Vol.I No.X Pg.4
October 1964

Glorifying God "In The Church"

Robert F. Turner

Eph.3:21 reads, "Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen"

Thirty years ago, when I first began to preach, this passage was frequently used to emphasize the importance of the church --- and it seems to me the reference was always to the local, organized congregation. (See USE YOUR BIBLE in this issue) I blush to remember my own use of the passage in my sermon on "giving"; indicating, if I did not actually say, that we had to use the church treasury for all our work, in order to "glorify God."

R. L. Whiteside straightened me out on this long ago, showing me the passage referred to the universal body of Christ, hence to saints, distributively. (Eph. 3:10, 15) All the promises of God are in Christ, unto God's glory. (2 Cor. 1:20)

Faithful service to God through Christ includes both collective work, and that done individually; and God is glorified in both ways.

When "the whole church be come together" (1 Cor.14:23-25) teaching may be done by which the unbeliever is made to glorify God. The "church" at Philippi sent assistance to Paul, by which God was glorifiI ök (Phil. 4:18) And certainly God is glorified when the church relieves those who are "widows indeed;" (1 Tim. 5:16) even though the word "glory" is not attached to these cases. But one is foolish indeed who denies that saints may glorify God in service not related to collective (or congregational) activities. In 1 Cor. 10: Paul discusses the eating of meat that came from animals slain as pagan sacrifices. In such a matter, not remotely related to congregational activity, Paul says, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." (Vs. 31) Note-- saints, units of the universal church, acting individually, distributively, may glorify God. For further confirmation, seeTitus 2:5,10 1 Pet. 2:12 Col. 3:17, etc.

In reality, many brethren have allowed "party" pride and a sectarian conception of the church to warp their thinking on this subject. They speak of "giving the CHURCH the glory" instead of "giving GOD the glory." They are confused, when trying to stipulate the "work of the church," because they do not distinguish between the universal church and the local church; nor do they see that the "church" may act distributively, or--in the case of the local church-- collectively.

Add to this the absurd conclusion that "whatever Christians may do, the organized church, out of its treasury, may do" and the resultant mess is enough to make a grown man cry.

The thanksgiving of many, for the work of Paul, gave glory to God. (2 Cor. 4:15) The messengers of the churches, bearing assistance to the needy saints in Jerusalem, glorified God. (2 Cor.8:19, 23) And the Philipplans were "filled with the fruits of righteousness" unto the glory of God.

(Phil. 1:11) SERVE GOD FAITHFULLY, and the "glory" will care for itself.