5 January 2003
1 Corinthians 10:31, Psalm 73:24-26 & John 17:22
The Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English:
Q.1. What is man’s primary purpose?
A. Man’s primary purpose is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
1. What is the meaning of the word “end” in this question?
The word means an aim, a purpose, an intention. It will be noted that the word “end” is qualified by the word “chief”. Thus it is noted that man will have other purposes in this life, but his primary purpose should be to glorify God. This is in keeping with the purpose for which man was made. It is when we are alienated from God that we have the wrong end or purpose in view.
2. What does the word “glorify” mean in this question?
Calvin tells us that the “glory of God is when we know what He is.” In its Scriptural sense, it is struggling to set forth a divine thing. We glorify Him when we do not seek our own glory but seek Him first in all things.
3. How can we glorify God?
Augustine said, “Thou hast created us for Thyself, O God, and our heart is restless until it finds repose in Thee.” We glorify God by believing in Him, by confessing Him before men, by praising Him, by defending His truth, by showing the fruits of the Spirit in our lives, by worshipping Him.
4. What rule should we remember in regard to glorifying God?
We should remember that every Christian is called of God to a life of service. We glorify God by using the abilities He has given us for Him, though we should remember that our service should be from the heart and not simply as a duty.
5. Why is the word “glorify” placed before “enjoy” in the answer?
It is placed first because you must glorify Him before you can enjoy Him. If enjoyment was placed first, you would be in danger of supposing that God exists for man instead of men for God. If a person would stress the enjoying of God over the glorifying of God there would be danger of simply an emotional type of religion. The Scripture says, “you will fill me with joy in your presence ....” (Ps. 16:11). But joy from God comes from being in a right relationship with God, the relationship being set within the confines of Scripture.
6. What is a good Scripture to memorize to remind us of the lesson found in Question No. 1?
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God ...” (Ps. 42:1, 2a)
This reminds us of the correct relationship for the Christian, looking unto Him. It is there we find our ability to glorify Him and the resulting joy.