A PEOPLE FOR HIS NAME
And after they had become silent, James answered, saying, “Men and brethren, listen to me: Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name.
This passage describes one of the great turning points in church history. After this decision and acknowledging of the work of God amongst the gentiles by the Apostle Paul, the church world would be radically different. The main focus of the work of God moves from Jerusalem to the new hubs of Christianity being formed in the gentile nations. This was the beginning of God’s plan of world evangelization, surely the whole world will be filled with the glory of the Lord. In this phrase we see the focus of what God was after. He wanted to set apart a people from the nations of the world that would bare witness to the glory of His grace. This is what He meant by the phrase “to take out of them a people for His name”. People who had been bound by sin and idolatry were suddenly experiencing the life changing grace of God, the testimony of their changed lives would bring great glory and honor to the name of Jesus. Matthew Henry pointed this out in his comments on this verse.
“that the glory of God was the end of it: it was to take out of them a people for his name, who should glorify him, and in whom he would be glorified. As of old he took the Jews, so now the Gentiles, to be to him for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory, Jer. 13:11. Let all the people of God remember that therefore they are thus dignified in God, that God may be glorified in them.”
Understanding this, that God is setting apart a people by His grace to display His grace, will help you understand what life is all about, it will help you understand what your life is all about. Can you see the possibilities this brings about? The worst things that you have gone through, no matter what caused those things, provide an opportunity for God to be glorified in you and through you. If you have been bound by substance abuse and addiction, your deliverance and happiness in God provides an opportunity for God’s glory to be seen in your new life. Maybe you were abused or mistreated as a child, your emotional healing and victorious life will also bring glory to the name of the Lord. For you, maybe your trouble was a broken marriage. The dreams you had for your life came crashing down bringing heart break and misery into your life. As the Lord brings you out of depression into His life of unspeakable joy, the name of the Lord is glorified. Like James said in today’s passage, the Lord has taken out a people from a life of misery, heart break, and sin into a life of wholeness and contentment in Him. Today, God is glorified in your testimony, not only is He glorified but you are satisfied.