What Is The Glory Of God According To The Bible?
The glory of God is a prominent theme throughout the Bible, from the Book of Genesis through to the Book of Revelation. Other terms, such as “majesty” and “splendor,” are sometimes used in scripture to describe the glory of God. The Bible gives us an insight into the glory of God—declaring his holiness and power, as well as the power of his name and his sometimes mysterious ways.
The psalmist in Scripture declared God’s glory in his works, his greatness to the furthest corners of the land, and the loss and confusion of idol worshippers in the face of God’s power and glory. The kings and rulers of the nations were made to declare God’s glorious works to their people. The Book of Ezekiel describes God’s glory as a brilliant light, like flashes of lightning and a devouring fire that consumes all that it touches.
For many people, the power of the glory of God is often understood in physical terms and images. But the Bible also reveals that the glory of God contains a spiritual dimension, as it enlightens and empowers the human spirit. The glory of God is sometimes portrayed as a cloud, which speaks of God’s unknowable presence and reminds us that we can never truly comprehend the power or the majesty of God.
Throughout the Bible, it is made clear that the glory of God is something to be feared and respected. Every time God’s glory appeared, people fell to the ground overcome with terror, awe and reverence. But the glory of God is also something to be celebrated and embraced, as it can be experienced as a delightful blessing and life-changing moment. The Bible states that our love for God and for one another should cause us to draw on the glory of God and shine as a beacon of hope and spiritual light for the world.
These experiences that people had of being in the presence of the glory of God show us the importance of being set apart for God and for his true glory. Jesus himself said that if anyone wished to come after him, they must deny themselves and live for the glory of God. Ultimately, the glory of God is not something that can be controlled or tamed. It is something that must be given freely, without condition, and with utmost reverence.
Glory of God in Creation
The Bible talks of God’s glory in creation, which stretches through passages in the Old and New Testaments. Genesis opens with an account of God as Creator, “And God spoke: Let there be light! And there was light.” This act of creation is repeated throughout the entire Bible and each account includes a powerful acknowledgement of God’s glory. By his own design, God created the world and everything in it. By His hand the world continues to stand, in all its beauty and mysterious vastness – a testament to the power, creativity, and glory of God.
God’s glory can be seen in the attributes of our physical world—the intricate beauty found in nature and in the human spirit. Psalm 19 reminds us that the heavens declare the glory of God—the universe itself is seen to be a testimonial to His creative power. In the New Testament, the majestic glory of God can be seen in the lives of people who choose to follow Him. To have a glorious life is to have a close and intimate relationship with God, where the love and power of His Spirit leads us to make a difference in the world.
The act of worship is primarily done to honor and glorify God–to become a living sacrifice, devoted and conforming to the will of God. As Jesus stated in Matthew 6:10, we pray “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Whenever we seek to bring glory to God, we bring spiritual joy not only to God, but to ourselves and to the world. The glory of creation challenges us to live humbly, thankfully, and faithfully in the knowledge of His greatness and in the realization of His goodness.
Glory of God in Salvation
The Bible teaches that we as human beings have been created to glorify God. We are called to live in such a way that draws others to look to God, through us, and come to recognize His power, love and mercy. As the prophet Isaiah wrote, “I am the Lord; that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another Nor My praise to carved images”. (Isaiah 42:8)
In addition to God’s glory displayed in nature and in our lives, it is most prominently found in God’s provision of salvation. The greatest form of God’s glory is found in Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection that saved us from our sins and opened the way to a personal relationship with God. His victory over death, sin, and evil is the ultimate glory of God that brings us into His light and transforms us gradually into His image.
The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:10 that “by the grace of God, I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect.” In other words, the power and glory of God is most clearly seen by the work of grace that comes through His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus’ victory is the ultimate glory of God, showing us that there is a way to a restored relationship with our Father and that hope can be found in Him.
Glory of God in Judgment
The Bible also speaks of God’s glory in judgment. We are warned of the consequences of living in sin and rebellion and told that God will not stand idly by while people ignore Him. The Old Testament writers made it clear that the fullness of God’s glory will be revealed by His perfect justice and righteousness, which will ultimately result in the destruction of unrighteousness, in both this world and in the afterlife.
The Book of Revelation particularly speaks of the glory of God in judgment, as we are presented with a vision of the ultimate destruction of evil at the hands of God–symbolically represented in imagery such as the pouring out of bowls, the sounding of trumpets, and fiery destruction. The glory of God is seen in the judgment of the living and the dead and the establishment of a new kingdom.
The glory of God can also be seen in the mercy and love that He displays to those who turn to Him. The Bible tells us that He is a God of justice and mercy—and that He will judge each according to their own deeds. The glory of God cannot be underestimated in its importance in our lives and we should always be mindful of His incredible mercy and grace, even in the face of judgment.
Glory of God in Our Lives
The glory of God is a complex concept, with many various aspects. When we focus our lives on glorifying Him, we are able to experience His love and power more fully. We can become aware of God’s holy presence and come to deepen our relationship with Him. Paul wrote in Romans 5:5 “the love of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Spirit”.
The glory of God is something that must be chosen and willingly accepted, and surrendered to in every aspect of life. When we are willing to offer our lives up to Him and live for His glory, we come to experience the fullness of His presence and power, as we come to understand His incredible grace, mercy, and love. Our lives should demonstrate His goodness, declaring His glory to the world and rejoicing in His wondrous works.
Glory of God Through Suffering
Suffering is often seen as an obstacle to glorifying God, yet the Bible speaks of the glory of God being seen in the midst of our trials. Job, for example, went through much adversity yet still proclaimed, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:21).
God can be glorified in our suffering because He allows it in order to test our faith and bring us to a greater understanding of His great power and goodness. It is in our sorrows and trials that God’s name is made most known and able to bring glory to Him, as Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 12:9–10: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
We can remain steadfast in our faith and hold firmly to the assurance that God is always glorified by our obedience even through the most difficult of times. We may not understand it now, but this is what will bring ultimate glory and honor to Him.
Glory of God in Everyday Living
Glory is seen in the ordinary, everyday task of making the world a better place. By caring for the sick, feeding the hungry, or offering comfort to those in circumstances of darkness or despair—we are partaking in the glory of God. Every act of kindness brings greater glory to God than any words could express. As Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
The glory of God does not come about simply because everything is going our way and life is good. The glory of God is revealed in our lives through our willingness to obey Him and trust Him, even though things may not always go our way. Allowing God’s power to be displayed through us, even through our darkest moments is the only way to truly begin to understand and experience His glory. Revelation 21:23-25 says “The city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth bring their glory into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut for there will be no night there.”
When we vainly search for glory in ourselves, we are quickly left feeling unfulfilled and confused, but when we open our hearts to God, when we permit Him to be our light and our guide, we can experience and share His glory and receive more perfect contentment and joy in Him.