“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we…might be for the praise of his glory” Ephesians 1:11-12 (see Romans 9:23; Job 36:5; Isaiah 46:10).
As Christians, we have been “called according to his purpose” (Rom.8:28). The plan He has for our lives was conceived even before the creation of the world (Eph.1:4; 1 Cor.2:7). That plan includes many things, but the bottom line of God’s purpose is to reveal His glory in and through our lives.
Revelation of God’s Glory
“A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God…And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken’” Isaiah 40:3,5.
The earth is already full of God’s glory (Isa.6:3) – the creation itself reveals one level of God’s glory (Psa.19:1-3; Rom.1:18-20). But God desires to reveal His glory in a much deeper way.
“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” Habakkuk 2:14.
God’s glorious plan hinges on the Church becoming everything that God intended for her (Eph.3:10-11). God has planned for a Church that will reveal His glory and nature to the world.
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you” Isaiah 60:1-2 (see also 58:8).
The Darkness of the World
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23.
When Adam rebelled against God, sin entered the world. The Greek word for sin means “to miss the mark.” It means to fall short of God’s glory. When he sinned, Adam exchanged the glory of God for his own glory (Romans 1:21-23). But into this darkness, the “light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” has shone (2 Cor.4:4,6). This Gospel promises two kinds of glory:
- A future glory (Romans 8:17-18; 2 Corinthians 4:17)
- A present glory (2 Corinthians 3:10-11,18).
“To [us] God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” Colossians 1:27 (see also 2 Thessalonians 2 :14).
The Radiance of God’s Glory
God has chosen to reveal His glory to the world through:
The Son of God
“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word…” Heb.1:3.
The glory of God was revealed in the person of Jesus (John 1:14,18). He is “the radiance of God’s glory.” We cannot look directly into the glory of God (Ex.33:20). But when we look at Jesus, we see the brightness of God’s glory through Him.
“For God…made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” 2 Cor.4:6.
The Church of God
“…Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her… to present her to himself as a radiant church…” Ephesians 5:25-27.
The Church holds the central place in God’s eternal purpose (Ephesians 3:10-11). The purpose of God is that the Church will reveal the full majesty of God’s glory (John 17:22).
“And he…showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal” Revelation 21:10-11 (read also Hebrews 11:10,16; 12:22-23; 13:14).
The redeemed people of God are described as a city, shining with the glory of God. Whereas Jesus is the actual radiance of God’s glory – “the exact representation of his being” – the Church is likened to a precious jewel, reflecting the glory of God. When you hold a diamond up to the sun, it splinters the light into many colors. This is how we reveal the glory of God.
“His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord” Ephesians 3:10-11.
The word “manifold” literally means “multicolored and magnificently variegated.” Each of our lives reflect the glory of God in a unique and complimentary way.
Walking in God’s Glory
Experiencing God’s glory was the whole ambition of Moses (Exodus 33:18) and of David (Psalm 17:15; 27:4). But under the Old Covenant, the glory of God was limited.
“Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?” 2 Corinthians 3:7-8 (read the whole chapter).
The Cross changed forever the way God’s glory interacts with people. The New Covenant in Christ has opened the way for every believer to walk in God’s glory.
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” 2 Corinthians 3:18.
With Moses, God’s glory was a fading glory that had to be veiled (2 Corinthians 3:13). Now, through the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives (Romans 8:1-11), God’s glory is unveiled and ever-increasing! As we walk closely with the Lord, two things happen – we reflect the glory of God like a mirror and we are transformed into His glorious likeness. This is the purpose of God for our lives. As we walk in His purpose, the glory of God is revealed through us to the world.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” Ephesians 3:20-21.