|Vol. 14 No. 6 June 2012||
In April of this year, I had the privilege of being the guest speaker for the first Ladies’ Day program at the Riverside congregation in Kerrville, Texas. The coordinator and I had been talking by phone and corresponding through email for months. It was truly a thrill to finally meet her and all the good sisters that had been working for so long to make the preparations for that day a reality!
Their theme, the title of this article, was quite a challenge for me. After much prayer and many presentation revisions, I realized addressing the glory of God and Christ shining through us was monumental. The ways that Deity can shine through humanity are literally countless.
W.E. Vine defines God’s glory as the nature and acts of God in self-manifestation. The American Heritage Dictionary defines glory as exalted honor, praise or distinction; renown, adoration, thanksgiving. Psalm 150:2 proclaims, “Praise Him for His mighty acts; praise Him according to His excellent greatness!” What are His mighty acts? Creation alone announces the glory of God!
The nature and acts of God are affirmed in Jeremiah 51:15-16. “He has made the earth by His power; He has established the world by His wisdom, and stretched out the heaven by His understanding. When He utters His voice — there is a multitude of waters in the heavens: He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightnings for the rain; He brings the wind out of His treasuries.”
What makes God the Great I AM? What makes Him worthy of distinction, renown and thanksgiving? God is Omnipresent (all pervading/universal). God is Omnipotent (all powerful/unstoppable). God is Omniscient (all knowing/complete and unlimited awareness). God is infallible (perfect/flawless). Because of these unparalleled traits, God has the right to rule, and His rule is always right because it is impossible for Him to ever be wrong!
Why is Jesus Christ equally worthy of our praise, honor and adoration? Jesus Christ the Lamb of God took away the sin of the world when He was sacrificed on the cross. “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself …having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:19-20). He was the Word and He was in the beginning with God (John 1:1-4). John writes in verse 14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Robert R. Taylor, Jr. wrote the book Studies in the Gospel of John. He makes these observations regarding the Word becoming flesh. “This is the thrilling narrative of when God the Word became Son of man and Son of God with perfection in blending humanity and Deity. He became as human as Mary, his mother, and stayed as divine as His Heavenly Father… John, the writer, and His peers witnessed the glory of God’s only begotten Son full of grace (favor) and truth (He was its very personification) (John 14:6)” (14).
Colossians 1:15-18 tells us that Jesus Christ is the precise image of the invisible God, being the Firstborn over all creation. Verses 16-17 reveal, “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth… All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” In Revelation 5:11-12, John pronounced that he looked and heard the voice of many angels around the throne saying, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”
Do we know why God created us? God created us because He wanted to, so He did. God does whatever He pleases (Psalm 115:3). In Revelation 4:11 John wrote, “You are worthy, O LORD, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.” Psalm 102:18 asserts, “This will be written for the generation to come, that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD.”
How does God’s glory shine through us, the height of His creation? We glorify Him with proper reverence. We glorify Him as we worship Him in spirit and truth. We glorify Him by our words and through our actions. We glorify Him when we recognize Him as the sovereign, supreme and absolute ruler! These assertions are made in Psalm 29:1-2. “Give unto the LORD, O you mighty ones; give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.”
God was glorified through the eye of faith by many whose focus remained on Him through every experience they faced. Jehoshaphat, one of the good kings of the kingdom of Judah, was facing a most terrifying battle with the enemies of God’s people. As he prayed for direction and deliverance, his trust in God was noteworthy. “O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You” (2 Chronicles 20:12).
Christ is also glorified though the eye of faith by many whose focus remained on Him through every experience they faced. Hebrews 11 has been described as a celebration of the lives of those who had absolute, obedient, trusting faith! This inspired description is so poignant with meaning that Hebrews 12:1-2 begins most emphatically. “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”
We must choose to live out our lives in the way that reflects His transforming power! Paul says it best in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed in the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (ESV).
Paul told the church of the Thessalonians that he and his fellow workers were always praying for them that their God would make them worthy of His calling and would fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by His power. He then stated the reason for making that prayerful request in 2 Thessalonians 1:12. “So that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
In one of our bulletins in 2010, there was the article, Shaped for Glory; the author was unknown. Part of the article read, “Some of you may be going through terrible, troublesome times. You may be experiencing some heart-breaking sorrow. Or perhaps you are enduring some painful physical illness. Or it may be something else — maybe too excruciating to talk to anyone about. But hold to your faith. Do not let your difficulties get you down. They are only temporary. Glory [emphasis added] is coming. It is the harsh blow to the outward man that often brings the greatest strength to the inner man. Keep praying. Keep believing. The Master has to do some shaping of us down here so we will fit up there.”
That is so true! It brought to mind Paul’s message to the church in 2 Corinthians 4:8-10. “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.”
It would be of the greatest benefit as we read our Bibles, for us to pause and reflect just how often the word “glorify” and its derivative is mentioned as it pertains to God and Jesus Christ. In Revelation 5:13, John the apostle said he heard every creature which is in heaven and on the earth… saying, “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” May their glory always shine through us!