Friday, August 28, 2009

The Glory of God

This article will appear in an upcoming edition of The Justin Texan.

Last time we considered the holiness of God and what that means to us as sinners. He is entirely separate from us and sinless. As such, He is different from us and there is a great gulf fixed between the character of God and the character of man.

Today, we finish this part of our series with a consideration of the glory of God. Just as with the term "holy", "glory" in our vernacular means something much less than what it means with God. We speak of the "glory days" of our youth: victories and accomplishments that we have attained for ourselves or a team. We also talk about the term in the sense of patriotism: a nation being glorious in its ideals and accomplishments. Our flag is even called "Old Glory."

But what is the glory of God? According to Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology (page 220f.), it has two senses: 1) honor or excellent reputation and 2) the bright light which surrounds the presence of God. They are closely tied together because the bright light which surrounds God is symbolic of the excellence of His reputation. In the first sense, the Bible says that God created mankind "for my glory" (Is. 43:7). In the latter sense, the Bible says that He dwells in unapproachable light (1 Tim. 6:15-17).

The honor of God is of infinite more importance than our puny, feeble attempts to exalt ourselves. Whether it is through physical fitness, plastic surgery, cosmetics, clothing, possessions, reputation, job position, ad infinitum; our attempts to exalt ourselves and get others to recognize our importance or worth are ridiculous. Why? Because God is the only One who is worthy of praise. Only His reputation is worthy to be known. As we've already said, all of mankind was created for His glory (not ours) and any time we deviate from that plan to seek after our glory, we sin against a powerful, holy, glorious God.

This is the essence of the first of the Ten Commandments: "You shall have no other gods before Me" (Ex. 20:3). Here in the Bible belt, it's not common to see temples to false gods with altars and incense burning (although there are some). But it is common to see self-made reputations presented as reality to those who might come and worship at our own altars of self promotion. This is as common as pennies in evangelical churches where pastors and other leaders are elevated on pedestals and his public image worshiped. The tragedy is that in places of worship, God is not worshiped, but a carefully crafted public relations image IS.

Whatever this is, it is not Biblical Christianity. A.W. Tozer said, "...everything God does is praiseworthy and deserves our deepest admiration. Whether He is making or redeeming a world, He is perfect in all His doings and glorious in all His goings forth". Friend, is this what your life looks like? Does it continually give praise, credit and glory to God or are you chasing after the applause of men for yourself? Do you deeply admire God and long to make Him appear to be great amongst others or are you living for your own accolades? If you live for yourself, please repent. Give up everything for His glory. He is worthy.

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