Full Cycle: Where It All Starts & Where It All Ends

Full Cycle: Where It All Starts & Where It All Ends
Rev. Tony Cooke

Full Cycle by Tony CookeMany Christians have a one-dimensional perspective of life.  They see God existing to bless man.  Period.  While God certainly desires to bless humanity, that’s far from a complete perspective of God’s overall plan.  Consider Romans 11:36 in these two translations:

  1. “For from him and through him and to him are all things.  To him be glory forever and ever.  Amen.” (English Standard Version)
  2. “Everything comes from him; Everything happens through him; Everything ends up in him.  Always…” (The Message Version)

Notice the three distinct dimensions: From God, Through God, and To God.

Some have seemingly had the impression that God bestows a blessing on us, and then He’s basically finished.  He bestows the blessing, and we enjoy the blessing.  The end.  Scripture, though, indicates that God is not only the source and origin of the blessing, but that he also wants to oversee and superintend the “through” and the “unto Him” parts as well.

If we perceive God’s system properly, there will be three different perspectives in how we see God, the Bible, and the life of faith.

  1.  FOR ME – This seems to be the easiest and most basic perspective for us to grasp.  This is summed up in statements such as, “Jesus died for me.”  “Forgiveness is for me.”  God has a wonderful plan for me.”  While all of this is true, if a Christian does not expand upon the “for me” mentality, he can remain a very self-centered individual.
  2. FOR OTHERS – Somewhere in our spiritual journey, we also realize that when God blesses us, He does so to make us a blessing.  God delights in getting blessing to us, but He further delights in getting blessing through us to others.  This is reflected in Jesus’ statement, “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8).  Peter said, “What I do have I give you” (Acts 3:6), and “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another…” (1 Peter 4:10).
  3. UNTO HIM – In last month’s letter on the Jealousy of God, I made the statement, “It has been said that God gives gifts with ‘no strings attached,’ but I believe that every gift God gives has strings attached by which He can draw us unto Himself.”

Everything originates in God and everything consummates in God.  Everything that begins in God’s goodness was designed to find its ultimate destination in God’s glory.

The book of Genesis begins with everything – all of creation – proceeding from God.  The book of Revelation ends with everything – all of creation – returning back to God for its final and eternal disposition.  The book of Psalms opens with the words, “Blessed is the man.”  The book of Psalms concludes with the words, “Praise ye the Lord.”

The ultimate purpose of God was not simply for us to be blessed by Him, or for us to be a blessing to others.  While those are important parts, the ultimate purpose of God is that all of His creation glorify Him.

“For me” speaks of blessing and provision.
“For others” speaks of ministry and service.
“Unto Him” speaks of glorification and worship.

As we read through Scripture, it becomes clear how much God has done for His own glory and honor.  David understood this and expressed it clearly.

Psalm 23:3 – He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Psalm 25:11For Your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my iniquity, for it is great.

Psalm 31:3 – For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for Your name’s sake, lead me and guide me.

Psalm 50:15Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.

Psalm 79:9 – Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your name; and deliver us, and provide atonement for our sins, for Your name’s sake!

Psalm 106:8 – Nevertheless He saved them for His name’s sake, that He might make His mighty power known.

Psalm 109:21 – But You, O GOD the Lord, deal with me for Your name’s sake; because Your mercy is good, deliver me.

Psalm 143:11 – Revive me, O LORD, for Your name’s sake!  For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.

God doesn’t do what He does to gratify the greed of man, but rather, to promote His own glory and honor. 

God spoke through the Prophet Isaiah (43:7, 21, 25) and said:

    1. That He created us for His glory.
    2. That He formed us for Himself, and that we would declare His praise.
    3. That He blots out our transgressions for His own sake.

Isaiah (63:14) also said, So You lead Your people, to make Yourself a glorious name.

While we are the initial recipient of God’s blessings, God Himself is the ultimate recipient of all praise, glory, and honor that proceeds from us having been blessed by Him.  What else does Scripture say about God being the ultimate recipient?

Colossians 1:16 (NLT)
16 Christ is the one through whom God created everything in heaven and earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see — kings, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities. Everything has been created through him and for him.

Ephesians 5:25-27
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

When Paul said that, “Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her,” it seems like that was an entirely selfless act.  However, as we read further, we see that Jesus did this so that “He might present her to Himself…”  This is not to say that Jesus was not selfless in His giving, but there was another element involved; all that Jesus did, He did not simply for our benefit, but ultimately, for the glory of God!

Similarly, Titus 2:14 says that Jesus, “…gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people…”

All through Scripture, God is pouring out blessing, pouring out blessing… and in the book of Revelation, God begins to reap, in a very magnified way, all of the harvest that He has deserved for so long.  We are quick to rejoice about God having made us to be kings and to reign with Him (Romans 5:17, Ephesians 2:6, Revelation 1:6), but here we see the elders in heaven casting their crowns before the throne of God (Revelation 4:9) and saying (Revelation 4:11), “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power.  For you created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created” (NLT).

God blesses us, but He didn’t create us just so we could receive His blessings.  God wants to use us to bless others, but He didn’t just create us so we could be humanitarian.  God’s ultimate purpose in creating us is for His own glory and honor.  When our heart is totally His, and when we are totally committed to the glory of God, He is free to bless everything around us because He knows that He will only receive more glory.

Remember, from Him, through Him, and to Him are all things!