The Westminster Confession of Faith states, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him, forever.” Glory is something we taste and see after a championship game. We hope for glory, and many strive for it in the world through diverse disciplines. It is problematic if our chief end is to glorify God, and we openly or secretly seek glory for ourselves.
God warns us, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity (Eccl 1:2).” In this case, “all” means, “all.” Consider your life plan: vision; objectives; goals; and daily tasks. Examine yourself to see if you are living for the glory of God. Test the level of rebellion you have against God. Before you do, let us see how the Bible views the glory of God.
His glory is above earth and heaven (Ps 148:13), where creatures declare, “Blessed be the glory of the Lord in His place (Ezek 3:12).” The heavens are telling of the glory of God (Ps 19:1a), and all the peoples have seen His glory (Ps 97:6). In His temple everything says, “Glory!” (Ps 29:9). God also reveals His glory to His people (Dt 5:24), who are to glory in His holy name (1 Chron 16:10).
From eternal heaven above, to the cosmic heavens over the earth, and to the earth and its inhabitants, we learn there is much glorifying going on around us. Nature glorifies God. God’s people glorify God but imagine the great throng upon the earth in constant denial of God. The environment around them, at every level, is bringing glory to God, except them. Is that you, either in theory or in practice?
The creatures of heaven cry out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is filled with His glory (Is 6:3).” The true worshipper on earth carries the same sentiment, “May the whole earth be filled with His glory (Ps 72:19),” and “Let the glory of the Lord endure forever (Ps 104:31).” The prophet Isaiah saw the glory of God (Jn 12:41). How could he not then serve the Lord with everything and ascribe to the Lord, the glory due His name (1 Chron 16:29; Ps 96:8)?
When God builds His city, the city of God, His presence brings glory into it (Ps 102:16). When darkness encompasses the earth, His glory is upon Zion (Is 60:2). His glory is before the elders of Israel in Zion (Is 24:3), and in Israel He shows forth His glory (Is 44:23). In the royal Psalm 21, God’s salvation brings glory to the King of Israel (Ps 21:5). Wherever His salvation is known, His glory is in that place (Ps 85:9). When God’s shekinah glory came down upon the Temple, they bowed down in worship saying, “Truly He is good, and truly His lovingkindness is everlasting (2 Chron 7:3). They sing the glory of His name and make His praise glorious (Ps 66:2).
If this kind of glory resided in Old Testament Israel, then how much more glory should be manifesting in New Testament saints? We are the temple of the Holy Spirit (Eph 2:21), who Peter calls, “The Spirit of glory and of God (1 Pet 4:14). We are citizens of the the city of God, the New Jerusalem, which is the church (Gal 5:26; Rev 21–22). God has shone the light of the true knowledge of Jesus Christ in our hearts (2 Cor 4:6), and we have the hope of glory, Christ in us (Col 1:27; 1 Tim 1:1). The light of the glory of God should emanate through every vicissitude upon our journey and before our arrival in glorious Zion (Rev 21–22).
Until that day, as ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor 5:20), God’s people are to tell of His glory among the nations (1 Chron 16:24; Ps 96:3). Our message includes various aspects of His glory. The Lord is high above the nations; His glory is above the heavens (Ps 113:4). It was necessary for Jesus to suffer many things and then to enter His glory (Lk 24:26), and when He comes again in glory, He will sit on His glorious throne (Mt 25:31).
Christians follow in His steps (1 Pet 2:21). Suffering comes before glory. Paul wrote, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Rom 8:18).” It is far better now to suffer the disciplines of God in His loving providence, today, than to suffer eternal hell under His wrath (Mt 3:7; Lk 3:7; Heb 12:4–11).
In the judgment of His adversaries, God’s glory will rise like the morning sun (Is 59:19), as it will be when the Son of man comes in the glory of His Father with His angels (Mt 16:27). For those who are ashamed of Jesus and His Words, now, He will be ashamed of them on the day He comes in glory (Mk 8:38; Lk 9:26). It is the nature of sin in sinful man to steal, and man steals from God when she does not give glory to God in everything, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing (Rev 5:12).”
Acknowledging God in everything is part of the sanctifying work of His indwelling Holy Spirit (Prv 3:5–6; Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9, 11; 1 Thess 5:23; 2 Thess 2:13). Our focus on Christ is essential to love God with our every thought, word, and deed (Heb 12:2). The Spirit of Christ is always bringing our minds back to Christ (Rom 8:5–7; 1 Cor 2:15–16; Col 3:2). Sanctification is a clean-up process, whereby God’s Spirit is preparing us for heavenly glory (1 Thess 5:23). We have the promise of being presented holy and blameless before Him (Eph 1:4; 5:27; Col 1:22). He will bring His good work in us to completion (Phil 1:6).
In preparing the elect for glory, and having mercy on them, He made known the riches of His glory (Rom 9:23). Jesus manifested His glory at Cana of Galilee when He turned water into wine (Jn 2:11). Peter, James, and John saw Jesus in His glory atop the Mount of Transfiguration (Lk 9:32). Later, the apostle John recounted seeing His glory, the glory of the only begotten Son of God the Father (Jn 1:14). Jesus brought glory to the One who sent Him into the world (Jn 7:18). By His own confession, in prayer to His Father, Jesus claimed, “I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou has given Me to do (Jn 17:4).” Jesus then gave the glory He received from the Father to His disciples (Jn 17:22). It is important to note that Jesus did not glorify Himself (Heb 5:5), but heaven crowned Him with glory (Heb 2:7).
How should Christians live in light of what we have learned of God’s glory? In all things we should glorify God in our bodies (1 Cor 6:20). We should do all to the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31). For example, man bears the image of the glory of God, and as such, He does not cover His head in prayer and worship (1 Cor 11:7). This is a symbolic way of showing submission to what God has instructed. It sends a message in the same way a woman covering her head sends a message of submission to God’s Word and to her husband who loves her.
Paul ascribed glory to God for rescuing him from every evil deed and for the full assurance that God would bring the apostle safely into His kingdom (2 Tim 4:8). To ascribe glory or to glorify God is simply acknowledging who God is (Is 46:9) and what He has accomplished (Is 46:10). It is placing proper priority on our Lord.
The writer of Hebrews ascribed glory to Jesus, forever and ever (Heb 13:21), and the glory of the God of Israel will cause the earth to shine with His glory (Ezek 43:2). For to Him is given dominion, glory, and a kingdom for all nations to serve Him in His everlasting dominion and indestructible kingdom (Dan 7:14). After that, what else is there? If we have been born again of His Spirit, then we need to grow up in service to Him, being led by Him (Rom 8:14).
God calls His people to eternal glory in Christ (1 Pet 5:10). Eternity has already begun for us. We are only depriving ourselves the joy of the Lord with lukewarm zeal for Christ. Whatever you do…think about this…whatever you do, do it all in a labor of love as unto the Lord. We will be glorified with Him (Rom 8:17), regardless of our place in the world’s system. The riches of His glory is our inheritance. He called you through His Gospel, in order that you may gain the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thess 2:14). He endured a cross for our shame, should we not bear a cross for His fame?
Paul understood that, “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen (Rom 11:36). The apostle John ascribed glory and dominion to God, forever and ever (Rev 1:6). The great multitude gives glory to God for the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:7). What are you doing?
In summary, we have seen how everything gives glory to God except for that which is in rebellion. We, who are not in rebellion, must see the glory of God in the face of Jesus and keep our eyes focused on Him (2 Cor 4:6; Heb 12:2). Knowing how easily distracted we are from the things of God; He has given us the permanent indwelling Holy Spirit to work His good pleasure in us (Phil 2:13). The Spirit helps us to see Jesus all the more, today, on the pages of Scripture, for us to be conformed to His image (Rom 8:29), and in glory, when we see Him face to face, we shall be like Him (1 Jn 3:2).
In conclusion. we were made for this work of glorifying God. It is truly our chief end. We will never be satisfied with our idols, nor with ourselves as idolaters. Jesus was taken up in glory (1 Tim 3:16), and we will soon join Him because He is bringing many sons to glory (Heb 2:10). So we end our brief study where we began, glorify God and enjoying Him, “Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
David E. Norczyk
Spokane Valley, Washington
February 19, 2021