Category: God, Word: GLORY
May 8, 2015 | by: Kendell Easley, prepared by Dave Maniquis | 0 Comments
Posted in: 52 Words
Who is God? What is He like? Thinking about these questions has driven the greatest thinkers and philosophers of the ages. In today’s world, the issue—on the popular level at least—seems to be propelled by two notions. On one side is the idea that God is whatever or whoever the individual makes Him (or It or Her) out to be. Everybody’s idea is equally valid. Do you want God to be like “the Force” of Star Wars? Fine, even though there’s a dark side. Do you want God to be like a genie dispensing health and wealth for the asking? If this works for you, go for it. The other notion is driven by a growing awareness of the religion of Islam, which worships only one God. Many people have assumed that the God of Islam (Allah) and the God of Christianity must be identical. Thus the question arises, is the God of Islam the Father of Jesus Christ? Are Muslims and Christians—both claiming to worship the only deity there is—serving the same God?
Christians begin with the Scriptures, not with popular culture or with someone’s experiences of “God.” Follow the study of these seven terms that point to the true identity of the God of the Bible. In particular, note the last study, on the Trinity. If, as orthodox Christians have always affirmed, God eternally exists in three Persons—Father, Son, and Spirit—then the answer to the two questions at the end of the previous paragraph must be a resounding no.
I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice sounded like the roar of mighty waters, and the earth shone with His glory….Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the inner court, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. (Ezekiel 43:2,5)
DEFINITION: God’s glory is the display of His greatness, goodness, and beauty so that persons are aware of Him through sensory experiences such as sight and sound. To glorify God means to respond to His revealed glory in the ways Scripture teaches, such as praise, love, joy and obedience.
Glory in the Old Testament usually represents a word meaning heaviness or weight (Hebrew kabod). Not surprisingly therefore, human beings have often recognized God’s glory in weighty or massive appearances: snow-capped mountains, starry skies, roaring oceans, or a splendid house of worship such as Solomon’s temple or a medieval cathedral. God’s majesty or worthiness was particularly revealed when His presence accompanied the Israelites from Egypt. When the cloud rested on Sinai, Moses saw God’s glory (Ex 24:15-18). That glory was also associated with the tabernacle in the wilderness and the Jerusalem temple (Ex 40:34-35; 2 Ch 7:1-3). Many Jewish sources used the term shekinah (meaning “that which dwells,” but not found in Hebrew Scripture) to refer especially to the manifested presence of God.
In the New Testament, the Greek word for glory is doxa, as in the title of the classic hymn, “The Doxology” (literally, “a word of glory”). In the Gospels God’s glory was seen by shepherds at Jesus’ birth and by the disciples throughout His ministry (Lk 2:9; Jn 1:14). Jesus’ death and resurrection displayed the glory of God (Jn 12:23-28; Lk 24:26). The second coming of Jesus will powerfully reveal God’s glory (Mk 8:38).
The Epistles teach that the glory of Christ and the glory of God are one and the same. The implications for followers of Christ are astounding. Paul told the Corinthians, “God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness’—He has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Co 4:6). Thus, in the original creation, God’s glory was manifested by the creation of light. Now in the new creation—sinners made into saints—God’s glory has been experienced in human hearts, formerly dark places, “in the face of Jesus Christ.”
Throughout the ages Christians have believed that God does all things for His glory. The logic is simply this: because God is the greatest, best, and most beautiful Being, then the most wonderful thing He can do is display Himself. This, in turn, means that human beings who have truly experienced His glory can’t help but respond positively. To glorify God is to attach weight or worthiness to Him—and then to respond with all one’s might (see Ps 150). One of the great documents of English speaking Christians, The Westminster Confession, famously stated, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Paul writes, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s Glory (1 Co 10:31).
REFLECTION: Which displays of God’s greatness, goodness, and beauty have moved you the most? How can you be more intentional about glorifying God day by day? Do you enjoy God? How?
PRAYER: Lord of glory, You have shown your greatness in all Your creation. You have revealed Your goodness through Jesus Christ. Your beauty is seen in all that You are and do. Teach us Your servants to glorify You through all our days unto eternity. Amen.
Dave Maniquis is a Teaching Elder at Restoration Church. He holds a BA in History from Rutgers University and an MA in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. He enjoyed a 23-year career in the U.S. Government, working and traveling extensively in Western and Eastern Europe. He has been a Christian for most of his adult life and has been involved in church planting, overseas as well as here in Port Orange, teaching the Bible and speaking into others’ lives with the Gospel. He is married to Maureen and they have two wonderful sons, Dylan and Evan.