The greatest need for humanity, those inside the church and outside, is to know who God is. If we are ever to honestly know ourselves or the world around us, we must first understand who God is and what God is like because everything in life hinges on that vital truth. As our knowledge of God goes, so goes the direction of our lives. A high view of God will lead to holy and righteous living. However, a low view of God will ultimately lead to a life that will often find itself to be low and empty.
As Christians, we must never forget the importance of knowing God and His glory. So, what does God’s glory mean? How can we say God is infinitely glorious, yet He also receives glory from His creation? How can something infinite receive more? Over the next two studies, I will define two aspects of God’s glory. The first aspect of God’s glory is His intrinsic glory, while the second, which I will cover next week, is God’s ascribed glory.
God’s intrinsic glory is the sum total of the greatness of His divine being. It is all that God is. It is His majesty. God’s intrinsic glory is what Psalmist David had in mind when he penned these beautiful words: “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1). The Hebrew word for glory means “abundance” or a “heavy weight.” It refers to the magnitude of His name. When a rich person’s possessions were weighed, they were very heavy. God’s glory is the “heaviness” of who He is. It is the fullness of His presence. In other words, God is the divine “super-heavyweight.”
The Bible compares God’s glory to a “consuming fire” (Exodus 24:17) which strikes terrible and dread in the hearts of even His mightiest enemies (Psalm 102:15). It is so great that it would cause instant death to any person exposed to its fullness (Exodus 33:18-23). God’s glory is found in His holiness (Isaiah 6:1-6), His wrath and His mercy (Romans 9:22-23), His love and His goodness (Psalm 23).
What difference does it make?
Sadly, many Christians today fail to acknowledge the weightiness of God’s character and attributes. We are mesmerized by a lower, superficial, user-friendly God that sparks good feelings instead of fear and trembling. There are a great deal of religious speeches made every Sunday, but very little said about the glory of God. Preachers talk about morality, but not the Messiah.
On the last day, the glory of the Lord will fill the whole earth, and His people will fall down in fearsome wonder, delight, and praise. They will “Rejoice & Tremble” in the presence of their King!
Yet, the fear of sinful unbelievers will become a horrifying dread at the very same appearance of Jesus. They will “[hide] themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?’” (Revelation 6:15-17).
Hell will be a place that is filled with God’s dreadful glory. Job described death as “the king of terrors” (Job 18:14), and Hell will be a place of eternal death. It will be the eternal climax of all sinful fear and dread of God’s glory. In hell, just as the demons who believe and tremble (James 2:19), the occupants will despise God and will shriek at the revealing of His glory. There, they will be in the eternal, burning torment of God’s infinite glory revealed through His holy vengeance. They will be in the eternal presence of the one they hated! And in His presence, “Every heart will melt, and all hands will be feeble; every spirit will faint, and all knees will be weak as water” (Ezekiel 21:7). Hell will be a place of unrelenting fear, forever…
But those who find themselves in lives of sin and rebellion against a glorious God can be redeemed!
REPENT of your sin—turn away from it, BELIEVE in the Good News of Jesus Christ, and COMMIT your life to follow Him.
And on that great last day, you will be called up to be in the presence of a glorious God, to live with Him forever!
Heaven will be a place filled with God’s glory. The redeemed and glorified saints will be, as Jonathan Edwards exclaimed, “like a flame of fire,” sparked by the glory of God’s love. Heaven will be a paradise filled with the unconfined, glorious goodness of God.
For, He is good all the time. And ALL the time, He is GOOD!
For the Truth,