Question: When a man gives a solid gospel message, should he be applauded? What does it mean when the Bible says God will not share His glory? | thebereancall.org

TBC Staff

Question: When a man gives a solid gospel message, should he be applauded? What does it mean when the Bible says God will not share His glory?

Response: I personally do not like to be applauded at any time for anything (it embarrasses me), knowing that I am unworthy of praise, either from men or from God. If we do anything well, it is only by God's grace and goodness. Furthermore, Christ said, "I receive not honor from men.... How can ye believe [be men and women of faith], which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?" (Jn:5:41-44).

Christ says that the reason we "have not the love of God" (v. 42) and our walk of faith is not what it should be is because we receive honor of one another. And because we receive honor of one another, we seek not honor from God alone. That is the problem.

Christ declares that there will be no praise (honor) from God for those who receive honor from men. Our motive can be pure only if we look to God alone for honor. We may seek honor from God, but not for honor's sake. As a child, in its innocence and simplicity, desires to please its father, so we ought to desire to please our heavenly Father. When He will say, "Well done" (Mt 25:21), it will be to His glory and we will rejoice that we have pleased Him.

So what about applauding someone who has presented a message from God's Word in a worthy manner that has thrilled the hearts of listeners? I see no objection so long as the applause is for the truthfulness of the biblical message to God's glory and the speaker does not accept any honor for himself. The danger is that the speaker may compromise the truth or soften the message God has given him in order to have praise from men. Christians have compromised because "they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God" (Jn:12:42,43).

The fact that God will not share His glory (Is 42:8; 48:11) does not mean that He will never praise or exalt us for what we have done, for many scriptures say that He will: "...and then shall every man have praise of God" (1 Cor:4:5); "And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted" (Mt 23:12; Lk 14:11, 18:14). It means that no one can take credit to himself for anything good he does; the glory belongs to God, our enabler and our only hope: "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom...the mighty in...his might...the rich...in his riches: But...in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me..." (Jer:9:24-25).

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