beautiful sunrise and cloudy sky

beautiful sun rise and cloudy sky

Background Text: 1 Peter 1:11

Devotional Text: Ephesians 1:17-18

When we do good works, serving our fellow human being in a way that is delightful to the Lord, we are also glorifying our God.

In the first column in this series, we learned that the glory of God comes from the Latin word gloria, meaning fame or renown. In the Wikipedia religious definition for the glory of God we find its meaning as “the manifestation of God’s presence as perceived by humans in the Abrahamic religions.” And, in the Christian faith, particularly, it is “the understanding of God’s glory in giving one’s self 100% to Christ.”

In other definitions of glory, there is the word, kabod, from the Hebrew language in the Old Testament, that refers to weight or significance. As used in Psalm 19:1, this meaning for the word glory refers to God’s creation of the heavens and the Earth.

The Greek word doxa, used in the New Testament for glory, refers to honor and praise to our God.

Finally, God’s presence is manifested through light. Not as the light from the sun, but as supernatural light, as the light that shines from within believers as they display God’s glory. It is the light that comes from Jesus, as “the light of the world” (John 8:12).

The New Testament puts it like this in Matthew 5:16: “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven.”

We let people know we do things for God by pointing upward, by kneeling, pointing to our heart, or by simply saying thanks to God.

Today, we are completing the understanding of God’s glory within Jesus, and how God’s glory becomes revealed within believers as we read the New Testament.

In John 1:14, we come to know Jesus as God’s son and as God, who was sent to Earth in the flesh. He came full of God’s grace and truth, and through him we see God’s glory.

As we go to John 11:38-44, we read the remarkable, even glorious, work of God as Jesus brought Lazarus back to life. The words Jesus spoke to Lazarus’ sister Martha, in verse 40, echo with the importance of trusting in Jesus — “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you will see the glory of God?”

Continuing in the gospel of John, we turn to chapter 15:8. These are words spoken by Jesus to his disciples at the Last Supper: “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

As Jesus was preparing his followers for his arrest and death on the cross, he spoke these words to them, as well as to us, his followers of this time. By spreading the good news about the death and resurrection and salvation through Jesus, and how the Lord Jesus has blessed us as believers, we too are adding to God’s glory.

Chapter 17 of John shows us the three prayers of Jesus in the garden, just before his arrest. Here, Jesus prayed for himself and what was to come, he prayed for the safety of his current followers, and he prayed for all future believers.

Jesus ended his personal prayer to the Father in verse 5 by asking for the same glory he had shared with the Father before the world began, as, at that time, he was preparing to return to our Father God.

Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all one God. Present at the beginning, glorified in God’s presence (praise-worthy and filled with light), and using God’s glory (by the weight of his power) for creation.

Verses 21-23 speak directly to us, present and future followers of Christ. Jesus asked the Father in this section of his prayer to help believers understand that just as Jesus is one with God, so are all who believe. He has asked God to give us the same glory that Father God gave to him, so that we may all be in unity, just as Father and Son are united. He asked God to help us know that God loves us all with the same love he has given to Jesus.

These are powerful words.They speak of our present and future as followers of Christ. They show us that the light of God that is in the world through Jesus, is the same light that God imparts on us as we follow his path for our lives. He gives us the ability to joyfully speak of his loving grace and truth and mercy.

In Romans 5:2c, the apostle Paul tells us that as believers “we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God,” even as we go through difficult times. God’s hope remains in us through his love for us.

Reading 1 Corinthians 10:31 reminds us that all that we do, we should do “for the glory of God.”

As we remain in Christ, 2 Corinthians 3:18 goes on to say that we reflect God’s glory. Not only that, but as we continue to grow in Christ, following his ways, we are transformed by this same glory into his likeness with ever-increasing glory.

Some translations call it being “transformed from glory to glory.” What these words are actually saying to us is that as we follow Christ, we become more and more the people that God has always meant for us to be.

Following God’s plan increases God’s glory in our lives. This allows our light in Christ to shine before the world as well. The good that we do in the world draws people to us, and through us, to Christ. This is how we joyfully serve our Savior in this world.

As Colossians 1:27 says, Christ who is in us, is the hope of glory. In 2 Corinthians 4:4, we learn that the light of the gospel message is the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. Hebrews 1:3 tells us that Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory, and Ephesians 5:8 says we are “to walk as the children of the light.”

Finally, always remember Ephesians 1:17-18, urging us to pray for the hope of his calling, which is also the hope of his glory. For when we inherited Christ as our Savior and our brother, his glory was placed within us by God.

The Rev. Kathy Brumbaugh is the pastor of the Schenevus United Methodist Church in Schenevus, New York.

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