Bible reading: 2 Thessalonians 1: 3-12
An older member of my family says that she hates to see herself in the mirror because her face is terribly lined…
I tell her that they are wisdom lines… of which she should be proud…
I look at a photograph of me as a young boy… lovely smooth skin… bright blue eyes… blonde hair… chubby cheeks
And now… wrinkly skin… watery grey eyes with bags under them… patchy hair… What happened!
If I want to be young and perfectly formed again… it means that I want to be glorified
A bit like Mary Poppins… practically perfect in every way, except that to be glorified means completely perfect in every way
Most references to glorification refer to God and to Jesus himself
But what does the Bible mean when it refers to God or Jesus being glorified?
- In fact, there are 18 references to ‘glorified’ in the Bible… fourteen refer to God and Jesus… and four to believers
The first thing we notice from the Bible is that glorification is always given and cannot be requested or demanded…
- It is not an automatic state of being (unlike the holiness of God)
- It is something bestowed upon another… to someone worthy to receive it… rather like a knighthood or an MBE
- We glorify God because He is worthy to receive glory and honour and power
- We can also choose NOT to glorify God
We also find that when men and women choose to glorify God, they must do so sincerely and out of a God-centred heart… So we read in Isaiah 66: 5…
Hear the word of the LORD, you who tremble at his word. Your brothers, who hate you and exclude you because of my name, have said: ‘Let the LORD be glorified, that we may see your joy!’ Yet they will be put to shame.
In other words, it is pointless glorifying God while at the same time hating and excluding others…
- In fact, God says that such that will be put to shame!
God isn’t interested in our fine words, enthusiastic singing or correct doctrine if our hearts are hard and cold…
- God will not receive our praise and worship unless we first glorify Him in our lives… in the way we think, behave and act
- He will, by His Spirit, enable us to become more like Jesus… but we make the choice about whether to allow Him to do so
The second thing that the Bible teaches us is that glorifying God should be a grateful response for what He has done for us.
For example, after Nebuchadnezzar recovered from a period of madness, we read in Ezekiel 39 that he praised the Most High. I honoured and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation.
- Notice that God can be glorified by those who have wandered away from Him and/or after periods of depression (quite common, even among believers)
- When the joy of our salvation is restored… what a time to praise God and glorify Him
You may be going through a hard time… but God can and will restore you and give you a new lease of life so that you can lift your heart in gratitude and give Him all the glory
Notice, too, that the king’s praise acknowledged who God is… the Most High… ruler over an eternal dominion… One whose kingdom will never end…
- Lots of different religions ‘glorify’ their God… but which ‘god’ are they glorifying?
- Lots of people pray in times of crisis…but to whom are they praying… Do they know Him?
- In John 13: 31, after Judas had left to betray Him, Jesus said, Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in Him
- Glorifying God is only complete in and through the Son, Jesus
Singing praises and uplifting the name of a ‘god’ is meaningless unless it is rooted in the Son of Man/Son of God (Jesus Christ)
The 3rd thing that the Bible teaches us about glorification is found in Romans 1: 30
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him; but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
- So we can “know God” but choose not to give Him the glory
Paul writes that people cannot excuse themselves from worshipping God… because He is present in the world in so many different ways
- We all have a choice…glorify our Creator… or give our time and attention chasing worthless ideas and ambitions that take us away from God instead of towards Him
I once read about a very wealthy man who spent vast fortunes trying and failing to breed spotted mice! What a way to direct your energies!
If we don’t glorify God, we glorify something/someone else… the leader of a movement, a political cause, a football team, a partner or an ideal
But only God is truly worthy of our praise
The second strand of ‘glorification’ in the Bible is the GLORIFICATION OF THE BELIEVER
In Romans 8:30, we read that we aren’t only predestined, called and justified, but we are also glorified… or will be
- How is this possible? Surely, all the glory belongs to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ?
We find the answer in 2 Thessalonians 1: 10… on the day He comes to be glorified in his holy people.
And again in verse 12: We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
- We receive glory because Christ is glorified in and through us
- It’s a bit like a single ray of light being refracted into a million strands
- Our lights shine such that Christ is glorified and magnified
We are not glorified because of some intrinsic righteousness or because we earn it… but because the believer has the Spirit of Christ in him/her
So we have been predestined… and called… and justified by Christ’s atoning death and resurrection… and one day, we shall also be glorified… when He comes again
- As we read in I Corinthians 15 (43, 44)… The body that is sown is perishable; it is raised imperishable. It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.
I attended the funeral of a friend recently and was asked to give the ‘tribute’ in just four minutes
- I ventured to say that the man was not ‘a saint’
- But then reminded everyone that he is a saint in God’s sight because he believed in God’s Son, Jesus Christ
- And my friend’s ultimate glorification will be at the great resurrection from the dead when Christ returns
So if we are going to be glorified, does it matter too much how we live on this earth?
- Well, we need to ask ourselves how we will feel when the Day of the Lord comes and we are swept up into the air
- When we stand before the Lord to receive our reward
- To hear His voice speaking to us and saying… well, what will He say?
I stated earlier than glorification is for those who are deserving of such praise… but that does not apply to any of us!
So why does God promise to glorify the Christian believer?
- God glorifies us because we are “in Him”…”in” Jesus Christ and He in us
- We have no righteousness of our own… it is all of Christ
Someone might be saying: “But how can I be sure that God will glorify me?”
- Well, trust in the Lord with all your heart…His promises are sure… He wants to bless YOU and make you a blessing
- In this way, He is glorified and you will be glorified through the Son
- And, best of all, we will grow more like Him
So let’s give God all the praise and glory for who He is and His eternal promises to every believer