“who is the downpayment of our inheritance, into the redemption of his possession, to the praise of his glory.”
We have seen this language already in Ephesians , but it is worth reiterating again and again. Why does God give us the Holy Spirit as a downpayment of our inheritance while also bringing us into redemption? It is for His glory and his glory alone. It is not because we are special, loved, or otherwise worthy of this gift. It is because Jesus is special and loved and worthy of this and he did all he did for God’s glory (John 8:50). We do receive the care and love of God not as a result of anything in ourselves, but entirely because God desires to act in a way that he will be glorified and rightly so. It’s not about you and it is not about me; it never has been. It is about God and it is about His glory — we simply are given the privilege of praising Him for who he is and to be able to do that, God must change our hearts.
Humans, professing Christians and non-Christians alike, tend toward being self-centered and selfish. We wish to merit something before God and be seen as great in his kingdom. Recently I had a run in with a gentleman who proclaimed himself one of America’s most important theologians. My experience is that if you need to tell others how important you are, you probably aren’t. But it’s sad, because people often think in categories like this. People think that without such and such a person, the church could never do this ministry or that ministry. People think that without these big names within cultural America, like Ravi Zacharias or R.C. Sproul, that the church could not function. And while I am grateful for men such as these, the church can do just fine without them. We just need to stop looking to human “superheroes” and start looking to our divine King, Jesus Christ. And we need to obey his commands as given in scripture. He will honor himself in and through us.
Again, it cannot be said enough, we are to honor God and not ourselves. This is Paul’s point. As the old Christian poet put it, “nothing in my hands I bring; simply to the cross I cling.” Or, more accurately, God brings me to himself as a slave bereft of anything that might make me desirable to Him and he binds me to the cross so that I may never be lost. And slowly, ever so slowly, he changes me, conforming me into the image of His Son. It is not because I deserve it and it is not because I can somehow cling strongly to the Cross of Christ. It is because He has done it in me for His own glory and praise. And indeed, I will give it.