Passive Objects of God’s Glory

In Thomas Manton’s exposition of the Lord’s Prayer, he explains what is included in the petition, “Hallowed be your name.” It means we are willing to submit to God’s choice of instruments and ways of hallowing His name in our lives. It also means we humbly give Him all the glory should He choose to use us. Part of that submission is the willingness to be Passive Objects of God’s Glory. He says, “Many times we must be content, not only to be active instruments, but pas­sive objects of God’s glory. And therefore if God will glorify himself by our poverty, or our disgrace, our pain and sickness, we must be content.

Passive Objects of God’s Glory

That God would glorify Himself

by our poverty

by our disgrace

by our pain and sickness

 We need to deal with God that we may have the end, and leave the means to his own choosing; that God may be glorified in our condition, whatever it be.

If he will have us rich and full, that he might be glorified in our bounty;

if he will have us poor and low, that he may be glorified in our patience;

if he will have us healthy, that he may be glorified in our labour;

if he will have us sick, that he may be glorified in our pain;

if he will have us live, that he may be glorified in our lives;

if he will have us die, that he may be glori­fied in our deaths:

and therefore, ‘Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s:’ Rom. xiv. 9.

 The above was adapted from the following text.

Hallowed be your name. (Mt. 6:9)[1]

[1.] As to the choice of instruments. There is in us an envy, and wicked emulation. Oh, how hard a matter is it to rejoice in the gifts, and graces, and services of others, and be content with the dispensa­tion, when God will cast us by as unworthy, and use others for the glorifying of his name!  Therefore that we may refer the choice of instruments to God, we need go to him and say, Lord, ‘hallowed be thy name;’ do it which way, and by whom thou pleasest. We are troubled, if others glorify God, and not we, or more than we; if they be more holy, more useful, or more serious, self will not yield to this.

Now by putting up this prayer to God, we refer it to him to choose the instrument whom he will employ. It was a commendable modesty and self-denial in John Baptist, which is described, John 3:13, ‘He must increase, I must decrease.’ When we are contented to be abased and obscured, provided Christ may be honoured and exalted; and be content with such a dispensation, though with our loss and decrease. Many are of a private station, and straitened in gifts, and can have no public instrumentality for God; now these need to pray, ‘Hallowed be thy name,’ that they may rejoice when God useth others whom he hath furnished with greater abilities.

 

[2.] A submission for the way; that we may submit to those un-pleasing means and circumstances of his providence, that God will take up and make use of, for the glorifying of his holy name. Many times we must be content, not only to be active instruments, but pas­sive objects of God’s glory. And therefore if God will glorify himself by our poverty, or our disgrace, our pain and sickness, we must be content.

Therefore we need to deal with God seriously about this matter, that we may submit to the Lord’s will, as Jesus Christ did: John 12:27, 28, ‘Save me from this hour; but for this cause came I unto this hour: Father, glorify thy name. And there was a voice from heaven that said, I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.’ Put me to shame, suffering, to endure the cross, the curse, so thou mayest be glorified. This was the humble submission of Christ Jesus, and such a submission should be in us. The martyrs were contented to be bound to the stake, if that way God will use them to his glory. Phil. 1:20, saith Paul, ‘So Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death:’ if my body be taken to heaven in glory, or whether it be exercised or worn out with ministerial labour.

We need to deal with God that we may have the end, and leave the means to his own choosing; that God may be glorified in our condition, whatever it be. If he will have us rich and full, that he might be glorified in our bounty; if he will have us poor and low, that he may be glorified in our patience; if he will have us healthy, that he may be glorified in our labour; if he will have us sick, that he may be glorified in our pain; if he will have us live, that he may be glorified in our lives; if he will have us die, that he may be glori­fied in our deaths: and therefore, ‘Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s:’ Rom. 14:9.

A Christian is to be like a die in the hand of providence, content whether he be cast high or low, and not to grudge at it, whether he will continue us longer or take us out of the world. As a servant employed beyond the seas, if his master will him tarry, there he tarries; if he would have him come home, home he comes: so that we had need to deal seriously with God about this submissive spirit.

 

[3.] Humility; that we may not put the crown upon our own heads but may cast it at the Lamb’s feet; that we may not take the glory of our graces to ourselves. God’s great aim in the covenant is, ‘that no flesh should glory in itself; but whosoever glories, may glory in the Lord:’ 1Cor. 1:27-31. He would have us still come and own him, in all that we are, and in all that we do.

As the good servant gave account of his diligence, Luke 19:16, he doth not say, My in­dustry, but, ‘Thy pound hath gained ten pounds.’ And Paul was a zealous instrument, that went up and down doing good; he ‘laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God, which was with me:’ 1 Cor. 15:10. In this case if we would honour and glorify God, we must do as Joab did, when he was likely to take Rabbah: he sent for David to gather up more forces, and encamp against the city and take it, ‘Lest I take the city, and it be called after my name:’ 2 Sam. 12:28. How careful was he that his sovereign might have the honour!

So careful should we be that the crown be set upon Christ’s head, and that he may have the glory of our graces and services, that they may not be called after our own name, that God may be more owned in them than we.

Now what more natural, than for creatures to intercept the revenues of the crown of heaven, and to convert them to their own use? It is a vile sacri­lege, to rob God of the glory of that grace he hath bestowed upon us; and yet what [is] more common? The flesh is apt to interpose upon all occasions; and therefore we need to put up this request, ‘Hallowed be thy name.’


[1] Expanded from Voices from the Past, Jan. 8. The above text is taken from Thomas Manton, The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, D. D. (London: James Nisbet, 1870-1875), 1:77-78. Emphasis added and paragraphs broken into several (none of the content has been changed).

 

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