To God Be The Glory

    -- by John Hannah, Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2001, 48 pages.

What is the purpose for which we exist? God desires to restore his nature to us so that we may reflect his glory in our words, our actions, our very being. So teaches this short but potent booklet. 

Five chapters describe the glory of God:

Before these truths are expounded, an introductory chapter points us to Romans 11:36 as a key summary statement: “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” This is an orientation to a God-centered life; this is an invitation to be changed into his likeness that we may better show forth his glory.

“The glory of God” has two primary aspects in biblical usage. First, it describes God’s attributes. “It refers to such essential aspects of his being as excellency, dignity, worthiness, greatness, or beauty. In this sense the term implies being weighty,” which is the literal meaning of the Hebrew word (kavod) used in the Old Testament for “glory.”

Second, “glory” is the exhibition or shining out of God’s attributes. This can imply a visible brightness or display of his excellencies such as the one in Ezekiel 43:2: “I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory.”

We exhibit the glory of God at the personal level by overcoming sin in our lives, by living in faith, and by giving thanks in all circumstances. We demonstrate God’s glory at the public level by doing all things through him and to him, including promoting justice through politics, showing concern for the environment, singing, and engaging in the ordinary activities of daily life.

The author says, 

When I rise in the morning and bow my heart and mind before God, I form my thoughts around one question. I ask God, ‘Will you grant me the privilege of glorifying you today?’ I do not begin by discussing the tasks and duties that may fill a particular day because the purpose for living is not duties. Duties, conversations, and deadlines are vehicles by which I am able to display the character of God. However, this is not the end for which God ordains the gift of each new day. God ultimately desires that he would see himself in me each day…. At the end of the day I ask another question: ‘Have you, O God, seen yourself in what I said, thought, and did today?’

This should be how we measure a “good” day, not by all the transient, tangential pleasures we seek.

The book concludes with a call to a God-centered vision, based on the “throne song” found in Revelation 5. The glory of God alone will continue past the end of time. Since it is so important in the long term, it should also be important in our short term.

The author has taught theology at Dallas Theological Seminary for over two decades, and founded two churches. He quotes from John Piper, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards and other Puritan theologians. You can read the book in an hour; it will be time well spent as you consider the “weight of glory” and our part in it.

    --reviewed by Paul Neeley

Published in Vol.3, No.1 of

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