To God Be The Glory

To God Be The Glory
Robert Wurtz II

The following is an answer I gave on a blog post as to whom the glory belongs to in salvation. Just thought to share it today. 

One of the indictments on man is that “none seeks after God… they have all turned aside after their own way.” Our responsibility is to respond rightly to God when He comes to do a work. It is God’s work. He is the author and finisher of our faith. Our responsibility is to cooperate with Him. Stephen adds to this point in Acts 7 when he told the religious leaders that they did always resist the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is resistible and will not always strive with man (Genesis 6). 

To answer the vain hope that man could ever boast and take credit for their salvation, Jesus gives us a right perspective; “So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'” (Luke 17:10 NIV) All we can ever do is what is expected of us. I think this reality is blurred by the times we live in that things everything should be praised and rewarded, even common things such as acting civilized or being a good citizen (for example). Some things in life never deserve honor, they are “our duty” as human beings. Obeying our Creator is “our duty”. God gets the glory for everything. 

An example of God choosing and man choosing is found in Deuteronomy 7:6 and Joshua 24:15:

For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. (Deut 7:6)

” And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)

God had chosen Israel, now Israel had a choice. They could respond to Him in obedience and faith or they could perish like the rest of the nations. God gave Israel and the Gentiles the ability to choose. Otherwise, responsibility without ability = blame-ability. In other words, He could blame us and hold us accountable for something we could not do. God said through Isaiah, “All day long have I stretched forth my hand unto a wicked and rebellious people.” This is God’s initiative. Many Israelites died and were lost. They heard the message but refused to mix it with faith the writer to the Hebrews explained. In time Abraham’s seed came to be viewed as God’s means of Divine Election. John the Baptist said differently. God could raise up stones to Abraham, but He didn’t want stones; He wanted men and women. Many are called, but few are chosen. Of those that are called and chosen, even fewer are called and chosen and faithful. (Revelation 17:14) We have a choice to make. Will we or will we not stop resisting the Holy Spirit? If we do God will do a great work, if not He has already said He will not always strive. 

The Fiftieth Day

The Fiftieth Day
Robert Wurtz II

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4)

Pentecost Sunday is known in Christian circles as the birth of the Church (Ecclesia). Pentecost is the Greek rendering of the Jewish festival known as Shavuot. It is a Hebrew word meaning “weeks”. In one sense it was the celebration of the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai. It is said that from Passover to the giving of the Law was 7 weeks so that on the Fiftieth Day a celebration was to take place. Shavuot is also connected to the grain harvest in Israel. In ancient times, the grain harvest lasted seven weeks and was a season of gladness (Jer. 5:24, Deut. 16:9-11, Isa. 9:2). It began with the harvesting of the barley during Passover and ended with the harvesting of the wheat at Shavuot. For the disciples, they had experienced the reality of what Passover intended to convey in the death of Jesus Christ upon the cross. From now on, Christ would be our Passover (1 Cor. 5:7). At first the Disciples did not understand what was going on and were in a terrible confusion. But Jesus met with them and explained to them all passages of the Old Testament the things pertaining to Himself. He then concludes with these words:

Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. (Luke 24:47-49)

Up to this point the Disciples had not only misunderstood the mission of Christ, but they were in no wise of the right spirit to minister the Gospel. James and John had desired to call fire from Heaven on the Samaritans and Peter had cursed and swore with a loud oath when confronted about Jesus. They were trying, but they just were not there. Human effort simply cannot make a man or a woman into a child of God. It would take regeneration. Not a simple infusion of grace to believe, but a total transformation of the person in which they pass from death unto life and from the power of Satan unto the power of God. We have a truncated pattern here in Luke 24: 

1. repentance and remission of sins must be preached
2. believers must be endued with power from on high

The Holy Spirit in relation to the Temple

It is important to take a moment and explain the significance of the Holy Spirit coming at Pentecost. We can use Solomon’s Temple as our Template. Solomon built a Temple for the Lord. Up until the time the Temple was dedicated it knew only a general sense of the presence of the Lord. God manifests Himself where He is welcome, but He is present at all places and at all times. This is a theological proposition we sometimes call omnipresence or immanence. He is in the pubs, gambling dens, sin houses and even hell itself (Psalm 139:8); but He is not there in the way that He wants to be. During construction of the Temple, we could argue that God was made more welcome than He was in Egypt, for example. God has determined the bounds of our habitation that we might feel after Him, for He is not far from any one of us. That is the experience of the careless sinner. However, Israel was a God-fearing nation and people of the covenant. God was certainly more at work in their midst than He was in Egypt. Yet, the Holy Spirit wasn’t any more present at the Temple site than He was down the road until the day when the Temple was dedicated, the altar was filled, and the Fire of God fell. The glory of God filled the House until the priests were not able to stand to minister. In time the Holy Spirit departed from the Temple and it was destroyed. Yet, the artifacts in the Temple remained the possession of Jehovah (YHWH). We know this because of how Belshazzar was judged when he took the sacred dishes into his party (Daniel 5). 

The Holy Spirit in relation to men

When a person is in a careless state, even as the idolators of Athens, God is not far from them (Acts 17:27). The Disciples left their careers and followed Christ coming under His Lordship. In this condition, prior to His death, resurrection and ascension, we have this saying from our Lord, If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (John 14:15-17) Here the Holy Spirit is said to be “among” the Disciples and that they “knew” Him; yet He was not yet “in” them as the Holy Spirit had not been given because Christ had not yet been glorified (John 7:39). The glorification of Christ took place in the death, burial and resurrection. So we see a contrast between the careless sinner and the follower of Christ. Yet there is another level still. We read of this hope, reform ye (repent), therefore, and turn back (be converted), for your sins being blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:19 YLT comments added). The Disciples had had their Pentecost and now they are preaching the full Gospel.

Temples of the Holy Spirit

As soon as we turn our lives to Christ we are bought with a price, becoming the sole possession of God. Our bodies and our spirits are God’s possession and we are to glorify Him with them (1 Cor. 6:19-20). We are temples of the Holy Spirit, not because He dwells in us, but because we have been purchased of God with the blood of Christ in order to be made dwelling places of God. When a person turns to Christ in repentance and conversion, they have the promise of the times of refreshing coming by the presence of the Lord. They are the purchase of God. Receiving the Holy Spirit comes as a result of our submission to Him as He deals with us convincing and convicting of sin. We must respond rightly to the Holy Spirit by ceasing to resist Him. One cannot resist and receive at the same time. Many rebellious people have made a profession of Christ and believe they have the Holy Spirit, but we are not known by a simple prayer or a profession, but by the fruit we bare. I am sorry it has to be that way, but this is the clear teaching of scripture. Receiving the Spirit is something that takes place consciously and is not a process that takes place by logical deductions. A person has the Holy Spirit dwelling in them when it can be seen that the fruit of the Spirit is evident in their life. 

Baptized into One Body

At Pentecost the Body of Christ was formed through the one great baptism that Paul spoke of in Ephesians. At that moment everyone that the Spirit fell upon was baptized into His Body and became partakers of all that He had accomplished upon the cross. They had lived for 3 years among Christ, dwelling with Christ, but now they are “In Christ” as new creatures. The mean spirit that wanted to call fire from Heaven was dispelled and the Holy Spirit poured out the love of God into their hearts (Romans 5:5). Their propensity to Sin was replaced with God working in them to will and to do His good pleasure. They were dead to Sin and dead and crucified with Christ. Before this great baptism none of them could say that. They were made sons of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is more than a profession and more than self-help. It is a new creature. They were enabled at that moment to function as a body through the gifts that had been given to men after He ascended on high. These gifts are essential to the edification and increase of the Body of Christ. Each person fitly framed and joined together in love. 

The cruelty and confusion of jealousy

The cruelty and confusion of jealousy
Robert Wurtz II

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
As a seal upon your arm;
For love is as strong as death,
Jealousy as cruel as the grave;
Its flames are flames of fire,
A most vehement flame. (Song of Solomon 8:6 NKJV)

I have given a lot of thought over the years to a great subject that has perplexed me since childhood. From the Tex Avery’s cartoons that made fun of the “mother-in-law” to the cold wars that existed in families since I can remember. In particular, I have been disturbed by watching generations of women that seemed to almost hate their mother-in-laws. I would try to objectively look at the situation and figure out why the hostility existed? Most of the time mother-in-laws are stereotyped as nosey trouble makers; but then I looked at cases where it was obvious that this was not the case. 

Hate without a cause

I watched as women would enter families hostile from the start and without cause. The situation was so serious that from childhood I trained my sons not to marry a woman that would come in and seek to divide our family through these type of unwarranted hostilities. I didn’t understand the mechanics of the phenomena, I just knew I wanted no part of it. As a youth pastor I would tell our students, “Your life will be either heaven or hell on earth, depending on who you marry.” 

No new thing under the sun

Many years have passed since those days. It seemed to me that the mother-in-law was being treated as if she were the man’s ‘Ex-wife’ or ‘Ex-girlfriend’, rather than his mother. Armed with this hunch I started to do some research and came across this article: Why wives are programmed to fight their mother-in-laws. I found it to be very insightful and a must read for all families that are struggling with these tensions. Consider some of these comments from the author:

 ‘It’s a tragedy,’ she says. ‘This impasse divides women who should have so much in common, and who could benefit from each other’s friendship. It causes both sides terrible unhappiness and distress.’ Like Dr Apter, I’m convinced that the rivalry is so ingrained that it doesn’t matter how lovely your mother-in-law is. I should know, because my mother-in-law Sharon, who’s 66, is actually a charming, kind and reserved woman. In fact, if anything, I have more in common with her than I do with my own mother. Like me, Sharon is a lawyer. Like me, she’s extremely nosy. I should have warmed to her from the outset. Yet I still managed to find fault with her and be so mean that I get embarrassed just thinking about it. She didn’t ring at inappropriate times or make snide comments about my housekeeping skills. I was just programmed to be on the defensive.”

I was quite troubled by the words, Like me, she’s extremely nosy. I should have warmed to her from the outset. Yet I still managed to find fault with her and be so mean that I get embarrassed just thinking about it.” One of the reasons she is so concerned now is that she is bracing herself for having to deal with her own sons wives when they get married. It is a sad state of affairs and ought never to be among born-again believers in the churches of God. When the mother-in-law is relegated to the position of asking all of her life, “what did I do wrong” when she had done nothing wrong at all then something is terribly amiss. Has God spoken to this matter? Indeed He has. But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. (Matthew 5:22 KJV)


If the author of the article is right then my perceptions have been right. The question is, what to do about it? Well, obviously, there is a need of repentance on the part of the one that is angry without a cause. The writer in the article would become angry when her husband and mother would meet for lunch. She then admits to the source of the problem, “I should have been touched by his loyalty and love. Instead, I just seethed with jealousy.” 


In Christ we are delivered from the Adamic influences of Sin, but we are still human. The remedy begins when there is an admission and acknowledgement of the problem itself. The author of the article suggests the problem is “programming” because her own mother-in-law was not the typical stereotype trouble maker, but a nice lady that she should have liked and been close to. As Christians we never have the right to just dislike a person or treat them with hostility, no matter how many excuses we can come up with. It would be a sad thing to end up in hell because of a refusal to repent of the anger without cause and treat someone so close as this with at the very least common respect. She is not his ‘Ex’, she is his mother. It is just sad to me that now the writer realizes how bad she acted towards her mother-in-law and is bracing herself for what her sons wives will do. My only advice for young married women would be not to sow such things and then you won’t be as apt to have to reap them. Treat them how you will someday want your daughter-in-laws to treat you. Sow love to your mother-in-law and it will return to you. Selah.  

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