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THEOLOGY > Man > Purpose of Man > Glorify God 


Give unto Yahweh, O you mighty ones,
give unto Yahweh glory and strength.
Give unto Yahweh the glory due to His name;
worship Yahweh in the beauty of holiness.
Ps. 29:2

The purpose of man is to give glory to God—twice this is affirmed in the above verse. Both Testaments declare that glory should be given to God the Father and His Christ:

Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples, give to Yahweh glory and strength. Give to Yahweh the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship Yahweh in the beauty of holiness (I Chron. 16:29);

Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever (Rev. 5:13).

No elements of life are detached from a relationship to God’s glory, however seemingly trivial they appear; in all activities the glory of God is the central consideration: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (I Cor. 10:31; see: I Pet. 4:11). Numerous writers restate this truth, for example: “The glory of God is a silver thread which must run through all our actions” (Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity, 6).

For man to have the responsibility to give glory to God does not imply that God is without glory, for He is declared to be glorious. He is “the God of glory” (Acts 7:2), and His glory is set above the heavens (Ps. 8:1; see: Ps. 113:4). God’s glory is what He is in Himself; the word “glory” speaks of His intrinsic essence and excellence—glory is what He is in His majesty! His right hand is glorious (Ex. 15:6), and even His voice is glorious (Isa. 30:30). And God will not give His glory to another (Isa. 48:8). Glorious is His Name (I Chron. 29:13; Neh. 9:5; Ps. 72:19).

A profound question arises. How does man glorify God? How do you give glory to “the God of glory?” How do you give glory to the glorious One, the only One who is glorious? How can man give to God that which belongs uniquely to God? How can man give to God that which God is?

Part of the answer resides in an understanding that the giving of glory to God is not an actual giving to Him but is an ascribing, a recognition, a declaration, a confession of God. It is really a confession that arises from an increasing understanding of the nature of God—it is a confession that culminates in worship.

To glorify God is to recognize that He alone is glorious and to ascribe to Him the glory that belongs to Him only. It is to affirm who He is and what He does. And the affirmation flows from an understanding of these facts regarding Him, and an understanding that the facts are united and cannot be separated. God is what He does, and what He does is who He is. This relationship in seen in the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb:

Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? for You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been manifested (Rev. 15:3-4).

Note who He is: He is “Lord”; He is “God”; He is “Almighty”; He is “King”; He is “holy”; note what He does: His works are “great”; His works are “marvelous”; His ways are “just”; His ways are “true”; and His “judgments have been manifested.”

Therefore, in light of who He is and what He does, the double question is asked: Who shall not fear You? and, Who shall not glorify Your name? That is, because of what you know about Him, how can you not give recognition to Him? How can the believer not glorify His name? How can the believer not give glory to the One who is glorious? How can one who knows Him not confess Him?

It is instructive to point out that the giving of glory leads the believer to come to Him and then to worship before Him. And the life of worship constitutes a continual giving of glory to God.

To give glory to God is to affirm that all of reality exists because of Him. “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever” (Rom. 11:36; see: Col. 1:16-17). This is emphatically stated in the words of the twenty-four elders: "You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created" (Rev. 4:11).

God is deserving of the ascription of glory because He created all things and holds all things together. And all of creation displays His glory, that is, creation gives testimony to its Creator. According to Calvin creation is “the theatre of His glory”; this is to affirm that the glory of creation is the glory of God.

An understanding of the existence of creation in its proper relationship to the Creator is to declare with the psalmist: “And let the whole earth be filled with His glory” (72:19). Proper metaphysical reflection terminates in the giving of glory to God.

To give glory to God is to confess that salvation is His doing. Neither the accomplishment of redemption nor the merit of redemption can be claimed by man, for the sum of man’s contribution to his salvation can be nothing but sin, a sin that can only damn. If there is to be individual salvation, then it must appear from outside of man. It must be effected by Another.

“For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Cor. 6:20). Here Paul states a fact (salvation) and the results that should be manifest because of the fact (glorify God). To ascribe to God the glory that is His is to grasp that salvation is of the Lord.

In the theological passage in Ephesians that informs the believer of the work of the Trinity in his redemption (1:1-14), Paul twice assets that all of that soteriological plan, accomplishment, and application is “to the praise of His glory” (1:12, 14). To understand the nature of salvation is to be compelled to give glory to God.

To give glory to God is for the believer to be maturing in his faith. John relates growth in the life of the Christian with God receiving glory from the Christian: "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples" (Jo. 15:8).

When the Father examines the life of the believer He should not find “wild grapes” (Isa. 5:1-7; lit., “stinking things”) as He did in the nation of Israel. Rather there should be good grapes, or, in the words of Jesus, there should be “fruit,” “more fruit,” and “much fruit” (Jo. 15:1, 3, 5, 8). In this way God is glorified.

God is determined to be glorified in the believer’s life; therefore, to insure fruitfulness, He “prunes”; in other words, the Father brings hurt into the believing life in order that the saved one will be strengthened and consequently more productive.

If the pruning does not take place, then the branches are cut and cast into the fire. Jesus asserts that only by bearing fruit can one be “My disciple.”

To give glory to God is to worship Him: An aspect of worship is the contemplation of Deity; the psalmist declared: “I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty” (Ps. 145:5). Meditation must be focused on content and not the vain repetition of some mantra; it must be focus on the “glorious splendor” of God’s magnificence. And reflection on His majesty will require a response of worship. The psalmist also declared: “Give unto Yahweh the glory due to His name; worship Yahweh in the beauty of holiness” (Ps. 29:2). To give Yahweh the glory due to him is to worship and adore Him.

The essence of paganism and all unbelief is given expression by Paul in Romans: “They did not glorify Him as God” (1:21). In other words, God was not given His due—God was not recognized as God and was not acknowledged to be God. God was denied the glory that is His. Is any sin greater? Is not the essence of sin not giving God His worthy recognition?

The passion of the believer is the passion of the psalmist:

Blessed be Yahweh God of Israel,
who only does wondrous things!
And blessed be His glorious name forever!
And let the whole earth be filled with His glory.
Ps. 72:18-19

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