men, can and that's what he did. The son of God would not be destroyed when the sins of the world were placed on him, when he was separated from the glorious God, but by his infinite power, by his infinite worth, the King of the Jews took on the sins of the world and in doing so, Jesus broke the chains of death, he bound the evil enemy and he set us all free from our sins. The glory that was given to Israel was all pointing us to this. It was a good thing they received it, so that we would all know what God is doing for us in Jesus, so that we wouldn't go and worship idols anymore. We wouldn't go and exchange the glory of God for creeping things on the ground, but we would see the glory of God. This time, though, not in flashes of lightning and thunder bearing down on us, saying this you must do in order to live. We don't stand at Mount Sinai in Jesus Christ. Instead, the glory of God is revealed in the Cross, where he says this I have done for you so that you may live for he eternally. I know I'm reading a lot of verses to you today, but I want you to see how important this is in scripture. I want you to be able to read Romans nine and read the glory and not draw a blank. I want you not to think abstractly about...

...some kind of majestic power, but to think about these specific things that God has done, because God has revealed his glorious self to us in this way. And so I'll give you yet one more John Seventeen versus, verse five, we read I glorified you on Earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. This is Jesus speaking to the father, the son speaking to the father. He says, I have glorified you, father, on Earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, father, glorify me in your own presence, with the glory that I had before you the world existed. Let me read this one more time and I want you to really think about what's going on here. intratrinitarian dialog, God the Son Speaking to God, the father, about the one glory that they share. I have glorified you on Earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do, and now, father, glorify me. The son asked the father to glorify him in your own presence, with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. And now listen to verse twenty two, a few more down. The glory that you have given me I have given to them that they may be one, even as we are one. This means that if you find yourself waiste, high in paperwork and house work and filing reports and drudgeries at work, and you say this ain't all that glorious, and you see your life moving away, or maybe you even find yourself suffering and you say here I am under the weight of persecution, I am struggling. Here, we are given something to remember, something which frames and changes everything that we do, every aspect of our lives. God is not only given Israel the glory he did in very special way and very particular ways for a time, but now we read Paul says that glory has come to us all in Jesus Christ, those who have faith in him. It means that, for example, in Second Corinthians, for seventeen light momentary afflictions that we endure now, which include death, suffering and heartache, those light momentary afflictions are not, Paul says, are not worth comparing. He says these light, momentary afflictions are preparing us for an external weight of glory beyond comparison. Don't even try. It's way beyond what you can even imagine. And he's not even talking about the glory that is internal to God himself, that you will never know, that you will never see, that you will never come into contact with, as it is in itself, the glory of God is as internal to himself is in Ternal to himself.

The External Weight of glory that is beyond comparison that you are being prepared for, that's the glory that you will come in contact with. It is the glory that God is revealing even now, has revealed in Jesus Christ and will reveal on the last day when the sun comes again, to judge everyone and to raise up his sons and daughters into the heavenly places, into a new heavens and a new earth that is more magnificent than you could ever imagine. Read the descriptions of it in revelation. Jewels and shining things and choirs and the glory of God is something that is given to us. The Glory of God is not just revealed to us, but it's given to us and it's something that we can participate in. Now, when I say we, and I'll conclude with this point, this very important point, when I say we, I do not mean everyone, because Paul says in Second Thessalonians one nine, there are those who will suffer eternal punishment or destruction away from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his might. They will be the ones who are separated from the glory of God in all of its blessing and all of its protection, and instead they will feel the weight of glory as it crushes them eternally forever. These people will not experience the saving glory of God. People who remain in their sins, people who exchange the glory of God for idols, people who make a practice of sinning and say I want to live the way I want to lay I live, who don't care about the glory of God, but in care about their own glory and build towers of Babel up to the heaven saying we will make a name for ourselves. These people will suffer eternal destruction away from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his might. When I say we, I mean those of us who have received Jesus Christ. This is how we enjoy communion with God, this is how we come to know his glory, not by confidently walking up Mount Sinai saying I can do this, I can do the law, but by seeing Jesus on the Cross and saying he has done it for me, and he who is ascended into the heavenly places because he did it, because he accomplished it, he who has received the glory from the father because he did the law, because he did the things that we were failed to do. Jesus, the one who prays for us, to the father and says, May this glory that you have been given to me be given to them. That Jesus. That is how we receive the glory of God. If you do not know the all glorious God, if you are subject to sin and death, if you find yourselves overwhelmed by the things of this world, even though they may seem to be of benefit to you, look up to Christ, see him seated in the heavenly places and see what is being offered to you while there is still time before he comes again in his glory, not to save the world, but to judge the world. Find your salvation in him, where he gives you his glory, His grace, forgiveness from sins. Maybe we all do. So let us all learn to take hold of...

...this throne of glory by faith and live in light of that glory, shining in the world like thousands and millions of little mirrors everywhere, the one son shining down on us and us all reflecting back the glory of God to him, bridinging up, shining in the world in a way that brings him pleasure and praise. Let us pray our glory is God. We praise you that, in your greatness, you have revealed yourself to us. You have allowed us even to see something of who you are, and indeed we don't merely see it, but we feel it in our bones, for we are creatures who are made in your image. We are have been designed as mears to reflect back your glory, and we praise you for this. We thank you for this. We confess our sins to you, that we have soulied ourselves, we have dirtied ourselves, we have cracked the thing that was meant to reflect and we've turned it in ourselves, on ourselves. There is no beauty in us, in sin, in corruption, in idolatry and evil and hatred, but in you, the glories of your holiness and love are so perfectly manifest. Oh Lord, we beg that you would help us to see them, not only in the power of them and the great a judgment and convicting power of them, but help us to see them unblind our eyes, so that we may see the lie them in the light of the Gospel, in the glory of Christ. We asked, Lord, that you would help us to see by faith, that we might live by faith, that we might live as the glorious ones, as people who have been made into a Holy Temple in which your glorious spirit has descended, sent from the Sun, that we might that you might dwell in us and live in us and with us forever. We ask, Lord, that you would bless us, as you have and as you promise to do, all according to the goodness of your grace and Jesus Christ. And so we pray this in his name, knowing that he is interceding for us even now, praying that this glory might be ours at your right hand, answer his prayers. Oh Lord, in Jesus name, we pray am in.

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