The greatest theme in all of the universe and mankind is the glory of God. It is the apex of God’s revelation. He created the world to put his glory on display that his people might know him, and love him, and glorify him. “Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made” (Isaiah 43:6b-7). The scripture declares at the beginning that God created man in his own image (Genesis 1:27).
The tragedy of human race
The universe is declaring the glory of God and the reason we exist is to see it and be amazed by it and glorify God because of it. But, the great tragedy of the universe is that, while human beings were made to glorify God, we have all fallen short of this purpose. Even though, God’s invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made, man did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude (Romans 1:v20,21). Because of that wickedness, wrath of God has revealed from heaven against those who do not give glory to God (v18). If God has in fact clearly revealed Himself to all men, no man can plead ignorance as an excuse for not glorifying Him (v20).
What is God’s glory?
God’s glory is simply the manifestation of all of His attributes. The word ‘Glory’ comes from Hebrew word kabowd (Strong’s #3519) used to express the weightiness or heaviness of God’s Holiness, honor, splendor and majesty. The Westminster Catechism says, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever”. Actually, that’s the chief end of everything! The whole creation exits for the glory of God. The heavens declare the glory of God (Psalm 19); The beast of the field shall give Me glory (Isaiah 43:20). Day and night Angels never seize to worship and glorify God (Revelation 4:8).
There are two aspects to the glory of God.
- The glory that He has in Himself.The glory that’s intrinsic to His nature. We don’t give this to Him. It’s His by virtue of who He is. We don’t take a plain God and make him beautiful. Or, we don’t glorify God by improving his glory. We cannot add to His glory. We can’t take away from it. As light is to the sun, as blue is to the sky, as wet is to water. You don’t make water wet. It’s wet. You don’t make the sky blue, it’s blue. You can only cover up the blue. You can’t take it away. You can’t add to it. The sun is light. That’s what the sun is. And so God is glory. If no one ever gave Him any glory, if no one ever gave Him any honor, if no one ever gave Him any praise, He would still be the glorious God, because it is His nature.
- The glory which is given God by His creatures.That is when we recognize His glory. It means to magnify His glory before the world. We magnify his glory like a telescope not a microscope. Microscopes make small things look bigger than they are. Telescopes make unimaginably big things look more like what they really are. Our lives are to be telescopes for the glory of God. We are to enhance His glory in the eyes of men – through our testimony. 1 Chronicles 16:24 – Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! We were created to see his glory, be thrilled by his glory, and live so as to help others see him and savor him for what he really is.
How do we give glory to God?
The key is found in 1 Chronicles 16:28-29, “Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength, ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.” In this text, we see three actions on our part that make up the action of glorifying God.
- First, we are to come before Him.
- Second, we “ascribe” or give glory to Him because it is His due.
- Third, we are to “bring an offering” to God as part of the worship that glorifies Him.
How do we come before Him?
Coming to the presence of God to worship Him is an awesome thing. He is a holy God and one that rightly demands Godly fear and complete reverence in our worship to Him. “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, And to be held in reverence by all those around Him” (Psalm 89:7). God invites us to come to His presence boldly (Hebrews 4:16; 10:19), but that invitation to come boldly is never an invitation to come arrogantly or carelessly or cavalier manner. He is a jealous God who guards His glory zealously. “By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified” (Leviticus 10:3).
What is to “ascribe to the LORD glory”?
Scribe is “to write,” “the words written,” or “the one who writes”. If we take the word Describe it adds the Latin prefix “de” which means “out of” or “derived from,” so to describe is to get words out of something. When I describe God, I derive my words from his character. Ascribe uses the Latin prefix “ad” which means to or toward, so it means “words or writing put towards something.” If I ascribe something to God, I put words towards his character. “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness” (Psalm 29:2). This psalm tells me to ascribe to God the glory due his name. Thus, I am commanded to put words of glory toward God. It is parallel with the phrase “worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.” It means to give credit and acknowledgement to God for the attributes and characteristics that already belong to Him.
So, glorify God is to acknowledge His greatness and praise enthusiastically His attributes-His holiness, faithfulness, mercy, grace, love, majesty, sovereignty, power, and omniscience, to name a few -rehearsing them over and over in our minds, primarily because He and He alone, deserves to be praised, honored and worshipped. No one else deserves the praise and worship that we give to glorify God. Isaiah 42:8 confirms this: “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.”
What is the offering we bring to God to glorify Him?
In the Old Testament revelation we find the worship is described in terms of offering – an offering of sacrifices. The sacrifice that God is looking for is sacrifices of praise. The central element of Worship in the Bible is the giving of adoration to God. It involves the honoring of God. The offering we bring to God involves agreement, obedience, submission, and studying His attributes, deeds and worshipping Him. The sacrifice is offered simply as an outward sign of a heart that filled with awe and reverence and respect towards God. To give a sacrifice that is not given in faith is to offer a sacrifice merely as an external rite.
In the New Testament, Paul describes the kind of worship that is pleasing to God. We no longer go to the sanctuary and sprinkle the blood of bulls and goats upon an altar. However, we still need to bring an offering to God. In his letter to the church at Rome, Paul says in ch.12 v1, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Old Testament people offered to God animals; but those were dead sacrifices. Paul was saying that, in light of the gospel, God wants a living sacrifice, not a dead sacrifice. He is not asking for martyrdom or for us to give our blood. He wants something more. We are to present to God our bodies -our hearts, minds, hands, thoughts, and attitudes- as living sacrifices.
What does a living sacrifice look like in the practical sense?
We are a living sacrifice for God by not being conformed to this world but being transformed by the renewing of our mind (Roman 12:2). The world is defined for us in 1 John 2:15-16. All that the world has to offer can be reduced to 03 things: Lust of the flesh, Lust of the eyes, and Pride of life. The lust of the flesh includes everything that appeals to our appetites and involves excessive desires for food, drink, sex, and anything else that satisfies physical needs. The lust of the eyes mostly involves materialism, coveting whatever we see that we don’t have and envying those who have what we want. The pride of life is defined by any ambition for that which puffs us up and puts us on the throne of our own lives.
There is only one way to renew our minds: We need to hear (Romans 10:17), read (Revelation 1:3), study (Acts 17:11), memorize (Psalm 119:9-11), and meditate on (Psalm 1:2-3) Scripture. Word of God is all we need to be made “complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16). The result is that we will be “able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2b). It is the will of God for every believer to be a living sacrifice – to be like Jesus Christ. He demands our bodies because he wants models of grace to be displayed on earth. Because, we are created to display His glory!
Dr. John MacArthur, Dr. John Piper, Dr. R.C. Sproul
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