The Praise of God
God is supremely worthy of praise, and no engagement of man is so rewarding and filled with such pure joy as the sincere, grateful expression of praise to his God. With the proclamation of the gospel on the first Pentecost, and the happy results which attended it, we read the conclusion of the account thereof: "And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." Acts 2:46-47. We may ask what God had done, as recognized by these people, that provoked this outburst and continuation of praise toward God on their part? Certainly the news of God's redeeming love as expressed in the gift of His Son, and the assurances they enjoyed of having been redeemed by the gospel, in response to their obedience, prompted this outpouring of gratitude by them. The conscious awareness of what God offers to do, conditionally, for us when united with the knowledge we have met the conditions always brings rejoicing. This gladness breaks forth in the righteous and sensible praise of Him from whom all blessings flow. Its absence, in the life of any allegedly redeemed person impeaches the genuine ness of his conversion.
It is noteworthy that the second chapter of Acts begins by relating the fact the twelve were all together with one accord before the descent of the Holy Spirit, and that the chapter closes with a great number being added to them, all of whom were still of one accord. The Holy Spirit did not come to those who were out of accord, and those brought together by His enlightening influence, the gospel, maintained that same accord. To be in accord means that agreement and harmony characterized their relations with each other. This was possible because they were all devoted to the praise of God; His will was supreme in their hearts, and their esteem and love for each other was nurtured and sustained by the recognition, each of the others, as being heirs together of the grace of life. It is ever a tragedy when this accord fails to exist among the saints of God. Too, nothing could be more desirable than the condition as described in this passage descriptive of the early disciples. Their relation with one another was one of harmony; their relation to God was such as brought forth from their hearts an unceasing praise of Him; arid, finally, they had favor with all the people.
However much desirable the favor of people may be, it can never rightly be coveted at the expense of the favor of God. We read of those who believed, in Christ but would not confess Him because of the Pharisees, lest they be put out of the synagogue, for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. In this statement, rather than them praising God, they had regard for themselves as the objects of favor or praise; and so regarding themselves they respectively appraised the favor coming from God as less desirable than the favor or glory bestowed on them from men. There is nothing censurable in desiring the favor of men, but never should this become a consuming desire; it should ever be restrained and held within its own proper place. It is reasonable to seek to please those whose favor we covet, and when we seek overmuch the favor of men, then will we become deficient in pleasing God, and thereby forfeit His praise of us. Christians are not to glory in the flesh, but he that glorieth let him glory in the Lord. I Cor. 1:31. Christ received not glory from men, and Paul sought not glory from men. John 5:41; 1 Thess. 2:6. It will be well for us to cultivate their spirit with respect thereto, as well as in other particulars.
We are told that all flesh is as grass and the glory of man as the flower of the grass, and that the grass withers and the flower thereof falleth away; but the word of God abideth forever. This is the word which by the gospel is preached; and the preaching of the gospel is designed to bring to nought things that are and to nothing the understanding of the prudent so that no flesh shall glory in His presence.
We are said to be a chosen generation, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that we should show forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. Also, by Him (Christ) we are to offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name. (Heb. 13:15; 1 Peter 2:9). It is the peculiar prerogative of Christians to continually praise and glorify the Lord, and this being the truth we cannot afford to turn aside to give undue praise to men, nor covet such for ourselves. Finally, we are told to judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts, and thenshall every man have praise of God. That is, everyone who is entitled to praise will receive it from God. That is what we should hope for, and if we hope for it we should by patient continuance in well-doing seek for honor. glory and immortality. While so doing, let us not cease or slacken in our adoration and praise of God and Christ.
Truth Magazine I:9, pp.22-23