The Exaltation of God
The exaltation of God flows from a high view of God, as we esteem Him rightly for the greatness of His attributes and works, and as we come to grips with His incomprehensibility. As theologians would say it is to reflect on the “Godness” of God and to be transformed by that inspection. To exalt God is to worship Him exclusively, and to honor Him by bowing our knee to His authority, keeping His commandments no matter what the circumstances of our lives may be. It is the manifest result of a life that pursues humble obedience to God, and is the natural expression of faith lived out, since faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Therefore to exalt God is to believe His promises and commands and act upon them, knowing that our reward will come from Him, and to believe His Word and humbly submit to it even if at the outset we doubt it can work (1 Corinthians 10:13). In this God is glorified because we will bear much fruit (John 15:8). In short, we seek to exalt Him by taking up our cross and following Him as true disciples (Matthew 16:24). We believe that the result of an exalted view of God produces a strong and abiding faith that is marked by clarity in our understanding of the Scriptures and confidence in its power, a right perspective on our circumstances, and vitality in our church life.
A Clear Understanding of the Teaching of the Scriptures
Encouraging great faith in the people of the local church begins by skillfully opening the Word to reveal the grandness of God in His very existence, nature, and power. Psalm 145:3 says that “His greatness is unsearchable” and Isaiah 55:8-9 says that as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are God’s ways and thoughts higher than our own. From beginning to end, Scripture proclaims that the God of heaven and earth is awesome and utterly unique. He exists in eternity, free of all limitations of space and time. His understanding is infinite (Psalm 147:5). He is eternally God, with no beginning or end (Psalm 90:2). His Word stands forever; no one has been His teacher, and His Word is not diminished over time (Isaiah 40:8, 12-31). If we were to question such a majestic God in any way, the briefest of looks at the power of His works and wisdom would cause us to close our mouths like Job, and open them again only to offer praise and worship (Job 40:1-14).
A Greater Confidence in His Word
God’s Word is objective truth that demands a response. He demonstrates His greatness in our lives by calling us to be obedient to Jesus Christ, thus God expects all of us to come under His authority. So how does the truth of Christ’s Lordship impact the way that we handle His Word? First, it means that our dependence must be in the clear and faithful proclamation of the Gospel to convert and transform hearts (Romans 1:16) rather than the cleverness of our own methods. Second, it means that we must rely on God’s Word not only to convert unbelieving hearts, but also to strengthen, mature, and unify believers. In 2 Timothy 1:13-14, the Apostle Paul told Timothy to “retain the standard of sound words” and to “guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you”. The job of a faithful teacher and preacher is to boldly, patiently, and skillfully present the truth, trusting that the same powerful truths that convert a man’s heart are also able to equip him and make him useful for the Lord’s service in the church (2 Timothy 3:16-17). When we have an exalted view of God, we believe that He is able to speak clearly and powerfully through His Word to transform the hearts of all mankind. Therefore we demonstrate our commitment to honoring God by making sure that we understand every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
A Right Perspective in our World View
A high view of God builds the local church, edifies its people, and uplifts worship. It brings order and sweetness to the life and fellowship of the church. It leads to a high view of His Word, which gives us an appropriate basis for encouragement, and the right message to proclaim to a lost and dying world. A high view of God orders the life of the Christian by bringing maturity to the saint, and adorning him with godly wisdom that puts the circumstances of life in proper perspective. A right view of God leads us to see that He accomplishes all things for His glory and causes us to look at life’s circumstances and say as Joseph did in Genesis 50:20, “You meant it for evil but God meant it for good.” A right view of God gives us hope in the midst of pain and suffering (1 John 3:3). This hope gives us the strength to persevere even through the darkest of hours.
Vitality in our Church Life
When we are intentional about seeing God exalted in our hearts and in our midst, our faith always grows stronger. It produces a holy fear of God, a contrite pursuit of the truth, profound worship, and vitality in all that the church does. When a church has a low view of God, its faith is weakened. It encourages a selfish and shallow pursuit of its own comfort (Romans 3:18), robbing God of worship and robbing the people of discernment, fellowship, and sanctification.
Our view of God is elevated when we consider His revelation of Himself to Israel in Exodus 20, as He descended on Sinai and gave His Law to Moses. His Law reflects His perfection, and commands worship of the Lord alone. The effect of God’s unique presence was terrifying to the people of Israel. They trembled and begged Moses, “speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.” So much is on display here that contrasts God’s power and goodness with man’s frailness and evil, but it thrills the contrite soul that when God chose to reveal Himself, that He chose to reveal His nature to forgive and to save.
To sum it up simply: a church with a big God has little problems, but a church with a little God has big problems.