What do you know about the glory of God? The word glory is used in regard to fame, honour, wealth and reputation. With mankind glory is something we seek, but with God it is inherent. It is important for us to know what the glory of God actually is, how to partake of that glory and how to give God the glory to which He is entitled
He is entitled to be acknowledged for what He is – as our great and powerful creator, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure (purpose) they are and were created.” (Revelation 4:11).
Manifestations of Glory
God’s glory is seen in what He does, “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever.” (Romans 11:36). It can be seen in the sunsets He creates and the vast expanse of the universe that He continually lays out before us right down to the microscopic forms of life and beauty that scientists are continually discovering.
His glory is manifested to us in spectacular ways, “The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.” (Psalm 97:6). John saw the glory of God in his vision of the new Jerusalem, “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” (Revelation 21:23). Also, “And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 22:5). Both the Father and son have that same glory.
Christ who is the express image of his Father has a brilliant countenance that shines like the sun, “His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters... ...and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.” (Revelation 1:14-16). John described in physical terms the spectacularly powerful spirit beings that he saw.
When on Mount Sinai God’s glory was described as a 'devouring fire', “And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.” (Exodus 24:17). And when Moses returned from being in His presence the skin of his face shone so brightly that they put a veil over it (Exodus 34:29-35 also Hebrews 12:29).
God’s Glory is what He is!
When God said, “I AM that I AM” (Exodus 3:14) He was saying that His true glory is in what he is! The physical manifestations of His glory reflect what He is. And what he does is glorious because of what He is!
He is good, “Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” (Psalm106:1).
He is right, “I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.” (Psalm 119:75).
He is true. “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.” (Psalm 119:160).
He is just, “Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.” (Psalms 89:14).
God is righteous because everything He says, or does is right, true, good and just.
His righteousness sets Him apart from mankind. No human being is righteous like God, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10). Everyone has fallen short of the glory of God, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23).
What sets God apart is His inherent righteousness - His moral purity, “…God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness.” (Isaiah 5:16).
Notice also that God is holy, “Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the LORD our God is holy.” (Psalm 99:9). And He is spirit, “God is a Spirit:”(John 4:24). The Holy Spirit is not a third person - it is the very essence, the mind and nature of God Himself. He is a morally pure spirit being who is set apart by His righteous nature. That is what He meant when He said, “I am that I am”. His righteous Holy Spirit sets Him apart - it is His glory! The glory of God is what He is andis manifested in what He does.
The Hebrew word kabod translated as 'glory' in the Old Testament according to the New Bible Dictionary [Second Edition], “...denotes the revelation of God's being, nature and presence to mankind, sometimes with physical phenomena”.
The Holy Spirit which is His divine righteous nature is also found in Christ. In the New Testament the Greek word 'doxa', translated as 'glory', is used to describe the revelation of the character and presence of God in the Person and the work of Jesus Christ, “Who being the brightness of his (God's) glory, and the express image of his person,” (Hebrew 1:3).
When Jesus Christ lived on earth those who knew him saw the same righteous nature of the Father in him, “And the Word was made 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.” (John 1:14). That was because the same Holy Spirit, that is the glory of the Father, is also the glory in Christ, “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?” (John 14:10). The very essence, mind and righteous nature of the Father dwells in the Son. They are both holy and both spirit – they are Holy Spirit and have the same righteous nature that sets them apart from mankind – it is their glory!
God’s Glory in Man
The word ‘holy’ also implies devotion to a purpose. God has a purpose and that is to create mankind in His image, or likeness, so we can share in His glory for all eternity, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:”(Genesis 1:26). Although mankind has been created physiaclly in God's image, we have still to be perfected to His spiritual image. We are to become holy, “...it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (I Peter 1:16). And we are to eventually be resurrected to spirit, “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body... ... In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (I Corinthians 15:42:44, 52).
Righteousness can sustain life for all eternity, but unrighteousness can cannot possibly be sustained eternally. It will inevitably end in sorrow death and destruction. Anything that deviates from God’s righteousness is unrighteous, “To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life; But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil,” (Romans 2:7-9). This makes God’s glory more precious than any physical thing of value. Those who seek God’s glory will be led to eternal life.
When Adam and Eve were beguiled by Satan, who told them that they could become like God by taking upon themselves the authority to judge what is right and wrong, they deviated from God’s righteousness and corrupted their nature with unrighteousness. It became a mixture of good and evil (Genesis 3:5) and we have inherited that corrupt human nature.
Instead of giving glory to God, man “changed the truth of God into a lie,” and gave glory to animals, stone and wood. They “…worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator.” (Romans 1:25) and “…changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” (Romans 1:23). Because they lost sight of the righteousness which is the glory of God, they became unrighteous. The whole first chapter of Romans shows the depravity to which those who reject God's righteousness can descend.
There is a glory of fame and fortune that appeals to the corrupted human nature - it is short lived and temporary, “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:” (I Peter 1:24). Even the glory of this so-called great civilisation that man has built over the millennia, which is symbolised in the Bible as the city of Babylon, will end in destruction, “And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.” (Isaiah13:19). Because man's civilisation was developed in unrighteousnes it cannot possibly last forever, “Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.” (Revelation 18:21).
Even by strict obedience to the law mankind cannot attain the glory of God’s righteousness, “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20). They followed the letter of the law and could not see the spiritual intent of the law.
Receiving God’s Glory
God's glory can be imparted to mankind. We are to be crowned in righteousness (II Timothy 4:8). The only way to receive the glory of God and inherit His promise of eternal life is to have faith in Him, trusting that that He is the source of true righteousness and that He alone is right, good, true and just. Then repent of our own unrighteousness and receive His Spirit, which produces His righteousness in us by transforming the mind so that it becomes like God’s, “…be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)
When believers are baptised they receive a portion God’s Spirit, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Spirit)” (Acts 2:38). Through Christ the Holy Spirit, which is the essence, mind and nature of God, is given to those who believe so they can become like God, “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:” (John 17:22). When he spoke to his disciples before his death Christ said he would send them a 'Comforter' (the Holy Spirit) which he also called the 'spirit of truth', and said, “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.” (John 14:20). The same righteousness, which is God’s glory is in Christ and can also be transferred to you.
As the Father dwells in Christ through the Holy Spirit so does Christ dwell in those who receive the Spirit, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:” (John 17:20-22). The Holy Spirit makes them one with God.
From that small portion of God's Spirit the same godly characteristics that are the glory of God in the both the Father and Christ can be developed in the believer. Those characteristics are the fruit of the Spirit, “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;” (Ephesians 5:9). Through the transformation that takes place over time as they are led by the Spirit they come to partake in God's glory, “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” (I Peter 5:10).
With God's Spirit we become holy - set apart according to God’s purpose, “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (I Peter 1:16). By bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit we bring the glory to God, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit;” (John 15:8). We are living evidence of the existence of God and His magnificent purpose for mankind, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” (I Peter 2:9). That light is His glory and we come out of the darkness of this world into the light of that glory. We will be both holy and spirit, being proof of God's glory for the world to see in ages to come, “And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” (Isaiah 40:5).
That glory is described by John in terms things that man considers precious, “I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal… ...And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.” (Revelation 21:9-21). Also, “Thou shalt also be crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.” (Isaiah 62:3). But we know God's glory is far more precious than these because it is the very essence of God Himself which gives and sustains eternal life.
How We Glorify God
We are told to, “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name.” (I Chronicles 16:29). How do we give the glory to God that he deserves? Rather than seeking the fame and fortune, wealth, power and status of this world which is short lived, we should seek the type of righteousness that sustains eternal life, “To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life.” (Romans 2:7). That is far more valuable than any type of physical wealth.
We glorify God by what we become, by having the same mind which should reflect in our behaviour toward God and toward each other. Through a righteous mind led by God's Spirit we live in His righteousness and what we do and say will glorify God, “be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.” (Romans 15:5-7).
It is the destiny of humanity to be the express image of Jesus Christ who is in turn the express image of His Father, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:13).
In that state we will glorify God with our whole being (mind, body and spirit), “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (I Corinthians 6:20). We will give God the glory by worshipping Him, “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” (Psalm 29:2).
The greatest compliment we can pay God is reflect His righteous glory, “But we all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18). We will give God glory by reflecting His righteousness. Those who seek His righteousness will be filled with it, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).
Eventually God’s plan of salvation will be completed and His glory shall shared by all who exist, “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” (I Corinthians 15:28).
Our glory will be in what we become. The Holy Spirit is the very essence, mind and righteous nature of God that is His glory and with which He can perfect us in His image and likeness to the fullness of the stature of His son Jesus Christ. With the Holy Spirit we can share in the richness of His great glory, which is far more precious than any wealth, fame, power or status that be attained in this world. Created in God’s image and we shall be crowned in His glory for all eternity.