Glory in the church

Before the beginning, there was God and since there was God in all his many perfections, there was the outshining of those many perfections, that unapproachable light,  that we now call his glory.

The very idea of God’s glory, a reality that exists only as the product of God’s absolute perfection, is hard for us to fathom. Actually, that is the reason God created everything (including us), to magnify his glory, to give us object lessons in creation that reveal something of  his glory.

Elsewhere I have written of how the rainbow is an object lesson in God’s condescension to reveal his glory to us in smaller pieces since we cannot approach the light of his glory directly. When the light of the sun, which is relatively unapproachable, shines through the prism of water drops in the sky, the light is broken into its component colors allowing us to see some of the dimensions of the glory of the light of the sun.

To the praise of his glory

It is a humbling reality that we who have been redeemed by his grace should be the cause of praise to God’s glory. Twice Paul uses this phrase in Ephesians 1: 12 & 14.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,  so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. – Ephesians 1:11-12

Then again in verses 13-14,

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. – Ephesians 1:13-14

God’s purpose (v. 11) is to magnify his own glory. Paul states that he and the others who were the first to trust Christ and gain an inheritance in Christ, were to the praise of his glory. Then he goes on to say that to the Ephesians who also heard the word of truth and trusted christ are to the praise of his glory. Our salvation is not God’s greatest concern, his glory is. The beauty for us is that by his grace we are in Christ and his salvation working out in us produces praise of God’s glory, the outshining of his many perfections of which his glorious grace is one.

Glory in the church forever

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, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. – Ephesians 3:20-21

If we are indeed honest about ourselves, we know we are sinful beings and undeserving of the goodness of God. There is nothing in us that would bring praise to God’s glory. Even on my best days, I have to admit that I have had a heart that has departed from unadulterated passion for God. I have idols that get in the way, much to my chagrin. I put forth my half-hearted efforts to tear them down but they seem to be erected once again shortly afterwards.

The beauty of the grace of God, and why Paul calls it the glorious grace, is that it is grace, not works; it is God’s working in us that produces God’s glory. It is not of our own doing and it may not be seen clearly yet, but it is there and the Apostle writes that it will be “throughout all generations, forever and forever. Amen.”

We are being transformed “from one degree of glory to another…” – 2 Corinthians 3:18

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  • Craig McElheny

    Hello Charles,
    Interesting post. I almost have too many thoughts to know where to begin, but 1 Peter 5:1,4, & 10 are a good place to start. Verse 1 says we will partake of God’s glory. Verse 4 says it will happen when “the Chief Shepherd appears” (at the Rapture), and Verse 10 says we will be perfected in His eternal glory.
    This is a subject that I have spent many years studying, and I have come to the understanding that God’s glory is His nature. This is best illustrated in the NASB version of Hebrews 1:3 – “And He (Jesus) is the radiance of His (the Father’s) glory and the exact representation of His (the Father’s) nature,” The NKNV uses the words “express image” in place of NASB’s “exact representation.” This goes all the way back to Gen. 1:26 – “Let us make man in our image.” This is what God is setting about doing. It is a process and thus far it has taken at least five thousan years, but the result will be that we will be completed in God’s image/nature so that no lie will ever be uttered again in the universe. Nor will there ever be any sin again. I know these are strong words, but it is my conviction over the years, and the theme in my books.

  • Craig, am I understanding you correctly that you believe that when God created Adam and Eve, he did not create them in his image but that he is progressively making man into his image? And that over time we humans, collectively, will become sinless beings on this earth?

  • “God created everything (including us), to magnify his glory, to give us object lessons in creation that reveal something of his glory.” Jonathon Edwards wrote a lot about nature and he wrote that God created the natural world as an extension of His glory.

    As outdoor enthusiast I see glimpse of God’s glory and object lessons in creation all the time. Many things in nature point to an Attribute of God. Your thoughts on rainbows are poignant.

    None of us are worthy of the goodness of God. Why would He save me? It is to His glory that God would have anything to do with me or you or anyone else.

    • Pat, You are right, Jonathan Edwards did see the glory of God revealed in nature and wrote about it quite a bit. Since reading Randy Alcorn’s, Heaven, I have had a much greater appreciation for the present creation, even under the curse. When I consider that the beauty we see in this earth is but a foretaste of the beauty we will see in the New Earth I am gobsmacked.