Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Created to Have Dominion: The Glory of God

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
This may sound like bad news, but it actually reveals something very positive: You and I were created for the glory of God — to know His glory, experience His glory, walk in His glory. That is how man was originally created, clothed in the image and likeness — the glory — of God.

It was all very wonderful, until Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil:
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. (Genesis 3:7)
When Adam and Eve sinned, they disconnected from the life and power of God. The glory departed and they realized that they were suddenly naked. They were ashamed and tried to cover themselves up with fig leaves, but their was no glory at all in that.

The Hebrew word for “glory” literally means weightiness, and is used to refer to the abundance and splendor, the goodness and greatness, of God. Adam, having been created in the image and likeness of God, was meant to wear the glory of God, to shine with the goodness and the greatness of God, to rule and reign with the glory and brining all things into proper order with it. But in order to do this, he needed to stay connected to God.

Think of a light bulb. When it is connected to the power source, the light shines brightly, and what is noticed is not the bulb, but the light. Pull the plug on it, however, and the light is gone. The glory of the bulb has departed.

When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, they rebelled against God and disconnected themselves from Him. The glory of the Lord departed from them because they unplugged themselves from the source and power of their lives. So they were naked and ashamed, and hid themselves from God.

But God immediately had a plan to redeem and restore man to his original destiny. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” the Bible says, and then adds, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

All of us have sinned, and by that sin, we have fallen far short of the glory God intended for us to share with Him. Not only that, the wages of sin is death. And that is actually good news, because it means that God was not willing to let sin continue to rob His glory from us. So sin must die. Unfortunately, that means that all who have been infected with it must die as well, for the wages of sin is death. Fortunately, there is good news that is plainly good news, for the second half of Romans 6:23 announces, “BUT the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Give this the greatest emphasis, for it is where our salvation and restoration lies.

But how does this work and bring our redemption? Jesus, the eternal Son of God, came to earth and became a man, and took upon Himself all of our sin and its penalty. Then He took that sin and nailed it to a cross in His own body. A great exchange took place, “for God made Jesus, who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Now, through faith in Jesus Christ, we can stand before God, not in fig-leaves of our own making, that cheap imposter of glory, but in the righteousness that belongs to Jesus Christ Himself. For He is full of glory, and in Him, we also now wear that glory. In Him we receive the Spirit of God indwelling us, filling us with glory.
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)
All creation, including all the nations of the earth, are waiting for the manifestation of this glory. It is for this very reason that Jesus has given us authority and power:
All authority has been given to Me in heaven and earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:18-20)

You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
This glory is not just for all the peoples of the earth, but also for the earth itself. As Paul says,
For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. (Romans 8:19-22)
The whole world is waiting for the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ to be revealed. You and I get to be a part of that great manifestation and share in the dominion of His glory.