Glory - The Result of Grace

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, July 5, 2012 0 comments

About a year ago, I heard my best friend and closest brother in Christ put our word for this week and its relationship to human beings in a context that I had never heard it put before. It changed the way I view our responsibility in "bringing glory to God". What my friend said and often prayed was this: "Lord, please give me the grace I need to glorify You". What an amazing and critical truth that my friend discovered! "Bringing glory to God" is part of the Christian-ese (to steal Katie's word from Monday's blog) that we often hear in and around the church. However, the reality of God's nature and presence is that He brings glory to Himself through everything that He has created, including human beings! We really shouldn't talk about the act of bringing glory to God like it's something we can will ourselves to do. Let's not give ourselves too much credit. Any created thing must rely on its design from the creator to do the purpose for which it was created. Human beings are no different. We were created to bring glory to God like the rest of creation and are reliant on our Creator to do so. Since our flesh and sin threatens our very purpose on a daily basis, we are in desperate need of God's grace just to be able to do what we were created to do.

Katie did a wonderful job in Monday's blog of defining this very difficult word. I've also heard it described as the "shining out of God's presence". I want to focus this writing on the reality of human beings being created to do that very thing. An Old Testament passage that really spoke to me on this matter is Isaiah 6. I would encourage you to not only read, but also meditate on this Scripture. In Isaiah 6, the prophet explains an experience he had that you and I should not envy. He actually SEES THE LORD! It may have been a vision, but you can tell from his writing that it was as real as can be to Isaiah. And trust me, you DO NOT want to see the Lord in all of His glory without Jesus acting as your go-between, which would have been the situation for Isaiah. The glory of the Lord literally terrifies the prophet because he knows how unworthy he is to experience it. Even the seraphs, angels who are dazzling in appearance and sinless, are afraid of the presence of the Lord. "Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying" (v. 2). They did not want to see nor be seen by the Lord. Isaiah goes on to describe the details of what he saw, including the train of the Lord's robe filling the temple, a throne, smoke, the whole earth filled with the Lord's glory, and the violent shaking of doorposts and thresholds. He then essentially freaks out because he realizes the consequence of seeing the Lord as an unclean (sinful) man (v. 5). We then see the removal of guilt and the atonement of his sins, restoring him and setting him free to do whatever it is the Lord has created him to do (v. 7). In vv. 8-13, we find out that Isaiah's purpose is to go and speak a very hard truth of God to the people. This shows us that God's glory does not always mean pleasantries. His presence and holiness means judgment for those who have not accepted atonement for their sins. It also means restoration and growth for those who experience punishment if they accept God's glory in their lives from that point forward.

What amazes me about that story is the fact that God very easily could have just left Isaiah out of it. The initial verses that are so descriptive of the scene of God's glory prove that He needs no one and nothing to show that glory on the earth. Yet, He chooses to allow Isaiah to be a crucial part of the process of bringing it to the people. God does this even though He knows it won't be easy. He allows the process of atonement to run its course, rather than just zapping Isaiah with some "perfection juice" and forcing him to be what he is not ready to be. God allows Isaiah to first see His glory, which humbles the prophet to the point that he is willing to accept atonement. Once he is cleansed and realizes that it is only grace that has made this atonement possible, Isaiah wants nothing more than to do as the Lord asks and proclaim His glory to the people.

Folks, this is exactly how it is supposed to be in our lives! Think about the Apostle Paul in Acts 9 as well. He had an experience where a "light from heaven", which is simply another description for God's glory (the Greek word there could be translated this way), flashed around him and humbled him to the point where he became willing to do anything God required of him as a simple response to the grace shown to him. As Christians in 2012, we too are called to go anywhere and do anything God asks of us in response to His great love and grace poured out to us. We need grace to glorify Him just as we were created to do. Once you fully experience and understand the magnitude of this grace, there is no other appropriate response than to let God's presence "shine outwardly" through your life into everything you do and every soul you meet!