The Glory of God

Posted under The Rectory Bulletin | Westminster Confession of Faith

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)

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. (Revelation 4:11)

Glory is a wonderfully difficult to define word! What is glory? Can you see it? How do you recognise it? When we speak of the glory of God, or giving God glory, what on earth is meant?

The Hebrew word used for glory is helpful here, as it carries a range of meanings. At its core is the idea of weight, of heaviness. This develops into ideas of things being serious (we might way weighty) and impressive. It carries ideas of something being impressive or great. It’s the sort of thing which stops you in your tracks. And makes you think.

When applied to God, we can then see that God’s glory is closely linked to his power and his being. It almost like his holiness has been made weightily real before you, and is almost oppressive in its intensity. You can see this in the description of the tabernacle: “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.” (Exodus 40:34–35).

This holiness is so gloriously present that it puts our own efforts into the shade. Isaiah, after his vision of the throne room of God where the seraphim cried out: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” said “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:3-6)

When we give glory to God, we are giving him the weighty seriousness he deserves. God’s glory means he shouldn’t be taken lightly, or dismissed with a brief “I’m sure God wouldn’t mind”. People get nervous when the Queen enters the room. How much more the King of Kings!

Abiding in God

This is how the Christian bears fruit which glorify God. As Jesus I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. (John 15:1) - The practice of abiding in Christ is a lifelong task, something which deepens and becomes more rich over time. This is how the Christian bears fruit which glorify God. As Jesus says: “apart from me you can do nothing”. As Jesus warns: “if anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned”. The soil of Christ is rich indeed. Christian - put down your roots!

A Most Loving God

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. (1 John 4:8–9) - So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (1 John 4:16) - This is what love truly looks like, it is not simply an emotion or a feeling but active and reconciling. It is the means by which God brings forgiveness, and restores sinful humans to a holy God.

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