- The “glory of God” is a theme which reaches from one end of the Bible to another expressing God’s purposes in all things. It is not so much an attribute of God, but the totality of who he is.
- In the Old Testament the key Hebrew word (kabod) has the sense of splendour, pomp, wealth; a root meaning is “heaviness”, hence the weight or worth of God’s character. The Greek New Testament term (doxa) indicates brightness, splendour, magnificence.
- The revelation that God gives his creatures of the depth and majesty of his character is their insight into his glory. This is something that God alone can manifest and declare.
- For a Christian, the glory of God is fully and finally known in the life of Jesus Christ. It is Jesus who reveals to us that the divine glory is supremely attractive and fully communicable to humanity. Christian discipleship is progress in the communion of the glory of Christ-likeness.
- As Jesus gave glory to his Father through the practice of the various spiritual disciplines of prayer, scripture knowledge, worship and so on, we are called to allow the glory of Christ to outwork itself in our lives according to the same pattern of life.
- The various symptoms of the crisis in Christian discipleship we have discussed in previous weeks; e.g. the neglect of prayer, the decline in Bible reading and confusion in worship, are all symptomatic of a failure of the church to abide in the glory of God as revealed in Christ.
God Glorifies Himself
- In various places the Bible describes the life of God in terms of his glory; “the God of glory” (Acts 7:2); “the Father of glory” (Eph 1:17); the Son is “the radiance of the glory of God” (Heb 1:2-3); “the Spirit of glory and of God” (1 Pet 4:14) and so on.
- In love, God lives to glorify God. In their eternal glory (John 17:5) Father, Son and Spirit glorified one another. The Father filled the Son by extolling his excellence, wonder, beauty, wisdom and goodness, and the Son reciprocated likewise. All of this was energised in the power of the Spirit of God. Each of the Persons recognised who they were through the glorifying action of the others, and with this, knew their absolute distinctiveness from each other. This involves absolute, endless passionate self – giving. Sharing glory is the essential nature of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In this circle of mutual valuing the whole Godhead gloried and was glorified.
- This has important implications for how we view God as our Creator. If God somehow needed creatures then he would be essentially deficient and unable to give himself unconditionally to us in love. This means that the only God-honouring explanation for creation is God’s desire to glorify himself through us. Through creating God wills to fully give himself; “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Rev 4:11).
- The absolute priority of God himself is plainly stated in the first of the Ten Commandments ““You shall have no other gods before me.”” (Exodus 20:3 ESV). This decree is not an expression of divine selfishness or insecurity, but a manifestation of love. For creatures to seek God’s highest good is to join with God in his seeking his own highest good, which is his glory. It is this glory which enfolds creation.
Created for Glory
- Creation originated in an eternal plan centred on Christ for “the praise of his (God’s) glorious grace” (Eph 1:6, 12, 14). The object and final goal of his plan was that, “every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them” might freely ascribe ““To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honour and glory and might forever and ever!”” (Revelation 5:13 ESV cf. Pss 72:19; 104:31; Rom 11:36; Gal 1:5; Eph 3:21; Phil 4:20; 1 Tim 1:17; 2 Ti 4:18; Heb 13:21; 1 Pet 4:11; Jude 25; Rev 1:6; 7:12).
- It is through fully offering themselves up in praise and worship for the glory of God that creatures are taken up into the self-expression of the life of their Creator.
- Whilst the “whole earth is full of his (LORD’s) glory” (Isa 6:3) and “the holy angels” dwell in glory (Luke 9:26), human beings were the glorious pinnacle of God’s creation. We exist to share in the fullness of the divine life as God shares in his life as Father, Son and Spirit (Gen 1:26-28; 1 Cor 11:7).
- At the heart of God’s plan for humanity is the gift of sonship as the way through which his glory can be enjoyed. “I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”(Isaiah 43:6-7 ESV cf. Luke 3:38).
- The vocation of the human race was “to fill the earth” (Gen 1:28) in such a way that the prophetic vision would come to pass, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14 ESV). Every dimension of human life and culture was called to radiate and reveal the glory of God through the image and likeness of God that constitutes true humanity.
- Created in glory and with the goal of glorifying God means that human beings are oriented to glory at the deepest root of their being. They must seek and have glory; this is inescapable, the only question concerns where we will seek glorification.
Lost Glory – Idolatry
- The temptation in Eden consisted in an attempt to be “like God” (Gen 3:5) without communion with God. This was an act of ultimate self-expression and self-creation. To turn away from God’s glory is to turn in on oneself as the source of all worth and honour. Such self-centredness is the opposite of the true glory of the Trinitarian God.
- The turning inwards to self is the essence of sin and the result of sin is death (Gen 2:17; Rom 6:23; Eph 2:1ff); not as an external divine punishment but through being cut off from the self-giving life of God. (Not even God can be immortal without God; the Father, Son and Spirit are eternal only in their mutual glorifying of one another.) The Fall into sin meant the departure of the true glory of God; “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23; cf. 1 Sam 4:21).
- Entry into a state of dishonour meant that human beings were driven by their passions and desires for significance (Eph 2:3; 2 Pet 1:4) to replace the lost glory of God with other sources of esteem, these are idols.
- Through the making of idols humans attempt to recreate themselves according to an image of their satisfaction. Paul describes the Fall in these terms; ““they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonouring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” (Romans 1:22-25 ESV)
- The loss of the divine splendour is not simply a consequence of human rebellion, it is also a result of God’s wrath. “I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.” (Isa 42:8). God hates idols because they cut people off from his own glorious and eternal life (Eph 4:18). God cannot tolerate idols and punishes idolaters with the removal of the illumination of his Word and Spirit (Rom 1:21; Eph 4:18).
- Sin and idolatry lead to shame, for shame is the sense of the loss of the divine glory, the attempted human solution to shame is more idolatry. This in turn leads to the outpouring of the wrath of God, which “gives people over” to more sin, shame, idolatry and so on (Rom 1:24, 26, 28cf. Ezek 36:16-18). The result is a vicious inescapable cycle that dominates human life and is utterly inescapable apart from God’s grace.
- Almost anything can become a source of value and worth (an idol) apart from acknowledging the grace and gifts of God e.g. marriage, family, health, wealth, education, beauty, popularity, ministry. In general, the better the divine gift the more powerful the idol because of its seeming ability to deaden the shame.
- Jesus explained that discipleship was impossible where human beings sought a source of glory other than the revelation of the one God, “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? (John 5:44). “Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.” (John 12:37-43).
- Only in the life of Jesus do we see the final outcome of a consistent life of discipleship that trusts in God alone as the source of all glory.
Jesus the Glory of God
- The history of Israel is punctuated by various manifestations of the divine glory (theophanies). The glory of God accompanied Israel in their desert wanderings (Ex 13:21; 16:10 etc.), Moses prayed “show me your glory” (Ex 33:18) and received insight into the divine splendour. The cloud of glory filled the tabernacle (Ex 40:34-35) and the temple of Solomon at its opening (2 Chron 5:13-14).
- Israel’s history however was one of repeated rebellion against the glory of God (cf. Rom 9:1-5). Neither the initial exodus generation nor Moses were allowed to enter the Promised Land because they turned away from the LORD. Solomon turned to idolatry, so that the covenant curses came upon the temple and nation, the LORD withdrawing his cloud of glory and sending the nation into exile (2 Chron 7:19-22; Ezek 10-11). When the second temple was opened the glory of God did not return.
- In Jesus however the glory returns. “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a Father’s only son, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14); “but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (Heb 1:2- 3). There is nothing to Jesus but the glory of God.
- Because the Son of God “emptied himself” (Phil 2:7), “became poor” (2 Cor 8:9), and took on “the likeness of sinful flesh” (Rom 8:3), the flesh and blood humanity of Jesus (Heb 2:14-15) has become the place of the fullness of the manifestation of the glory of God for us. He is “the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15).
- Since Jesus is the site of revelation, the glory of the other Persons of the Trinity can only be understood in terms of the closest possible relationship with the Son; the Father is“the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory” (Eph 1:17); Paul places Jesus and the Spirit in the closest possible relationship when he says, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor 3:18)
- All the Old Testament manifestations of God’s glory come to a climax at Jesus’ baptism as the Christ; “Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22 ESV). The descent of the Spirit and the pleasure of the Father signify an impartation of the glory of the reign of God. This glory is manifest in all the words and works of Jesus.
- When tempted in the wilderness Jesus was not the least bit interested in any honours that took him away from the Father. “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”” (Matthew 4:8-10 ESV).
- The dominion which Jesus exercised on earth in overcoming all destructive powers manifested the divine splendour in a way that recapitulated the commission given to Adam and Eve to fill the earth with the presence of God (Gen 1:26-28). The Gospels record how the crowds “glorified God” as “they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing.” (Matt 15:31 cf. Mark 9:6-8). The purposes of the miracles of Jesus was to communicate the glory of God, “Jesus did this, the first of his signs, on Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” (John 2:11).
- Jesus only ever sought the glory of his Father; “I do not receive glory from people.” (John 5:41 ESV). “I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge….“If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. (John 8:50, 54). Christ never entrusted himself to the whims of human popularity for he knew the untrustworthiness of the heart of man; “Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.” (John 2:23-25 ESV cf. 7:24 cf. 1 Sam 16:7). “Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.” (John 6:26 ESV)
- The glory manifest in Jesus’ life and works during his itinerant ministry was however external to the life of those who followed him. When, for example, Christ’s disciples argued about who was the greatest (Mark 9:34) and requested thrones on the right and left of Jesus (Mark 10:35-37) they were still understanding glory as a realm outside themselves which did not require a fundamental transformation of their own personal lives. Such a transformation would require their participation in “the final renewal of all things” (Matt 19:28) that could only come to pass through the humiliation and exaltation of the Son of God. The power of the Spirit could only be an internally transforming reality in men from the time of Christ’s own glorification; “the Spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:39 cf. 14:17).
- Jesus is fully conscious that humanity can only be restored by his return to the eternal glory of God in heaven; “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” (John 17:5). “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:24). The desire expressed by Jesus in these words is completely at one with the eternal and absolute desire of the Father and the Spirit. Through the incarnation of the Son of God, God desires and wills our glory just as much as his own.
- For his humanity to be elevated to the supreme glory of God Jesus must endure a tremendous struggle within his soul on the eve of the cross, ““Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”” (John 12:27-28); “When he (Judas) had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.(John 13:31 – 32).
- The agony of Gethsemane involves the obedience of Jesus taking “the cup”; ““Abba, Father, all things are possible for you; remove this cup from me, but not what I will, but what you will.””” (Mark 14:36). To take up the cup means that Jesus must endure the fullness of the wrath of God against those who have abandoned his glory (Ps 75:8; Isa 51:17ff; Jer 25:15ff; Lam 4:21; Ezek 23:31ff; Hab 2:16; Zech 12:2).
- Paul offers us insight into the wisdom of the cross by saying that “amongst the mature” he teaches “a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (1 Cor 2:6-8). The cross is the climactic demonstration of God’s true worth because it is through embracing the absolute unconditional loving sacrifice of the loss of glory that Jesus reveals he is the true Lord of glory.
- Jesus’ own progressive obedience to the Father (John 15:10; Heb 5:8) was motivated by the supreme attractiveness of being conformed into the fullness of the Father’s likeness and so increasingly revealing him to the world. The cost of the cross would be that as the bearer of the wages of sin (John 1:29; 2 Cor 5:21) the Son must be cut off from all the worth, value, dignity and majesty of the Father in order that his glory be finally revealed.
- It is in going without the conscious testimony and manifestation of the pleasure of the Father, ““My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”” (Mark 15:34 ESV), that Jesus reveals that he loves the Father for himself, and not for any personal pleasure or reward.
- In fully honouring the Father by absolute obedience at limitless cost, Jesus glorifies God has he has always deserved, and he does this on our behalf. The result is the exaltation of “the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5), “to the highest place” (Eph 1:20-21; Phil 2:9). Jesus now shares, not only in his deity but also in his humanity, the glory of the one true God; “the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily in him” (Col 1:19; 2:9).
- After his resurrection Jesus began to teach his disciples that the way of lowliness is the pathway to glory, ““Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”” (Luke 24:46). This must not be understood as some sort of “martyr theology”, whereby Jesus receives an external reward for his suffering on behalf of the rule of God conceived as an act of raw power. Jesus glorification is his completed personal union with the Father in heaven in the power of the Spirit (1 Pet 3:18 1 Tim 3:16). His Lordship is the expression of his oneness with God (Acts 5:31).
- When Christ proclaims to his disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matt 28:18), he speaks from a place of continuing abiding in his Father; not from a position of elevated egoism. He will “bring many sons to glory” (Heb 2:10) as an ever faithful Son dependent upon the will of God (1 Cor 15:26-28). To complete this task Jesus needs the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
- “He (the Spirit of truth) will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:14- 15). In the same manner that Jesus glorified the Father, the Spirit is glorified in glorifying Jesus through the preaching of the gospel.
- The gospel is not some mere form of words, is the is the vehicle of God’s own self-glorification in humanity, “But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 ESV)
- The three persons of the Trinity glorify each other in complete unity in the work of adoption/salvation; ““For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom 8:15-16); “God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts crying “Abba! Father!” (Gal 4:6).
The Glory of Discipleship
- Paul sees discipleship through the lens of increasing Christ-likeness; “And all of us, with unveiled faces, beholding the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being changed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Cor 3:18). The foundational Christian motivation is to be like Jesus and reveal him to the world. To be a disciple means to be like Jesus, and the only way to be conformed to the likeness of Christ (Rom 8:29) is to glorify Jesus as Jesus glorified the Father. This means to be sent forth by Jesus in the power of the Spirit as Jesus was sent forth by the Father, “Jesus said to them, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any they are retained.”” (John 20:21-23). The mission of God is the glorifying of God in all things.
- This will most definitely involve a commitment to the works of Christ (Matt 25:31-46; John 14:12; Eph 2:10); preaching the gospel, praying for the sick, casting out demons, feeding the hungry, assisting the weak and needy and so on.
- Works alone however do not necessarily bring glory to God; Jesus warned that there would be miracle workers and exorcists to whom he would say at the judgement, “I never knew you” (Matt 7:19-21). Paul likewise understood that sacrifice without love was fruitless, “If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Cor 13:3).
- The works of Christ can only be done if Jesus himself lives in us by faith (John 6:28-29; Eph 3:17) and radiates his life through all we do and say. “For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Cor 4:6).
- When Paul uses the expression, “the face of Jesus Christ”, he means the character and motivation of Jesus. Jesus motivates us to follow him in the same way as he was motivated to follow the Father. The supreme attractiveness of Jesus and the joy of communicating him to others will definitely be tested by suffering. Such suffering will have physical and emotional components (2 Cor 4:8-12; 6:4-10; 11:23-29; Eph 3:13; Col 1:24; Rev 13:10 etc.), there is however a deeper test.
- As there was a time when it seemed like God hid his face from his Son (Ps 22:1ff; Mark 15:34; cf. Isa 59:1-2) there must be times when it seems like the Lord has abandoned us. Paul describes one such occasion; “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death.”
Paul was not afraid of suffering nor of dying; his anguish was for a totally different reason. The apostle was so united to “the fellowship with Christ’s sufferings” (Phil 3:10) that like Jesus he felt forsaken for it seemed like God was no longer intervening through his life for the salvation of the nations.) However, as Jesus was raised to life so was Paul, “But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.”(2 Corinthians 1:8-10 ESV). God was glorified through the apostle, but only through what seemed like dereliction and abandonment.
- There is no other way to share in the glory of God in Christ than through tribulation; “if children then heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”(Romans 8:15-17 ESV), and, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV).
- As Jesus could only return to the eternal glory of the Father through the purification of suffering, it is only through suffering for Christ’s sake that a sense of the infinite glory of God penetrates the deepest root of our being. Our awareness of God as the Father of glory (the faithful Father of our glory), will be in proportion to our suffering/dying with Christ. “ For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” (2 Corinthians 4:11 ESV). This involves a revelation given by the Spirit in the context of afflictions; “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” (1 Pet 4:14)
- Suffering as a disciple is absolutely indispensible to the glorification of God; for anguish alone tests and sanctifies the deepest motivation of the heart; “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Rev 2:10); “for a little while you may have to suffer grief through various kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith, of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire, may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Pet 1:7).
- This process of growing in glory involves holiness of life, “Holiness is glory concealed; glory is holiness revealed.” (Oehler). Only the holy ones (“saints”) know glory through the inner transformation of character. “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.” (Eph 1:18).
The key to the manifestation of glory is holiness; holiness always reveals and releases glory, and where glory is released eternal value, worth and dignity are experienced as a share in the life of God himself.
- Paul prayed earnestly, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph 3:20-21), and he had a clear vision of how his prayer would be answered, through the offering up of his life. “I am being poured out as a libation upon the sacrifice and service of your faith” (Phil 2:17 cf. 2 Tim 4:6).
- At the end of the book of Revelation, written to a persecuted and numerically tiny Church, that “the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it (the holy city)” (Revelation 21:24). Since throughout Revelation the language of kingship is applied to the followers of Jesus, this is a statement about our eternal destiny (1:6; 5:10; 22:5 cf. 20:4-6). Christians are the ones who will bring glory into the holy city. Forever and ever our lives will glorify God through Jesus Christ. These insights have tremendous significance for the present life of the church.
- Our heavenly future is significantly continuous with our present obedience as disciples of Jesus, as Christ brought glory to the Father through his overcoming of hostile powers, we are called to glorify God in every pursuit of life against the pressures of the world, the flesh and the devil. In marriage, family, work, recreation, ministry and all human pursuits our uppermost and integrating motivation must be the glory of God.
- The glory of God is the great unifying reality in the life of a Christian disciple; “So whether you eat and drink or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31).
- Since only God can glorify himself, the glory of God is his own sovereign work in conforming his children to the likeness of his beloved Son.
- This means that the attempts of the various streams of the contemporary Church to attain honour, wealth, recognition and personal esteem by visible human means, such as ideology, miracles, heightened spiritual experiences, adherence to authentic tradition, works of social justice or correct doctrine, are fundamentally flawed.
- The sovereign act of God’s self-glorifying is not an act of sheer power but a share in his life story. God’s sole way of being loved for himself is through applying the work of the cross to our lives.
- The wisdom of God in glorifying humanity is to allow us to be tested in every area of life for human approval and recognition are very real lures whilst we remain in this perishing body. Submission to such temptations blinds us to the lasting glory that alone can be given by the immortal God through Jesus Christ.
- The true glory that comes from obedience to the divine testing is eternal and imperishable and imparts a fearlessness that embraces rejection, despises shame and is willing to face death for the sake of Christ (Heb 12:1-2).
- We must each answer questions such as these, “Have I put success in family, health, marriage, ministry, finances etc. before the motivation of bringing glory to God alone?” “When in need do I pray for deliverance from anxiety and tribulation, or for the final purpose of glorifying God?”
- The holy ones of scripture repeatedly ascribe eternal glory to their Creator and Redeemer “forever and ever. Amen” (Pss 72:19; 104:31; Rom 11:36; Gal 1:5; Eph 3:21; Phil 4:20; 1 Tim 1:17; 2 Ti 4:18; Heb 13:21; 1 Pet 4:11; Jude 25; Rev 1:6; 5:13; 7:12). This alone is the meaning and assurance of eternal life.
“The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:7-11 ESV)