Glory — What’s the big deal?

 

They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.

(Isaiah 35:2)

ETL’s guest writer, Dave Gossett, invites us to consider—and be transformed by—the reality that God’s glory is not only inseparable from His attributes, but the manifestation of them. And why it matters every day of our lives.

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Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts. The whole earth is full of His glory.

(Isaiah 6:3)

This is just one example of the 376 times in the Old Testament and 230 times in the New Testament the word “glory” is found. So many usages should cause us to realize it is a very big deal. And make us want to understand as much as possible about this not so easily defined word.

Glory is God Making Himself Known

In this blog series (linked below), we’ve seen what God has revealed of Himself; His attributes. Some would say the glory of God is God displayed. The person of God is the sum of all His attributes in their infinite scope and when even one of them is manifest, His glory is displayed.

When Moses requested of God, “Please show me your glory,” God proclaimed His name, (His character):

The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth.

(Exodus 33:18, 34:6)

Reading through the Scriptures, we find that God desires to make Himself known, but also read that “no one can see God and live”. So, what has this God who ‘abounds in lovingkindness and truth’ done? He has made Himself known by putting His attributes on display; also known as manifestations of His glory.

Some may question; “Doesn’t this make God a show-off?” The answer: Yes, He is!  And we are beneficiaries of that. He is God, and—thankfully—we are not. His excellent perfections cannot be contained yet must be revealed. Perhaps this is analogous to a masterpiece, like the Mona Lisa; the handiwork of Leonardo DaVinci.  This painting is not locked in a closet. It is so extraordinary, so excellent and so perfect it is on display in a museum. And this masterpiece speaks of the brilliance and creativity of the artist.

Consider a few of the ways God displays His glory; His attributes:

In creation: The heavens are telling of the glory of God and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands (Psalm 19:1). The heavens show His omnipotence, infinitude, omniscience and wisdom. Think of the myriads of ways in which the skies reflect His handiwork!

In mankind: And whom I have created for My glory (Isaiah 43:7). We see His wisdom, omniscience, and love.

In the exodus: I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his hosts (Exodus 14:17 ESV). By parting the Red Sea, God made known His mighty power to the nations (Psalm 106:8).

In Jesus: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). What is God like? He showed us in Jesus: full of grace and truth.

In the cross: … [t]he hour has come for the son of man to be glorified (John 12:23). His mercy, justice and love were displayed.

In salvation: Every person who believes in Christ is His “workmanship” (literally, His masterpiece) created in Christ Jesus for good works. (Ephesians 2:10).  Every person that is saved by grace through faith is to the praise of the glory of His grace (see Ephesians 1:12).

In sanctification: For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:20 speaks of holiness).

In His church:  … so that the manifold wisdom of God might be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places (Ephesians 3:10).  … and to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen (Ephesians 3:21).

Glory is Transcendent

Glory speaks of transcendence. God has put eternity in the heart of man. The Creator’s world is too big for us, yet its satisfactions are too small (see Ecclesiastes 3:11). Man longs for something …something that is so much more than himself. He is awed by solar eclipses and northern lights, and all of nature. However, apart from a relationship with God, the Father of glory, man finds no ultimate satisfaction in the things of this world. We see this reality on a daily basis!

Only what God created man for—to recognize and relish in His glory—will ultimately satisfy.

However, there is a problem. Pride prevents one from seeing God. Jesus put it this way:  Blessed are the pure in heart,  for they shall see God. If we think about it, only the pure in heart want to see God. C.S. Lewis came to appreciate this, writing: “Because God and you are two things of such a kind that—if you really get into any touch with Him at all—you will in fact be humble; delightedly humble, feeling the infinite relief of having once got rid of all the silly nonsense about your own dignity which has made you restless and unhappy your whole life. God’s trying to make you humble in order to make that moment possible.” (from C.S. Lewis’ work, Mere Christianity).

Only glory can displace our pride and move us from self-centeredness to God-centeredness.

Glory is Transformative

God’s glory elicits a response. After Moses saw God’s glory pass by, he made haste to bow down and worship Him. Isaiah saw God’s glorious holiness and responded; woe is me … here I am send me. When seeing the transfigured Christ and hearing the voice from heaven, Peter, James and John fell face down to the ground and were terrified.  The shepherds in the field at the time of Jesus’ birthwere terribly frightened when the glory of the Lord shone around them.

Under the old covenant when Moses went in to speak to God, he removed the veil and the glory of God shone in his face. When he went to speak to the sons of Israel the veil covered his face, preventing the people from seeing the reflected glory (see Exodus 34:34-35). Now believers are under a new covenant and are able to behold the glory of the Lord Jesus because the veil separating man from God is removed in Christ. While we don’t see His glory in the same way as those who saw the incarnate Christ, we are given glimpses of His glory through the Holy Spirit. As we behold His image, we are transformed into the same image with ever increasing glory (2 Corinthians 3:15-18). This is the process of sanctification, the conforming of believers into the image of Jesus. In the words of Peter, we are “becoming partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:2-4).

Of course, the day is coming when Christ’s followers will experience the ultimate transformation, exactly conformed into the image of Jesus with glorious bodies (see Romans 8:28-29 and 1 John 3:2).  We will reside in God’s eternal city, described as “having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel” and where there is no need for the sun or moon “for the glory of God gives it light” (Revelation 21:11; 22-23).

Yes, God’s Glory is All Important—Now and Forever!

The glory of God is a massive topic and cannot be reduced to a simple definition. John Piper writes that although “the term ‘glory of God’ in the Bible generally refers to the visible splendor or moral beauty of God’s manifold perfections….it is an attempt to put into words what cannot be contained in words—what God is like in His unveiled magnificence and excellence.” (from his work, Desiring God).

Here is what we can know. God is, has been, and ever more will be glorified. We can see this through His creation, His Word, His marvelous and merciful interactions with fallen humanity, and inexplicable provision He has made to transform those who respond to His revelation of glory holy—as He is holy—through the redeeming blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. When man responds to that revelation of glory as befits that revelation, man is glorifying God.

And then, dear friend, we are thrilled to be doing what God created us for: Recognizing and relishing His glory, knowing ultimate satisfaction in giving glory back to Him.

– By Dave Gossett, ETL Guest Writer

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Links to this series on The ‘Who’ of God:

1st in Series:  God’s Attributes (and why they should be known and treasured)

2nd in Series:  More of God’s Attributes (and why they matter)

3rd in Series:  God of Wonders His Attributes

4th in Series:  Who is Like Our God?

5th in Series:  The Holiness of God

June

June

People Lover. Author. Blogger. Speaker. Forgiven Much & Wild About God. Learn about June's latest book on her website.

One Comment

  • Evelyn says:

    Thank you Dave for your contributions to ETL. Your Biblical insight is appreciated. To God’s glory and praise

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