Sunday, November 22, 2009

The God of Glory

Moses once beseeched God that he might see God’s glory, and God indeed revealed His glory by passing by His servant on the mountainside. Such was the power and radiance of the Lord that Moses’ face shone with the splendor of that encounter with the living God, and the children of Israel were actually afraid to approach him afterward. When the tabernacle of the wilderness and the temple of Solomon were complete God’s shekinah glory filled both, so that the result was no man could approach to sacrifice or worship. Jesus, in the prayer mold He taught to believers, ascribed the kingdom, power and glory to God alone, as was befitting Him. The natural world declares the glory of God, the psalmist explains, and the universe in all its tremendous complexity declares His amazing power, creative ability, and utter genius that surpasses all human industry or understanding. The Old Testament prophets called the salvation of God glorious. God’s revealed arm and will were glorious to His children, who looked for naught but death, and instead found eternal life and present consolation. The appearance of Jesus Christ revealed God’s glory, and the ministry of Christ is indeed the ministry of glory, as Paul told the Colossian believers of his day.

God’s glory is in His perfection. All of His attributes are in perfect, harmonious accord, so that one never supercedes the others, and none are diminished or magnified in gross distortion. God’s love is glorious, for it reaches down to a world of sinners who hate Him, and killed His Son, and saves them out of their sins, making them fit children for the kingdom of Heaven. God’s holiness is glorious, for it is the expression of His unique character, set apart from His creation by His uncreated nature and eternal mind and will. Nothing in God has beginning or end of years, and everything about Him is entirely pure, sinless, and undefiled. He is altogether holy, and anything considered holy is only so by virtue of His cleansing presence and power in that vessel. God’s justice is glorious, in that it is exact and fair, honest and without bias. There will be honest accounts kept for the day of judgment, as there will be honest accounts kept for the doling of reward when the saints come to the bema seat before Christ. God shall punish sin justly, and no man or woman sentenced before the Great White Throne will have anything to say on their own behalf, to excuse themselves, because all excuse will be rendered void. Great light has shone through the gospel, and by the light given, so too shall a man be judged. God is perfect in justice. God’s power is glorious. He who made the heavens and the earth, who called existence and all the massive expanse of the universe into being from nothing, is glorious in His works. The intricate beauty of the snowflake, or the staggering complexity of a single cell in the human body, the Maker’s power is stamped on each of these, as much as the farthest, most remote galaxy that exists. The progression of seasons and their timely order, or the strength of the body and how a child becomes an adult; all of this reveals God’s power, His authority to direct and control what He has created. The beginning of Genesis alone is stark testimony of His incredible power, and how God spoke and Heaven and earth leapt out of nothing at His bidding. The created order sings the praises of God, and all of nature is mute testimony as to the scope and majesty of the power which belongs only to Him. Ascribe power to our God, for power belongs to Him: He invented it, and is vested with it.

God’s grace is glorious, and Christians should marvel at His grace. By grace He overlooks the sins of men who rail against Him, giving them time on this earth to repent of their sins and believe. He even knows whether or not a man will believe, yet does not remove such men from the earth in the heat of anger, but allows them their “Heaven” here, knowing with grief what eternity awaits them. His grace condescends when the human heart, smitten by the Holy Spirit, cries out to God to be saved. He rushes forth and grants salvation because of Christ, and His sacrifice, and the angels in Heaven rejoice. God’s grace is His kindness toward ungrateful, hateful, proud men and women who want nothing to do with Him; who reject Him and His gospel out of hand. God’s grace is to believers to sustain us when we are saved, to cleanse us when we grow filthy, to pick us up when we fall into transgression, and to deliver us into glory when at last our time on this earth expires. God is overly gracious to us, letting rain fall on good and evil, and not punishing every sin as it occurs, or who would live? His grace gives us faith, and His grace seals us for the day of redemption of the purchased possession. The Holy Spirit abides in us, and by His grace, His unmerited affection for us, He provides a Christian with strength to excel, and in Him we have life and breath and all things. God’s patience is glorious. He is long suffering, wishing that none perish, but all come to the knowledge of salvation, which is open and free for anyone who desires it.

Jesus Christ bled and died for the whole world, including any who are reading this post. He is patient, waiting for you to hearken to His call, waiting for you to realize the danger of your position, waiting for you to become disgusted with your sin, to turn from it and repent and be saved. His patience toward us is nothing less than the finest parent attending an unruly infant. He endures long and suffers much grief, listening to His Son’s name being blasphemed on the lips of those who hate Him. But He waits, and through His word reconciles a lost world to Himself, one child at a time, through the ministry of the gospel, delivered to His children and commanded to be brought forth into all the world, for their good.

God’s wrath is glorious, and fearful. It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God says the writer of Hebrews; and this passage is addressed to believers! The Old Testament judgments, including the awesome power of the Flood and Sodom and Gomorrah, pale in comparison to Revelation, where the summit of an angry and wrathful God is at last poured out on an unbelieving, hardened, Satan-worshiping world. Anyone enthralled with themselves is ultimately worshiping the Devil in their own right, because such pride was the original sin of Lucifer, who apparently loved himself so much that he wanted to replace God, and so does everyone who rejects Him. God’s wrath abides on those who reject Christ, and His wrath will be spent on those who do not obey the gospel of His Son. His wrath will be glorious as He destroys this world order, and all that it stands for, demolishing governments, policies, false religions and ecumenical blindness to establish His kingdom, and to usher in true righteousness and peace; a false hope and pipe dream without Jesus. His wrath will burn into Hell, and will only inflict what our sins and rebellion deserve. He will be glorified by His people in that Day, and admired by those who have waited and hoped for Him.

God is altogether glorious, and removing anything from His character or person creates a deficient picture of God, with flawed notions of His attributes, which will never outweigh one another. Mercy triumphs over judgment, but only to those who flee the wrath to come by coming to Christ by faith, and believing in Him. God’s mercy and love may be fully demonstrated only when you are no longer an offender in God’s court, so why remain with such a sentence passed, looming over your head like a storm making ready to burst? God’s majesty is glorious; He is King of kings, Lord of lords, Prince of Peace, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, God of comfort, God our Provider, God our Banner, God All-sufficient. Nothing in Heaven or earth, nor the farthest reaches of all existence compare with the glorious, unparalleled beauty, found in the Uncreated One. He is Maker of all, before all, and above all. For Christians, He is in you all; through the Holy Spirit He abides in us, an everlasting consolation in times of joy or trouble. Like Moses saw the glory of God on the mountain, and it transformed him for the rest of his life, so too should anyone who catches a glimpse of the God of glory. It should radiate from us, be visible to others, mark and perfume our life so that the stamp of God is on His child, re-created in the image of Him who begot him. We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which He has before hand appointed us to.

To the Christian, through the Spirit and believing God’s word in the Bible, we can glimpse better than Moses did the God of glory whom we serve, and by whom we are purchased men and women, stewards of God and ambassadors. Let all the world resound with the chorus of God’s majesty, power and glory. As the prophet wrote, for the earth shall be covered with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. The glory of God shall be fulfilled in the new heavens and new earth, when God shall personally dwell among His redeemed saints forever, and we shall be testimony of His love, mercy and glory in bringing us out of sin, and into His kingdom. It shall be eternal, this city, enduring for as long as God’s glory will last: forever. And it shall be personified in Jesus Christ, the face of the invisible God, and the appearance of His glory. Amen.

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