THE REAL MEANING OF THE GLORY OF GOD

THE REAL MEANING OF THE GLORY OF GOD

It’s tempting to describe God in superlative terms. Common appellations include the words magnificent, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscent. God does indeed possess these qualities, but they fall far short of actually describing God’s glory.

Being limited to this world and without access to heaven except possibly in some extremely rare and predominantly life-threatening circumstances, we have little understanding of God’s domain. But we do have His Word, and through that Word we can catch glimpses of heaven’s treasures. Among these jewels that Scripture points to are vignettes of God’s character – things that He seems to consider to be of the utmost importance. God’s apparent character suggests that His glory consists of qualities quite different than the superlatives we like to trot out when we worship Him.

The true glory of God is His selfless, noble love as John declared in 1 John 3:16 and 4:7 and 8:

“By this perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”

“Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”

Phrased differently, the real glory of God is His willingness to give up what the secular world might think of as His glory, His superlative features, in favor of love, to humble Himself by becoming human and experiencing the painful shame of the cross on our behalf.

Jesus turned the value system of the secular world on its head by declaring that a true leader must be a servant and backing it up as noted in John 13:3-5:

“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments, and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded.”

After correcting Peter for first refusing to allow Him to wash his feet, Jesus made a statement regarding the sharing of even this act:

“If I, then, your lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.”

As the resurrected Jesus, in Luke 24, spoke on the road to Emmaus to the persons who lamented His passing, He connected His glory to His suffering:

“Then he said to them, O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?”

A magnificent part of God’s glory is His willingness, regardless of the involvement of suffering, to share it with us.

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