As part of this talk, the second of a three-part series on the love of God, Mike Reeves explains what it means to talk about God’s glory.
Christians use this sort of language a lot, I find. People talk about ‘glorifying God’ and wanting to ‘bring glory to him’ in what they do. That sort of language is used a lot, and quite often I’m not entirely sure what is meant by that. I know we all sort of nod along and say ‘Yes, yes, we want to glorify God’, but what do we mean by that, exactly? Is it pious blather? Well, it is if you don’t understand it, anyway. And so I’m not sure what people do mean, quite often. Usually, and especially when we’re in thinking of God as a law-giver mode, we tend to associate glory with ‘power’ words, words like ‘fame’ and ‘honour’, as if that’s what God is really interested in. Now, when that happens, when you think that’s what glory is, then God’s concern for his glory – which is a biblical theme – does start sounding rather selfish. What is God concerned with? ‘His own power and status’.
Well, what is glory, biblically? That’s what I want us to see now. Well, the word ‘glory’ literally means ‘heaviness’ or ‘weight’ – which is something I love because it means I’m more glorious than you. The glory of something is its mass, its substance, its bulk, its essence, it’s what makes it up, it’s its main thing. So God’s glory, then, is his essence, what he’s most essentially like, what he is. Which means that glorifying God is not about bigging him up, because you can’t! Glorifying God: when you give God the glory, you simply ascribe to God what is already his. In other words, you proclaim and make known and declare him to be as he truly is, in all his beauty. That is to glorify him.
So, the glory of God is like light shining out, and that is what God in his innermost being is like. He is a sun of light, warmth, life, always shining out. In other words, in his innermost being God is, beautifully, love.