(taken on my iPhone)
These past few weeks the Lord has really been teaching me a lot about His glory, guys. Which is funny to me because in my pride I would like to think that I have a pretty good grasp on how God’s glory manifests in our everyday lives. I have studied theology enough, discussed for hours with friends, and read the bible and prayed enough to know about God’s glory. But really, we cannot know about the extent of His glory until we experience it (duh, Cole). I have not experienced all of God’s glory because I am only 20 and have not had enough experiences in life to say I have seen God manifest His glory in all the ways He promised to show us. The main ways the Lord promises to show His glory are in 1) creation (except man), 2) Man, 3) the Church, 4) salvation, and 5) marriage. At least these are the 5 that I feel led to discuss. Let’s dive in.
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelations 4:11 (ESV).
How true are these words by John! In the beginning, before the world was created, there was Glory for the Lord for He was in perfect communion with himself in the form of the Trinity. Then, in 6 beautiful days He stretched out His mighty arm to create the Heavens and the Earth, the light and the dark, the water and the trees. The Lord created all of this, called it good, and it was perfect. Even after sin has been in the world for thousands of years we can still see a broken, fallen sunrise and breathe in God’s beauty and perfection. How majestic is His name and how glorious are His wonders! As a Biology major I have chosen to dedicate my time to studying Intelligent Design so that I can bring the good news to scientists and naturalists. We do not even know the depths of the beauty present in nature even if we were to study every day of our life the intricacies of Yahweh’s footstool. He has created this world for his glory and sustains it in divine Providence. Woe to us when we blindly walk among the manifestation of the glory of God and do not stop to worship and praise the Maker.
“What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him”. Job 7:17 (ESV).
Distinct from animals in that we are made in the Lord’s image. What does that mean? We bear the image of the infinite and perfect God. We bear his reason, wisdom, discernment, fruit of all kinds, and most of all the ability to have a relationship with Him. Yes, that’s right. The ability to pray and cry out to the Lord is a direct result of being made in his image. Before the foundations of the world, glory was being given to Yahweh by…well, himself. The trinity bears perfectly their own image and was in perfect communion with one another. We, having that image imputed upon us, are capable now then to have a relationship with the precious Lord of hosts. He was and is mindful to make us apart from animals and we were made so for his glory. What a joy to know that there is a God so big, majestic, and awesome in wonder that cares so much about me that He would extend to me his Holy Spirit to set me free and give me abundant life! There are no words to proclaim the deep seeded joy we feel when we grasp our relationship to the Lord and how in that relationship all the Glory is due to him.
What does this mean for our everyday lives? That every person killed is an image bearer of Christ. Muslim, atheist, skeptic, Christian. All bearing the same image, but differing in nature. This is why abortion is such a tragedy! Yes it is because 54 million children have had their Hope robbed of them, but also because the church as a whole does not seem to care too much. I mean, we care, but honestly how much? Is it a present issue in our lives? No. Our pro-life incrementalism does not work and only allows for more child sacrifice: more death to the image bearers of Christ. I praise the Lord for a ban on abortion after 20 weeks in Texas, but when I realize that the vast majority of abortions are done in the first 7 weeks, my joy turns to pain. The image of Christ is precious. The Lord has knit every human together in their mother’s womb and a soul is present at conception. We must end the habit of child sacrifice, but we must first abolish the habit of not taking notice of it. I stand convicted of apathy and disregard for the unborn, and call for a resurgence among you church.
3) The Church
“For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.” Isaiah 54:5
What a beautiful institution. We are given the gift of being the bride of Christ. Christ has predestined us to be betrothed to Him in righteousness, justice, steadfast love, mercy, and faithfulness (Hosea 2:19-20). We have been betrothed to the Lord of the Earth! We are His people, and he cares for us more than we care for any idol. We run, he rescues the lost sheep. We hide, he seeks out. We leave, he awaits the return of the son and lavishes gifts of grace upon us when we return. His call is irresistible and sweet are his whispers. We have been chosen to be a holy people and a nation of righteousness to take the good news of Jesus Christ to the four corners of the globe. There is no greater grace than this! The Lord has imputed onto each and every one of us Christ’s nature of Light and his righteousness and He has promised to send his Holy spirit to sanctify and guide us as we move down the path of grace that he has established for us. And what’s more, it’s all for His ultimate glory. There is joy in the knowledge that all that we do, all our accomplishments and victories are for the glory of Christ. There is Joy in knowing that our Lord and Savior is of infinitely more importance than us. Present your bodies therefore as a living sacrifice, a pleasing aroma to the Lord, for this is your spiritual act of worship for the one who made you, sustained you, and loves you.
“In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:5-6
To begin with, you have been chosen. We have been chosen not by our own merits or by our own worth to God, but by his will alone. Is not that cause for Joy and worship? Selah. We have been given a covenant with He who breaks no covenant. He has promised to give us Life, sustain it when we are weary and broken, and to never leave us even when we seek out our other lovers (to use the language of the book of Hosea). There is no greater comfort than to know that my salvation is secured by none other than the one who made me and gave his own son to be my ransom, a propitiation for my unrighteousness.
Furthermore, God is glorified in the salvation/conversion of others. The fact that our words are powerless unless blessed by the power of the Holy Spirit is humbling and saves no glory for us. We are helpless in evangelism without the presence of the Holy Spirit. Jude 23 is done by the grace and sustaining power of God in us. This changes how we pray. We always pray for the soul of the person, but do we pray for more of the Holy Spirit in us as we witness to said person? I’m sure we do, but I personally until recently did not spend as much time in prayer for the Holy Spirit as I did for the other person. We need Him to sustain us and give us words to speak and grace to speak them. (Side note, this is what happens when the Holy Spirit is present in community)
“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”” Genesis 2:18 (ESV)
I am not married. If you’re interested you can call my agent, Josh Lebeau to set up an appointment. All kidding aside, marriage is so dang cool, y’all. I will cover more in depth the issue some might have with the appearance of patriarchy in Christian marriage later, but for now let’s focus on the institution itself. What is marriage if not a perfect representation of Christ and the Church? From the time of the first covenant God has been perfectly faithful to his bride, the Church. We are blessed to have been betrothed to such a perfect and holy husband. He died for us, rose for us, and is present always with us. There is no greater Love than His because He is the embodiment of the abstract of love. He is the heart of it and the core.
God is glorified in his marriage because we get to fulfill the roles of Christ with our spouses. Christ on earth was perfectly male and female in his attributes. At all times he was perfectly head of the church body and perfectly submissive to Yahweh. Similarly, in a marriage covenant we are called to be representations of these attributes to our spouses. Men, if we love our wives like Christ loves the church, then we will pursue them with reckless abandon. We will be ready to forgive every transgression, ready to reconcile any breach in the relationship, and always full of love and adoration and words of encouragement. She is more precious than fine gold and jewels if we love her like Christ loves us. Our love for our wives will endure to our death beds and they will never feel alone or abandoned because we will always be her rock, as Christ is our rock. Women, if your husband is symbolically representing Christ to you then there would be a readiness to submit to that. There will be joy in obedience and love displayed in all aspects of life. You husband is never to be worshiped, clearly, but when you see him you should bow before your God and thank him for sending His only son, Jesus, to be the perfect husband to the church as a whole. Men, you are not to be solely obeyed and submitted to: you must also submit. Christ submitted to the church much more than the church ever submitted to him. He sacrificed his will, his desires, and his life for our sake. So should we for our wives. Though we are symbolically representing the “head” of that relationship, if we truly understand Christ’s relationship to us (the church) then we know that we are called to submit much more than our wives are. What a glorious representation indeed! To be given the roles and attributes of Christ to embody with the person you love eternally, your spouse, is more grace than any of us deserve. God is glorified through marriage because of all of these things.
I hope this has been encouraging for you. I seek God’s glory and give him praise for giving me the mind to comprehend and type all these things. To Him be the glory, for he was before all and he is above all. Amen.