The Lord’s prayer ends with this proclamation: “Thine is the glory, forever.” All other glory fades in the sight of God’s glory, just like stars fade in the sky when the sun rises. We see the glory of God around us every day. Yet, from time to time God reveals His glory in special ways.
For example, in the Old Testament at the dedication of the temple we read:
“Indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying: ‘For He is good, for His mercy endures forever,’ that the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God” (2 Chronicles 5:13-14).
Thereafter Solomon blessed the people and prayed to the Lord God. Then we read:
“When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’S house. When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped and praised the LORD, saying: ‘For He is good, for His mercy endures forever’” (2 Chronicles 7:1-3).
The priests could not stand before the glory of the Lord. God revealed His glory because He was pleased with His people. There were singers and musicians clothed in white linen, with cymbals, harps and stringed instruments, as well as 120 priests playing trumpets (2 Chronicles 5:12). If God honored the use of instruments in His worship service back then, I am sure He is pleased when His people praise Him with instruments even in the church today, in order to proclaim his praises. It is not the outward proclamation in isolation that pleases God, but the right condition and attitude of the heart.
Another time God showed His glory was when He revealed Himself to Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-9). When Isaiah saw the holiness of God and confessed his own sin, he was told: “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.” When we experience the glory of the Lord we are in awe of God’s holiness and recognize our own sinfulness. We see that we cannot stand before a holy God. It is in that moment, if we confess our sinfulness, that God is able to take away the iniquity and purge the sin.
Christ is the Glory of God
In the New Testament, God revealed His glory through Jesus Christ. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
Jesus does not just intercede for us to grant us pardon (Hebrews 7:25), but He also died for us and took our sins upon Himself in order to make that pardon possible. He is “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
Holiness and glory go together. You cannot stand before a holy God. But as you realize this and see His glory, you are made holy by God, as you confess your sins. God says “be holy because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). Since we cannot do this ourselves, God makes us holy through Christ. Then Christ entreats us to go and sin no more (John 5:14, 8:11).
Christ is the glory of God. The book of Hebrews verifies this.
“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:1-3).
In 1 Corinthians 2:8 Christ is called the Lord of Glory. One of the ways Jesus revealed His glory was through the miracles He performed. To Martha He said: “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:39-40)
His glory will again be revealed to all at His second coming.
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory (Matthew 24:30).
Glory and Suffering
Although it may seem paradoxical to many, God’s glory is often revealed through suffering. Jesus showed us first hand that the way to glory often goes through great suffering. To the disciples on the way to Emmaus he said:
“O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory? (Luke 24:25-26)
Also, when Stephen died as a martyr, he saw the glory of the Lord. We read:
“When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God” Acts 7:54-55).
The passion to do God’s will enables His children to not shy away from suffering. Indeed when the saints in Caesarea wanted to dissuade Paul from going to Jerusalem, he answered:
“What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus (Acts 21:13).
In his letter to the Corinthians he says:
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
We are to glorify God
Christ is the glory of God, but we as the church are called the body of Christ. If we are His body, then it should be our aim to live for His glory. That is our purpose. Ephesians 1:12 verifies this: “that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.”
Paul writes: “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
On earth we already have a foretaste of the glory of God, yet the glory which shall be revealed to us is much greater. Paul says: “If indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:17b-18). In Revelation 22:1-5, John describes our future home in picture language. Our human understanding cannot grasp what this glory will really be like but it is waiting and yet to come for all who love the Lord and remain true to Him. To God be the glory. Let us live to His glory!