The Glorious Glory of God While recently thinking about the phase “Glory of God”, I was prompted to discover what that really means. What is the Glory of God? My mind quickly recalled the most familiar verse that everyone more than likely has memorized. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.” I noticed a small three letter word that can bring powerful meaning to Scripture; that word is “and”. “For all have sinned” is not disputed by most people. The majority of believer’s and nonbelievers will tell you that they have sin in their lives. I think this is way too obvious as a means to understanding this verse fully; to stop there and believe this as a main principle behind this verse is missing the point. Even as true Christians, we still sin. The power of this verse comes after the “and”. To “fall short” is easily understood and can be defined as: •
to come late or too tardily
to be left behind in the race and so fail to reach the goal, to fall short of the end
metaph. fail to become a partaker, fall back from
to be inferior in power, influence and rank
of the person: to be inferior to
to fail, be wanting
to be in want of, lack
to suffer want, to be devoid of, to lack (be inferior) in excellence, worth
I really like the last point, “to lack (be inferior) in excellence, worth”. Yes, sin is falling short or failing to reach the goal of God’s righteous moral standard (aka - The 10 Commandments). As sinful humans, we also fail to bring God glory. Is there more to this verse than just the fact that we all sin or does the “and” offer cause to believe there is something more revealed here? Let’s look at the word “glory” for a moment. The word used here is Doxa which is always used in the NT as a good opinion concerning one, resulting in praise, honor, and glory. Doxa is derived from the word Dokew (to think, suppose, seem good or please) which, in turn, is derived from the word Deiknuw. Deiknuw means to expose to the eyes, to give evidence of a thing or to show by words or teach. So let’s give a definition of “glory” that might be a little easier to understand. Glory means to expose to the eyes by words or teaching the good pleasure of a thing or person where the final result is a good opinion, praise and honor of the thing or person to which or whom the glory is given. Clear as mud? Now let’s ascribe glory to God in this context. If we are to give glory to God, we must be capable of showing to others by our words and teaching the goodness or excellence of God. By this definition, we “fall short”; way short. So to paraphrase Romans 3:23, we all have sin AND we are incapable of displaying the Glory of God. So how is the Glory of God exposed?
The Glorious Glory of God Consider what Hebrews 1:1-4 says regarding the “Glory of God” - “Long ago, at many
times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.” Though the above verse is written in the context of showing that Jesus is superior to even the angels, we can see just how superior or excellent He truly is. Jesus is the Glory of God. He is the “radiance of the glory of God.” Radiance or brightness is a compound word meaning to shine out of. In other words, the glory of God is shown out of Jesus. Remember the word Doxa? Listed along with words like honor, splendor, magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity and grace is another definition which describes my point; “the absolutely perfect inward or personal excellency of Christ; the majesty” So what is my point? The Glory of God can only be rightly seen in the majesty and excellency of the work of Jesus Christ. Any attempt, in our own power, to shine forth the Glory of God will always be tainted with sin and fall extremely short of the glory of God. We will only bring right glory to God when we are ushered into Heaven and our sin nature is removed. Please understand that this does not let us off the hook, it simply means that every attempt to show forth the Glory of God must point people to Jesus Christ. A true Christian will consider the Glory of God and say, “What will it take, Lord, to bring You glory? Even if it requires my life, let it be so.” Jesus is the only acceptable “radiance of the Glory of God” and He must be in the center of all we communicate. He is the only One that does not fall short in bringing forth God’s glory. What Jesus did on the cross is “the exact imprint” of God’s nature (Hebrews 1:1-4). That nature is seen in the rest of the passage in Romans chapter 3; “and is justified by his
grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” The Glory of God is a sinner being justified by the appeasing sacrifice of Jesus who absorbed the full wrath of God, ascended to the right hand of God and makes intersession on behalf of the child of God. That is glorious; that is the Glory of God; that is Jesus.