God's Glory
  • Register

I have heard it said many times that God does what He does for His glory. One must ask then, what is glory? It's important to understand what glory is if we are going to understand how it fits into God's reason for doing what God does.


In regards to creation, in the bible, glory is often an adjective to describe the object of that glory. For example, the strength of man and their physical attributes have been labeled their glory (Prov. 20:29, Job 29:20, Isa. 8:7, Prov. 16:31). The authoritative position of men in power has been ascribed to them as their glory (Gen. 45:13, Psalm 21:5, Jer. 22:18, Num. 27:20). A man's possessions may be their glory (Gen. 31:1, Gen. 30:43, Psalm 49:17, Prov. 31:24-25, Isa. 66:11-12). On a deeper level glory has been the adjective to describe quality characteristics in man (Prov. 19:11, Prov. 20:3). Going even further, glory has been used to describe man in His inherent godly characteristics (1 Cor. 11:7, Psalm 8:5). To a negative connotation glory has been used to describe pride (Prov. 25:27, Isa. 10:12, Isa. 13:19). In all these examples the adjective "glory" is a revelation of man for who he is. In light of this, consider then this analogy. If someone accidentally walks in on you in the bathroom after you had just gotten out of the shower, you might tell someone afterward "there I was in all my glory". If you look at it that way, glory may be defined as who you actually are when you are fully revealed (Heb 1:3, Col. 1:15). But what about the glory of God? For that let's look at the exchange between Moses and God when Moses earnestly entreated God to show him His glory.


18 Then Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!” 19 And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.” 20 But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” 21 Then the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; 22 and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.” - Exodus 33:18-23


"...show me Your glory!" There are a few things revealed here about what glory is, specifically the glory of God. First, the more obvious. Moses inquiry is to see God's glory, plain and simple. There's no complexity in that question, there's no clever wording. There is however great wisdom. If I may get side tracked here. Just prior to these verses Moses gives an insightful doxology of the Lord (Exodus 33:14-16) declaring that it is God and God alone that makes men distinguished from all other men in the world. Let that sink in. Moses, in realizing that God is what makes anything worthwhile defines two groups of people, those with God, and those without. Moses is ascribing to God utmost worth and lumping all other attributes of men into a grouping of worthlessness in comparison. On the cusp of this wisdom, realizing it is God that makes men worthwhile, realizing it is God who works in men glorious things, Moses goes straight to the Source and asks for the grand prize. "I pray You, show me Your glory!". We often pray that God will reveal Himself in a hand-out, we pray things like "Lord we pray for this person's healing and that you would show yourself mighty this way". I'm not saying that's a bad prayer, I'm saying such a hand-out is insignificant when you are faced with the presence of the Lord. Everything is insignificant when you are faced with the presence of the Lord. Moses realized this, so did Paul (Romans 8:18, Philippians 3:7-8). What Moses really wanted would not be found in the hands of God but was God Himself. A taste of God's glory will do this to a man. Notice the exclamation on the end of his request. "...show me Your glory!" This was an exuberant request. Moses was asking to know the best thing there is to know. He was asking for the best gift there could ever be. He was asking for God in the fullest measure.


God answers! (Now I'm back on track).


19 And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.” 20 But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” 21 Then the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; 22 and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. - Exodus 33:19-20


God's honoring Moses's inquiry to see His glory came about in two ways. The first was to make all His goodness pass before Moses, the second was in proclamation of the name of the Lord. From this we can learn two things. First, God's goodness is synonymous with God's glory which is synonymous with God Himself. We know this not only because it was God's goodness revealed to Moses upon Moses request to see God's glory but we also know this because God uses the three synonymously. "all My goodness pass before you", "while My glory is passing by", "until I have passed by". Goodness, glory, and God are used interchangeably here to describe That which is going to be passing by Moses. Max Lucado in his book "It's not about me" puts it this way: "To ask to see all of God's glory is to ask to see all of God. God's glory carries the full weight of His attributes". There's one more way we know this to be true, one more COLOSSAL way. A mystery that men of old longed to know (Prov. 30:4, Matt. 13:17) that has been made known to us in the new testament, specifically the manifestation of God's glory revealed in Jesus Christ.


3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, - Hebrews 1:3 (emphasis mine).


The word goodness when describing God isn't like our traditional use of the word where good is a measurement or a judgment. God's goodness is God's glory. When we speak of God's goodness we are speaking of the fullness of God in all His attributes. God's goodness entails much more than Christians often think it does. When we think of God's goodness we often tend to focus on His attributes we like such as those that resemble what some would describe a good man as having, attributes such as as love, kindness, gentleness, etc. With God there is incomparably more (Isa. 55:8-9). While God is loving (1 John 4:8), gracious (Psalm 145:8), merciful (2 Samuel 24:14), patient (2 Peter 3:9), and kind (Rom. 2:4), God is also perfect (Matthew 5:48), truthful (John 1:14), holy (1 Peter 1:16), just (Isaiah 30:18), and wrathful (Nahum 1:2). These are just to name a few, God's goodness in it's fullest measure is incomprehensible (Romans 11:33-36) and is not withstandable (2 Chr. 20:6, Exo. 33:20, John 18:6).


The second way God honors Moses request is to "proclaim the name of the Lord". Let's look at this proclamation in action in the next chapter of Exodus.


Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”- Exodus 34:6-7


This is a perfectly accurate proclamation of the name of the Lord from the Lord! This is exactly what Moses sought. As you can see in His self proclamation to Moses, God's name represents God's character, it is synonymous with the Lord Himself. It has no separate existence apart from the Lord. In the old testament God's name took earthly residence in His temple among His people (Psa. 74:7, Deut, 12:5,11, 2 Sam. 7:13). Psalm 5:11 references "those who love Your name". The name of the Lord protects (Psa. 20:1, Prov. 18:10). The Lord saves by His name (Psa. 54:1) and His saving acts testify that His name is near (Psa. 52:9). Accordingly the godly "trust in" His name (Psa. 20:7, 33:21, John 1:12), hope in His name (Psa. 52:9), "sing praise" to His name (Psa. 7:17, 9:2, 18:49), and rejoice in His name (Psa. 89:16).


While men may view names as merely a label, it is not this way with God. God gives names to identify who a person is. God changed Abram's name to Abraham to identify that God had made him the father of a multitude of nations (Gen. 17:5). God changed Jacob's name to Israel because he had striven with God and with men and prevailed." (Gen. 32:28). In the new testament God gave names to identify many of the disciples. Simon became Peter to signify the rock that Jesus would build His church on (Matthew 16:16-18). An angel was sent to ensure John the baptist received his proper name (Luke 1:13,60) which by definition means God is gracious. The name of Jesus was given "...for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21). The name of Jesus belongs only to God because "...there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). Philippians 2:9 and Hebrews 1:4 both link the exalted position of Jesus with the exalted rank of His name which is much higher than that of the angels; the name above every name.


Did you know that someday you will be given a new name from God (Rev. 2:17) and it will be given to you in an intimate and deliberate way. His name for you is not from some grab bag of names. This is God giving you a new name. Therefore you know it will be picked with perfect accuracy and of the highest honor.


Your name is your identifier. It's who you are. Therefore God has many names; Lamb of God (John 1:29), Lord of Lords (1 Tim. 6:15), Man of Sorrows (Isa. 53:3), The Rock (1 Cor. 10:4), High Priest (Heb. 6:20), Living Water (John 4:10), Alpha and Omega (Rev. 22:13), The Beloved (Eph. 1:6), Light of the World (John 8:12), Chief Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20), Savior (John 4:42), The Almighty (Rev. 1:8), King of Kings (1 Tim. 6:15), Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6), Son of Man (Matt. 20:28), Anchor (Heb. 6:19), Bright Morning Star (Rev. 22:16), The Way, The Truth, and The Life (John 14:6). While God has many names I have found I AM to be the most profound. I've listed many biblically referenced names of God here (and there are many many more) all of which describe who God is but not in His entirety. In fact, the entire bible is about Him and yet we do not know Him in full (1 Cor. 13:12). The name "I AM" stands out from the rest. It offers no modifier and honestly how could it and still be as accurate as it is. There may be no better label in man's language for God than I AM. If I add anything to that name I risk lessening it for there is no better, nor higher, description than to call God... God! "I AM" is God as God (period). There can be nothing more impressive, nothing more amazing, nothing more glorious, more awe-inspiring, more perfect, more holy, more...well you get the picture...or do you? It's ironic but I sit here trying to describe Him who is indescribable to help you comprehend Him who is incomprehensible (Rom. 11:33-36, 2 Cor. 9:15).


Because God's name represents who He is people can call Him by different names (such as those listed in the above paragraph) and still be praying to the same one true God. Even among languages the name of Jesus is different. In Hebrew Jesus our Lord was called Yeshua which is the Hebrew equivalent of "Jesus". Is this ok? Of course it is. On the day of Pentecost people heard Jesus preached in their own languages (Acts 2:6). So it's not the language or the label that's important as God is not restricted to one language but it's Who you are praying to that's important. For example, Jesus is called Savior many times in the English bible (1 John 4:14, Titus 2:13, 1 Tim. 4:10 to name a few). Other languages have different words for Savior but all still meaning one who saves, in this case, One who saves us from our sins (Matt. 1:21). If their language has a different word for Savior but it means the same thing that the bible intended it to mean is it ok if they call Him by it? Of course it is. I'm not sure how those at Pentecost could have preached the gospel in the native languages of those around them without doing so.


God's glory is synonymous with His characteristics, His goodness, His name, and Him. Few will argue that point (though some). These next two point though tend to be a bit more sensitive.

Write comment (0 Comments)
Jesus said you will know a tree by it's fruit (Matthew 7:15-23). Our fruit gives evidence as to what type of tree we are. Our actions give evidence of our character (James 2:18). Jesus said every good tree bears good fruit but the bad tree bears bad fruit. (v17). Also notice in this verse Jesus states "every" good tree. This means there is no exception. There aren't good trees who don't produce good fruit, nor are there bad trees who don't product bad fruit. The actions will automatically result from the nature of the tree.
35 The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. - Matthew 12:35
According to scripture, the same is true of God. God's actions are in subjection to or as a result of His character.
11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, - Ephesians 1:11 (emphasis mine).
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) - Ephesians 2:4-5 (emphasis mine).
15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. - 2 Corinthians 5:15 (emphasis mine)
34 Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him. - Matthew 20:34 (emphasis mine).
God's works are in accordance with His counsel, His will.
God is the ultimate, perfect, good tree, therefore because that's who He is, God produces purely perfect, good fruit. It's who He is! (Keep in mind God's goodness encompasses much more than what the world describes merely as good). I believe the reason Moses asked to see God's glory in Exodus 33:18 is because Moses wanted to know God better. Just as it is to know good fruit is to be able to trust it's a good tree bearing it. To see God's glory is to be able to know the goodness of God.


In verse 18 Jesus continues, "a good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit." (v18). This reaffirms that our actions are in subjection to our character. This is true of us and it's also true of God. Do you know there are some things God cannot do? Because God is who He is, there are some things He is incapable of. For example, as Hebrews 6:17-18, Titus 1:2 and 1 Samuel 15:29 tell us God cannot lie. 2 Timothy 2:13 states that God cannot deny Himself. These things are not limited by a lack of power (for we who have no real power are able to lie or become unfaithful to ourselves) but rather they are limited by God's own character. He cannot lie because He is holy and there is no darkness in Him (1 John 1:5, 2 Cor. 6:14). He cannot deny Himself because He is sovereign and faithful. Notice in both cases these would-be actions (lying, denying Himself) are restricted by who God is and therefore it is impossible for Him to do them. Actions are in subjection to character, it is not the other way around. Another basic example of this order is the classic verse John 3:16.


 16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. - John 3:16


Because God so loved the world, He gave. Not the other way around. God did not give His only begotten Son and thereby make Himself love the world. It was because of His character, in this case, His lovingkindness, that the action of Him sending His Son came from. The action resulted because of the Character.


When you consider the gifts of God can you help but marvel over the Giver? (James 1:17). When you taste a strawberry, smell a rose, see a sunset, hear a symphony, or feel a warm embrace, do you not hear it's testimony, that God is a God who delights in sharing with us joyful and pleasing things (Psalm 16:11). When you consider the complexity of a cell, the mechanics of muscles, the interweaving of our ecosystem, or the massiveness of the universe do you not ponder the magnitude of God? Even instinctually we know that the action (creation) gives irrefutable evidence of the cause (God).


20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. - Romans 1:20


If actions were not in subjection to character, in otherwords if a good tree could bear bad fruit, or a bad tree could bear good fruit than nature's testimony could be refutable. This however is not the case. As Paul points out in this above verse God's eternal power and divine nature has been made known to all men by the testimony of His good fruit (creation). Consider now the testimony of the lilies.


28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! - Matthew 6:28-30


God is inviting us to consider the testimony of the lilies, to sit and hear what they declare about the character of God. Ponder this. It's important that you do. The lilies testimony is unquestionable because they can have no ulterior motive. The lilies testimony speaks multitudes about God, and among there testimony is this. "God takes care of me with splendor that exceeds man's capabilities even though I am here today and tomorrow I am cut down. Though I am insignificant in man's eyes, the intimacy of God is far exceeding and abundant (see also Matt. 10:30, Eph. 3:20) and the magnitude of God is so powerful that He still regards me and consistently clothes me with glory to the likes that man has no comparable champion. If God clothes me with such great glory, imagine the attention He pays to you who's worth far exceeds mine, you who were built to live forever." If you keep listening, the lilies will keep you marveling about God.


God acts because of His goodness, because of His glory. God does not act to give Himself more glory but rather He acts as a result of His goodness and glory. I'm not saying God doesn't do things to make His glory known, as we will discuss, He does. I'm straightening out those think that God is somehow contributing to His glory as if He wasn't already glorious to the fullest extent.


25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; - Acts 17:25


God has been fully glorious even before the world was.


Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. - John 17:5


God is not a narcissist. mayoclinic.org defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder as "a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that's vulnerable to the slightest criticism." I bring this up because there is a temptation to see God through these lenses as you read about God's zeal for making His glory known. As we'll discuss, it is in our best interest that God makes His glory known; God's recognition of His own importance is not inflated but is honest. It's not conceited, it's accurate. Our recognition of His importance is paramount and can literally be the difference between eternal life and hell. (John 14:6, 17:3). God does not have an ego problem nor a fragile self-esteem. It is not to His benefit that He make His glory known to us, it is to ours. To say it is to His benefit is to say that God somehow needed us. To say it is to His benefit is to say that God was lacking. Common sense and scripture will tell you that God is in no way dependent upon man (Psalm 8:3-4, 144:3, Job 7:17).


God is first and foremost glorious. There are many examples in the bible that testify to God's incomparable love fueling His actions toward us apart from Him glory seeking. Not that those things don't show off God's glory, but it is always in this order: God is glorious > therefore God acts glorious > therefore His glory is revealed. It's important that you realize that. Otherwise you may be tempted to see it as: God wants to be glorious > therefore God seeks His glory > therefore God is glorious. If you've adopted the latter view than you may no longer see God as doing things because He loves you but because He wanted to glorify Himself. This is not according to scripture (John 3:16, 1 John 3:16, 4:9), nor is it according to reason. Think about it, if the ultimate purpose behind God's actions are to glorify Himself than because that is His purpose it also defeats that purpose. Let me give you this example. If I open the car door for my wife because I love her it may result in her glorifying me (dwelling on my love for her, telling her friends of my doting on her, etc.) If I open the car door for my wife because it makes me look good, that in itself, makes me look bad. Her regard for me would not be of my great love for her but rather my great love for looking good. Therefore it would be self defeating as my desire to look good would actually make me look bad. How many things has God done for you, for the world, for those that constantly reject Him, who spit on Him, who strike Him, who mock Him, who seek to destroy Him and His children that are never appreciated? Did God only die for those that would appreciate it or did He equally die for those that would never appreciate it? (1 John 2:2, Rom. 5:8).


and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. - 1 John 2:2


10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. - 1 Timothy 4:10


But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. - 2 Peter 2:1  (emphasis mine)


God acted on behalf of those that would never glorify Him for those actions. Why? because God acted out of who He is, for God is love (1 John 4:8). God loving you does bring glory to Himself but Him loving you is because that's who He is, and as we've established, God's actions are in subjection to God's character.


16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. - 1 John 3:16


The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. - 1 John 4:8-9


"...so that we might live through Him." Never forget your first love (Rev. 2:4). God, in His amazing love and grace, died for us while we weren't seeking Him (Rom. 5:8) "...so that we might live through Him." Yes this also brings glory to Him (how could we not revel in and praise Him in lieu of such love), but as scripture here points out, His only begotten Son was sent so that we might live! Verse 8 points out that God is love. Verse 9 points out the manifestation of that love which was for us!


Consider God's own analogy of Himself in the story of the prodigal. What is it the father celebrates?


20 So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; 23 and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate. - Luke 15:20-24


There is so much to be learned here about the heart of God in the story of the prodigal that I'm having a hard time not side tracking to it (we do dive in on other articles listed herein). However, the point of this excerpt was to point out God's actions toward us that stem from His character apart from seeking to glorify Himself. Let me ask you this, when you read this story do you picture the father sitting on the porch thinking to himself "oh man, this is going to make me look so good!". Ridiculous. There should be no way you come to that conclusion when you read this story. What you see at work here is the love that Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.


Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; - 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a


The prodigal's father was watching the horizon out of compassion (v 20). While it does make the father look good, they did not celebrate because it made the father look good, they celebrated because "this son of mine was dead and has come to live again; he was lost and has been found." (v. 24).


Along those lines consider the hosts of heaven. Just before the story of the prodigal Jesus testifies that there is more joy in heaven in the presence of angels over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance (Luke 15:7, 10). Keep in mind these hosts of heaven are in the full glorious presence of the Father already! They already know the full extent of the glory of God! Yet when a sinner repents, they celebrate!


If it were just a matter of God glorifying Himself (that is to exalt Himself) than this could have been achieved through judgement. After all, even those who reject the free gift of salvation will still bow to God and honor Him as Lord thus glorifying the Father (Philippians 2:10-11). However God's characteristics consist of more than just being just and wrathful but as we pointed out earlier, His characteristics also consist of love, grace, and mercy among many more. His holiness and His love were both satisfied on the cross. I would venture to say that if God were only about God's glory than we couldn't grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30) because in our sin God's glory (specifically His mercy and grace) are magnified (Rom. 5:20, 6:1-2). Before we move on to the next article, may I conclude with one final Example to sum all these examples. That is Jesus Christ.


 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, - Hebrews 1:3 (emphasis mine)


in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. - 2 Corinthians 4:4 (emphasis mine)


15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. - Colossians 1:15 (emphasis mine)


 Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God, the exact representation of His nature. If you want to know God, God's heart, God's meekness, you need to look no further. Specifically let me highlight Philippians 2 below:


Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. - Philippians 2:3-7 (emphasis mine)


You know what a glory monger doesn't ever do...ever? They don't give up their glory for a path of humility. That's rule #1 at glory mongers camp. To do such a thing would be unthinkable. For God to do it, Him who is most glorious, it's even more astounding. To the Jews it's a stumbling block, to the gentiles it's foolishness (1 Cor. 1:23-24).


29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. - Matthew 11:29 (emphasis mine)


For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.” - Romans 15:2 (emphasis mine)


50 But I do not seek My glory; there is One who seeks and judges. 51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.” 52 The Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets also; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste of death.’ 53 Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be?” 54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’; - John 8:50-54


It is not good to eat much honey,
Nor is it glory to search out one’s own glory. - Proverbs 25:27 (emphasis mine)


God is first and foremost glorious, not because He seeks it, but because He is. From God's character stems His actions. Having established that, let's now proceed on the subject of God acting on behalf of His glory.


Write comment (0 Comments)

We've looked into what the glory of God is; we've established that God is first and foremost glorious and that His actions stem from His character.  Now we'll look specifically at God's actions as they relate to God's glory.


 “For the sake of My name I delay My wrath,
And for My praise I restrain it for you,
In order not to cut you off.
10 “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
11 “For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act;
For how can My name be profaned?
And My glory I will not give to another. - Isaiah 48:9-11


"For the sake of My name" (v.9), "For My own sake" (v11). In like manner to God's response to Moses, here also we see God and God's name used interchangeably. The word sake here is translated from the Hebrew word Ma'an (Strong's #4616) which as a noun means purpose or intent. Or as a verb it means 'on account of'. Ma'an is translated to sake in Isaiah 48:9-11 but in other verses in the bible, the same Hebrew word Ma'an is translated "reason" such as in Nehemiah 6:13 where it states "He was hired for this reason". In otherwords when it reads "For My own sake" it may also be translated "For My own reason" or "For My own purpose" or "For My own intent".


It's terrifying and relieving to understand that God's reason for doing things is Himself. It's terrifying because in regards to salvation it completely removes the control from our hands and puts us entirely at His mercy (Rom. 9:15), and we have no bargaining chips (Matt. 5:3, Psalm 5:4-5). It's relieving because God is merciful! He's not only merciful, He is merciful toward you based on who He is, NOT based on who you are. We'd like to think that when we do this good deed or support that missionary that God somehow increases in His love toward us. This however would imply that God lacked love for us in the first place (because it had room to increase), it implies that God is not all knowing (When in fact He knows all you'll ever do, good or bad, before you do it), and it implies that God is changing (that He is influenced by authoritive powers outside of Himself). While it may be terrifying to realize we can't provoke God to love (Luke 17:10), it's also a great relief to know that God has provoked God to love and does it on the condition of His glory; (the summation of all that He is)! Because the condition of God's love for you is Himself, and because He is unchanging (Mal. 3:6, Jam. 1:17), then His love for you is also unwavering at all times. God demonstrates this very truth to us here:


But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:8


At our worst possible state God sent His only begotten to die for us. We didn't ask for it, we didn't seek it, we certainly didn't deserve so great of love as this. This love was unconditional. If we look at God's feeling toward us based on the condition of us, based on what we deserve, than I urge you to read Psalm 5:4-5 which states that God takes no pleasure in wickedness and goes on to say He hates all who do iniquity (that's all of us). So if you are looking for conditional consideration of your works to be the basis of God's love and acceptance for you then...there you go. Fortunately, as David prayed (Psalm 25:7) and as Paul points out the answer to that prayer in the above verse. God loves you on one condition...and it's not you. It's Him!


“I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake,
And I will not remember your sins. - Isaiah 43:25


When is the last time you loved someone in a way that couldn't be influenced by them at all? By influence I mean who they are and what they've done in no way affects your utmost love for them. Never? You're not alone (Rom. 5:7). I've never seen this accomplished by men apart from the Holy Spirit (Acts. 7:59-60). This is however who God is!


"...for My praise..." (v9), "For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another." (v11). The question this raises is, why is it important to God that His reputation be upheld among the nations (Exo. 20:7)? Is God Almighty seeking validation from men? Absurd! To say such a thing is to say that God lacks self confidence, it's to say that God somehow needs man (Dan. 4:35, Isa. 40:17). Is God worried that He will somehow be reduced in glory? Again this is ridiculous. Like mankind can somehow change Him who is unchangeable (Jam. 1:17, Num. 23:19, Mal. 3:6, Exo. 3:14). Whether mankind gives God glory or not, it doesn't change the fact He's fully glorious. He has the same glory before the world was and after (John 17:5). So why is it important for God that His reputation be upheld and His glory be recognized?


28 Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, “An angel has spoken to Him.” 30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes. - John 12:28-30


"...but for your sakes." I do not know the mind of God except that of Himself He chooses to reveal (1 Cor. 2:11-12), but given the scriptures we have been given I would argue one included reason God does what God does is that God must be for Himself if He is also going to be for us; God glorifying Himself results simultaneously in our greatest benefit. His focus on glorifying Himself and His focus on bringing good things to His people are fused together. Our greatest benefit finds it's footing in God bringing glory to Himself. Though rest assured in advance as God is seeing to this matter personally.


19 For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. 20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me 22 The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. - John 17:19-23


God is giving us the best most loving gift there could ever be. Himself! (Luke 11:13). This isn't arrogant or prideful, it's a matter of fact. The best possible thing there has ever been is God, the best thing there ever will be is God. I hate using the word thing here as it's seemingly restrictive to that which is tangible, God is the best everything in everything (I'm still being limited by my language). Here is how the NASB puts it, God is our all in all (1 Cor. 15:28, Eph. 4:6). For God to give us Himself is to make us complete, perfect (Matt. 5:48), full of joy, happiness, and satisfaction (Psalm 16:11). What gift could a perfect God give who is perfectly loving that would perfectly satisfy so great a love as His? Himself!


13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” - Luke 11:13


To this end God labors so that we are enthralled with what is actually eternally satisfying: God. The moment we stop making life about us and realize it is about Him we can then start thriving with insurmountable satisfaction, joy, and happiness and peace that is not of this world (John 14:27).


11 You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. - Psalm 16:11


To give us anything else would be a lesser gift. God showing us His glory; God showing us Himself, is what is best for us on many levels. For starters, it is the definition of eternal life.


This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. - John 17:3


Furthermore, God knows that He is the one who brings true salvation (John 14:6).


44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God? - John 5:44


It would be unloving if God allowed His glory to go to another as it would deceive true seekers of His magnificence to that which isn't able to impart life (John 5:39). That's like allowing someone standing on a sinking ship to shout out to those splashing around in the dreadful waters below "come here, I will save you!" when the ship they're shouting from is on fire, water pouring in, and doomed for destruction. God makes sure that everyone knows who the true lifeboat is (Rom. 1:20, John 12:32).


22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. 23 I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord,” declares the Lord God, “when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight. - Ezekiel 36:22-23


 "...Then the nations will know that I am the Lord..." We need God to reveal Himself to us. It is in that place our present sufferings become insignificant and the magnitude of God reigns in our lives. Consider how Jesus answered to the sufferings of John the baptist (who was later beheaded [Matt. 14:10]).


Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” - Matthew 11:2-6


When you first read this, one might think, wow...how does that help John out? However, Jesus here was reminding John the secret of contentment. The same secret that was revealed to Paul (Phil. 4:11) and David (Psalm 16:11). Such a great and marvelous thing that it makes present sufferings insignificant. Jesus could have stopped Herod but rather Jesus gave a much greater gift, he revealed to John God's glory, God's goodness, God's sovereignty. Had John escaped the beheading he still would have endured other sufferings that would once again bring him to the question "are You the Expected One?" Instead of Jesus solving the temporary peril, He addressed the problem with an eternal solution. I don't know how John reacted to the message his disciples brought back, but given the character of God I know it's exactly what John needed. (See also God's regard for John [Matt. 11:7-14]). Like we've seen with both Moses and Paul, I suspect John gained an eternal perspective that made His present sufferings nothing compared to the glory of God.


While God's ultimate reason and authority for His actions are from Himself and for His purpose, it's not to say that God doesn't also, according to that purpose, do things for our sake (2 Kings 19:34, John 17:19, Romans 8:31). I'm not minimizing this reality, the bible is full of God's purpose resulting to our benefit (Luke 19:10, 2 Thess. 2:14, 1 Peter 3:9, 1 Tim. 6:17). This should be no surprise, He loves us! (Luke 15:20, 1 John 4:19). I'm simply intending to maximize the greater... greatest reason for God to act is God! This is His delight and for us yields the highest reward. For example, God enjoys giving grace (Isaiah 30:18) and therefore He does so because it pleases Him. Fortunate for us, we get to take advantage of that. In a very worldly analogy, wouldn't you want to stand next to a bazillionaire who was compelled for his own reasons to unconditionally give his riches to anyone who would receive it? (Please for your benefit, cross reference Matthew 22:9-10 and Luke 14:21-23).
Consider the glory of God. How magnificent He truly is. Consider the accomplishments of Christ. May I share with you one last reason it's to our benefit that God upholds His glory? Because it will be our glory. Understanding the splendor of Jesus Christ and the magnificence of God almighty, be humbled and in awe by God's amazing grace in these following verses.
22 The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; - John 17:22
16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. - Romans 8:16-17
21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. - 2 Corinthians 5:21
14 It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. - 2 Thessalonians 2:14

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. - Ephesians 3:14-19


Write comment (0 Comments)


Book Studies

Theological Studies

Study Series

The Gospel of Salvation



Drop Me a Line

Have some feedback, insight, questions, comments, prayer requests, etc? Maybe you just want to share what God is doing in your life (I love praise reports), or maybe you can relate to some of the things here and need an ear. I'd love to hear from you!