How do we glorify God? Are there some specific actions or
attitudes which bring Him glory? Is glorifying God limited to the actions of
individuals or is this something a church, ministry or denomination can do?
Since one of my three main goals for the Biblical Recorder is to glorify God,
it will be helpful to initiate some discussion on the subject.
Most students of the Bible are familiar with the first
question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism. It simply asks, “What is the
chief end of man?” The response is equally simple, “Man’s chief end is to
glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” While Baptists are not accustomed to
the regular recitation of the catechism, we should not ignore the priority of
The Holman Bible Dictionary defines “glory” as “The weighty
importance and shining majesty which accompany God’s presence. The basic
meaning of the Hebrew word kabod is heavy in weight… This is not so much
something someone bestows on another as a quality of importance which a person,
group or nation has and which another recognizes.”
The New Testament word for glory is doxa. This Greek word
expresses a kind of glory that is exclusively reserved for God. Since there is
no one or no thing comparable to Him, He alone is worthy of glory.
To ascribe glory and honor to God is to recognize the
superior quality of His importance. Giving Him glory is not contributing
something to Him. It is recognizing what already exists and acting in ways
which demonstrate our awareness of His uniqueness. He is in a category occupied
by no other.
So, how do we go about ascribing glory and honor to Him? The
most common answer is in the verbal expressions of worship. To give glory to
God is to offer praise, worship and rightful recognition of God’s place in
creation, in history and in the personal activity of the individual. Christians
do this powerfully through music — all kinds of music. Expressions of worship
through music comes in many languages and more styles than there is room to
mention. If the text of the music accurately describes the God of the Bible,
and it is presented with a pure heart, He is glorified.
Have you noticed that many religions have no music?
There is no song, because they have no god who is worthy of
worship. Their god is a dead idol or hollow list of rules. If all is in vain,
there is no song.
We sing because of the joy we experience from our living
God. We sing because we have seen His mercy and received His grace.
Another way we glorify God is through prayers of repentance.
The act of repentance gives God glory because the humble sinner is
acknowledging that God is right and the sinner is wrong. God is glorified by
our recognition that He is absolutely correct. He is perfectly truthful. When
confronted with His holy nature, we must be like Isaiah. He heard the seraphim
worshiping God, saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth
is full of His glory!” (Isaiah 6:3). His response to God’s glory was
repentance. “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips,
and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the
King, the LORD of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5). That is how to glorify God!
Repentance puts us in our place. Even though we have trusted
Christ as our Savior, believers are not immune to the destructive elevation of
self which pride produces. Pride contaminates worship, robbing God of His
glory, while claiming glory for ourselves.
In the first chapter of the letter to the Romans, Paul
described people who intellectually know who God is, but refuse to acknowledge
His supreme nature. In verse 22 he says of such people, “Professing to be wise,
they became fools.” You can read the consequences of their action. God “gave
them up.” He let them follow their dead end road so their misplaced worship
would become obvious. This kind of intellectual arrogance is all around us in
North Carolina, America and the world. In our state there are 5.6 million
people who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Where can
they go to see the glory of God?
We cannot fight intellectual pride. But, we can proclaim the
gospel which sets people free from the bondage of self-worship. Only through
the gospel is misplaced glory corrected by true worship.
The witness of a faithful Christian glorifies God. Jesus
instructed His disciples, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may
see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). There
you have it! Live in such a way that causes others to glorify God. Those in
your sphere of influence look at the way you live. They recognize that it is
impossible for you to live this way without some kind of outside help. God is
glorified as they see Him working in your life.
The same process can be applied to a church or a ministry.
Does the non-Christian world around your church glorify God as they see the
awesome things He is doing in your church family? Are they seeing things that
cannot be explained by human effort? Does the genuine expression of our faith
whet the spiritual appetite of those around us? Lostness is overwhelming in
Never in history has
there been more unreached, unbelieving people in our state. What an opportunity
to glorify God!
What glorifies God? A complete list is much too long to
cover here, but I want to suggest a few more for your consideration.
- God loves His word, so when His word is held high,
internalized in the believer and obeyed deliberately, God gets glory.
- God is glorified when His people acknowledge Him as Father
and grow in the intimacy that characterizes a healthy father-child
- God is glorified when His Holy Spirit indwells His
children so strongly that His power is displayed in ways that cannot be
attributed to human ability.
- God is glorified when His Son is received and subsequently
proclaimed as the Messiah who died for sinners, was buried and arose from the
- God is glorified when believers acknowledge His ownership
of our lives. “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your
body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20).
- God is glorified when the resources of His children are
wisely invested in the priority of building His Kingdom through the local
I would like to hear your additions to this list. The
Biblical Recorder staff welcomes your feedback ([email protected]).
We want to partner with North Carolina Baptists to glorify God. We want to be
an instrument of encouragement, grace and truth to you and your church.
“Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord; Nor are
there any works like Your works. All nations whom You have made shall come and
worship before You, O Lord, And shall glorify Your name. For You are great, and
do wondrous things; You alone are God.”
— Psalm 86:8-10