God is continuing to teach me new things in my life that have the potential to make me a much better person. I have written in my blogs about God’s common grace (how every good thing in our lives is a proof of God’s great and generous love for us) and about beauty (how aesthetic and functional beauty in our lives is another sign of God’s incredible love for us). This new discovery seems to be a continuation on the spectrum of discovering new ways that God demonstrates His incredible love to us.
This is actually based around an event that happened to me back in December of 2016. I was sitting in a church service, during the worship time, and remembered that one of our pastors preached a sermon the week before on the passage of scripture where Moses said to God “Lord, please show me Your glory.” (Exodus 33:18) and God has Moses stand in a cleft in a rock and just shows him a tiny portion of His glory, part of His back seemingly (Exodus 33:19-23). I was recalling that story in my mind and yearning for deeper communion with God when I prayed silently “Lord, please show me Your glory.”
As this point it will be helpful for you to know what my understanding of the true meaning of “glory” is in the Bible. I believe that it is most clearly representative of the direct presence of God in a situation. In the Old Testament, I think that when it talks about the glory of God filling the temple (see 2 Chronicles 7:1-3) it is saying that God was manifesting Himself there in a unique and direct way. There is another meaning of glory when it is used in the context of something that we can do for God (i.e. give God the glory); that I think refers to giving honor, respect, and prominence to Him. In this writing, I am focusing on the first meaning that I mentioned.
Now, let’s go back to that particular church service. Suddenly, I had a realization that was amazing. I recalled the teaching in the Bible about humanity that we have the “imago dei,” that is, we are created in the image of God. Genesis 1:27 says “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
In all of creation, this vast universe, human beings are the only things that have been made in the image of God. Other created things, such as oceans or mountains, can illustrate the power or majesty of God or other aspects of Him such as His sense of humor (think of the platypus); but there is something unique to mankind that makes us like our Creator in ways that nothing else comes close to. Theologians have many ideas about what this actually really means and Scripture doesn’t clearly explain it either, so I won’t dip my toe in those deep waters except in this one simplistic way. In the way that God is love, we can be loving, in the way that God is goodness personified, we can be good. In the way that He is wisdom, we can be wise. As He is the Creator, we can be creative. As He is truth, we can be honest and have integrity. These character traits that we can grow in are all pointing to the greater truth of their ultimate fulfillment in God. There are far, far more ways that humans can be in the image of God but I will stop here so I can continue my story.
As I was realizing that people are made in the image of God in that church service, with the story of Moses seeing God’s glory in the back of my mind, I glanced around at the people surrounding me. It dawned on me that since people represent God more strongly than anything else in all of reality, that in some way they must also reflect His glory; so I was in fact surrounded by the glory of God at that moment. It was like the room was full of these glowing people who were praising God in song but unknowingly manifesting His glory just by being people. I looked over at one of the older associate pastors of the church and felt that if I could see him as God does that he would be gleaming with the beautiful splendor of the glory of God because of how much his character reflected God due to a lifetime of service to the Lord and how much that had impacted and changed him. It hit me that even non-believers can’t help but in effect have this glory of God because they are made in His image by virtue of the simple fact of being a human.
What a wonderful and beautiful truth; to realize that the greatest glory, short of a miraculous supernatural experience, we can experience in our daily lives is revealed to us through other people!
It gave me great joy and a greater freedom and motivation to be able to love all people more, seeing as how they are so special above all the rest of creation.
Later, in studying about what glory is, I saw in Scripture something amazing about Jesus. Look at what these Bible verses say:
And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power…— Hebrews 1:3
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
—2 Corinthians 4:4
For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.— 2 Corinthians 4:6
Colossians 1:15 says
“He is the image of the invisible God…” and 1:19 says
“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him…”
Jesus is the greatest representation of God to humanity because He is God, and He is God revealed to us in a better way than unapproachable light. If you want to best know God and see His glory, seek to know Christ above all else! As Christians, there are some marvelous Bible verses about our being image-bearers of God and how we are to grow in that experience and calling.
Ephesians 4:24 says:
And to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Colossians 3:10 says:
And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
Romans 12:2 says:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Ephesians 4:22-24 says:
that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
Are you seeing the pattern there? We have a growing relationship with Jesus Christ in which we are being transformed more and more into a new self through growing in the knowledge of God. And what happens as we change more completely into the new person that God intends for us to be?
2 Corinthians 3:18 says:
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
The glory of God grows in our lives in multiple ways! As God transforms us we can experience more of His glory in our lives. This is one of many ways that the Christian life can be a true adventure. May the Lord bless you with a greater revelation of His glory as you follow Christ!
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