The following is an edited transcript of the audio.
How does the Bible orient us around the glory of God?
I'm just overwhelmed, and have been for 40 years, with the centrality in the Bible of the glory of God.
It is presented to us pervasively as the goal of all existence.
- We were created for the glory of God (Isaiah 43:7).
- "Whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31).
So it should be pervasive, right down to whether I just took that last swig of water for the glory of God. And here's another one. [Drinks another sip of water.] So thank you, Father, for this. Please sustain my throat.
It's amazing how pervasive in the Bible is the language of the glory of God.
The Bible is, first of all, quantitatively shot through with glory language. And, secondly, it talks about it is as the goal of all things and the hope of the believer.
So, in answer to the question about seeing and being the glory of God, the Bible says, Romans 5:2, "We hope in the glory of God." We hope in the glory of God. So our hope as believers is that one day we will see the glory of God, and that will be infinitely satisfying.
Or Jesus prays in John 17:24, "Father, I ask that those whom you have given me may be with me where I am to see my glory." What an amazing thing! There he is, saying, "The ultimate prayer that I can pray for my people is that they would see my glory." And I think that's because we are created in the image of God so that we delight most of all in the glory of God.
So our ultimate satisfaction consists in seeing the glory of God. And then I use the phrase "being the glory of God"—though you told me not to use it, because it runs the risk of misunderstanding.
(David sent me an email yesterday saying, "Don't you want to change 'being the glory of God' to 'sharing in the glory of God,'" and I wrote back and said, "Yes, do that." I really like when things rhyme—"seeing" and "being"—but he said, "Yes, but it's too risky maybe.")
What I mean is Romans 8:30: "Those whom he justified he glorified." Or what Jesus says in Matthew 13, "Your faces will shine like the sun in the kingdom of your Father."
So we will not just see the glory of God. We will be caught up into it and share it so that it radiates off of us. We will shine like the sun in the kingdom of our Father.
As our little cinder gets near his sun, it will glow with his glory, and we will see each other as glorious beings. But it won't be intrinsic to us. It will be his glory in us, so that there's never any idolatry. Never any idolatry in heaven or in the new heavens and the new earth.
Every beauty that we see in the nature which God recreates in the new heavens and the new earth—there will be ample beauty everywhere—it will never tempt us to love the gift and not the Giver.
So glory will be in us and in the new creation in such a way that it is perfectly throwing all attention back to the Father.
I just see this as pervasive in the Bible as the goal of all existence and as the hope of the believer, both to see it and admire it, and to be caught up into it and reflect it.