When Moses came down from meeting with God his face shone with the glory of God. In 2 Corinthians 3 it tells us that the Holy Spirit brings far greater glory to us than what Moses experienced. When any part of the church doesn’t shine (be it an individual or an entire group of believers), it is because the Spirit has been quenched—our light has been put out by unrepented sin. When we meet with God face to face in His Word, then we begin to shine with His glory. The more time we spend at the feet of Jesus, the more brightly we shine.
God’s church is to be full of His glory and His power. Isaiah 42:8 says, “I am the Lord, that is My Name, and I will not give My glory to another...” All people struggle with wanting to be the center of attention! Many of us think that life is all about ‘me’. When these attitudes are not recognized as sin in the church then we will not see God’s glory. God will not share his glory—He leaves.
Unfortunately, it seems that many churches fall into the same factions as the church of Corinth; ‘that of exalting human leaders and human wisdom’ (Daily Walk Bible). What is that but church leaders wanting to be glorified? What is exalting human wisdom but glorifying man? The church is not about us! The church is to be all about Jesus Christ and what He did for us. God is the Creator we are the created. Jesus Christ, giver of life, sustainer of life is to be glorified in His church.
The church is also to be filled with the power of God. The power of God is imparted by the giving of the Holy Spirit, which is given at the time of true conversion to each believer. This power has very often been quenched by the sins of the church. Seemingly simple sins like a lack of love, disobedience to God’s will, and probably the most prevalent is the sin of unbelief.
Statistics showed that after 9/11 churches were packed. But within a few months the attendance levels dropped back to normal. Was this because the masses of people saw people exalting themselves instead of Jesus? Had God’s glory left because of our sins and all these hurting and fearful people saw little or none of the power and glory of God? Because I am a believer, the image of the church is my responsibility also. When an unbeliever comes to the body of Christ he isn’t looking for entertainment, (there is plenty of that in the world) he is looking for Jesus, sitting on the throne of our hearts complete with His glory and His power.
The word glory is found 194 times in the Old Testament and 161 times in the New Testament. To see the glory of God is to see something of God, for glory means showing or making visible. We are commanded in 1 Corinthians 10:31 to do everything for the glory of God. How is it possible, for a cowgirl to glorify God? Charles Ryrie in his book Transformed by His Glory, describes it this way.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, he gives freedom. And all of us (born again Christians) have had that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more. (2 Corinthians 3:16-17)
We are told to be transformed from glory to glory. The Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit transform us. We are to be transformed into the image of Christ. How does this happen? It occurs stage by stage as we behold the glory of the Lord. Not all at once, but little by little. It is a process, not a single event, and it lasts throughout our Christian life. Not only are Christ and the Holy Spirit involved, but we are too. Paul says we behold the glory of the Lord as in a mirror and are then transformed. In other words we have to study the Lord in the Word—the mirror—and conform our lives to what we learn. In this way we reflect His glory in our lives. There is no common formula that says, for example, that God gives 50 percent of the effort and I give 50 percent. But normally sanctification combines both divine and human activity. (Romans 8:13)
If then, I am responsible to behold the glory of the Lord in order to be transfigured into His image, where do I see that glory? Principally in the written Word of God. True, I may behold the glory of the Lord as I hear what God has done for others, but the only totally, completely reliable place to learn about His glory is in the written Word. And this takes a lifelong and disciplined effort on my part. I cannot behold the glory of the Lord in a closed Bible, I cannot behold the glory of the Lord in a Bible I do not understand, I must read, study, and learn. To guide the entire effort I will need the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit. (John 16:13-15)
Let us be filled with the Holy Spirit and see the church charged with the power of God. May we seek to glorify God in everything we do!
MAY THE WORLD LOOK AT COWBOY CHRISTIANS AND SAY OF US “AND THESE BROTHERS ARE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE CHURCH. THEY ARE SPLENDID EXAMPLES OF THOSE WHO BRING GLORY TO CHRIST."
(2 Corinthians 8:23)
1 & 2 Corinthians
BASIC BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES
Filling God's Church With God's Glory